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Brock as Bad as Advertised
by Keith Glab,
April 21, 2006

In a feeble attempt to defend Lou Brock, Richard decides to compare him to a couple of contemporary players: Johnny Damon and Juan Pierre

In a feeble attempt to defend Lou Brock, Richard decides to compare him to a couple of contemporary players: Johnny Damon and Juan Pierre.  Richard finds that Lou Brock’s career OBP was only 10 points worse than Damon’s and 12 worse than Pierre’s.


Now lookee here.  When you’re comparing a first ballot Hall of Fame leadoff guy to two leadoff men with virtually no chance of making the Hall at all, and you find that the first balloter actually trails the other two in the most important statistic for a leadoff hitter, that should be your first clue that the first balloter is overrated.


 Next clue: counting stats.  Richard points out that Brock has a slight edge in a few counting stats.  Thing is, Brock is 17th all time in at bats.  This means that if Brock is a legit Hall of Famer, that he should only have about 16 or so players rank higher than him in important counting stats, and even fewer in the counting stats important to a leadoff hitter.  But where does Brock rank in those categories?  2nd in steals – that’s good.  40th in runs scored and 47th in times on base – that’s not.


You like counting stats?  Okay, here’s a couple.  Brock, a member of the 500 outs club, has made 7,823 total outs in his career.  Raines has made 6,670.  Brock creams him in caught stealings: 307 to 146.  Strikeouts?  Not even close.  1,730 to 956.  Errors – 196 to 54.  What do you know?  The list really does go “on and on.”  If you want to give Brock credit for barely edging out Raines in positive counting stats, you also have to penalize him for walloping Raines in negative counting stats.


But shouldn’t we give Brock credit for being durable? Of course we should.  But not before pointing out that Raines missed parts of three different seasons due to labor strikes.  When you factor in those missed games, Tim would have almost certainly played in more career games than Lou, and would not have trailed him in PA by much.


Face it: Brock was a two-tool player who managed to last a long time in the league only because he played in an era conducive to his skills.  If I sound like a bitter Cubs fan, it’s only because the Cubs held on to Corey Patterson too long because they were afraid to make the same mistake that they did with Lou Brock.  Well, trading Brock was a mistake.  But so was electing him into Cooperstown.          

Disagree with something? Got something to add? Wanna bring up something totally new? Keith Glab resides in Chicago, Illinois, and can be reached at

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