Thursday, September 30, 2004

Back to Baseball -- Hyping the Heros

The big news of the moment: Ichiro is within one hit of George Sisler's all-time, single-season record. Ichiro has 256 hits this season; Sisler had 257 in 1920. The difference is that Ichiro is batting .371, whereas Sisler batted .407 when he made his record. And he did it in 154 games, not the 159-plus it will take Ichiro to make the same number.

Remember when Hank Aaron broke Babe Ruth's all-time home run record by hitting his 715th? Well, Ruth hit 714 in 8,399 official at-bats. By the time Aaron got to 714 home runs he already had more than 11,000 official at-bats.

Then there was Pete Rose eclipsing Ty Cobb's all-time record for base hits. Rose surpassed Cobb's record (4,191 hits) but it took him about 2,400 additional at-bats in which to do the trick. That's why Rose's lifetime batting average is only .303 to Cobb's .367.

Wake me up when someone is about to break a real record, like Ty Cobb's lifetime batting average. It'll never happen. I'd better set my alarm clock.