3,000 and 500: Ho and Hum (Relatively Speaking)
by Keith Glab, BaseballEvolution.com
June 28, 2007
You may have heard somewhere that two players reached lofty benchmarks tonight. The Big Hurt hit his 500th homer and the Bigg Hit By Pitch smacked his 3,000th (and eventually # 3,002 in a 5-hit performance) base knock. This puts Frank Thomas 21st all time in home runs and Craig Biggio 26th in hits.
Those are impressive rankings, to be sure. But as far as milestones go, those really aren't the most standout milestones for these two incredible players.
Taking Biggio first, it should be fairly obvious that his main claim to fame lies in his doubles. Eight more two-baggers, and he will pass George Brett to move into the top five all time in that category.
Moreover, he has an outside chance of joining both the 300/3,000 club and the 300/400 club with fourteen more career home runs. He would become the only player to reside in both exclusive clubs. Asher would gladly talk your ear off about whether the Astros should allow Biggio to make a serious run at those feats, so I won't bother with that here.
Big Frank Thomas, as one who walks a lot, isn't predisposed to many great counting stats, so his attainment of the 500-homer plateau is somewhat more impressive. In fact, Frank hit his milestone in nearly 3,000 fewer at bats than Biggio hit his in.
But those walks themselves are quite an accomplishment. Thomas currently stands at 1,596 walks, good for 12th on the all-time list. He appears a cinch to pass Mickey Mantle at 1,733 and usurp the Mick for 7th all time on that list.
Frank is also 26th in career RBI. It isn't particularly easy to be so high in both of those categories, for obvious reasons.
Additionally, while it's not a counting stat, Frank Thomas' career OPS stands 11th all-time at .985. If he could somehowe find a way to hit 1.000 in that category, it would look extra pretty on his Hall of Fame plaque.
And yes, Thomas is 14th on the career OBP list (minimum 4,000 AB - get off that list, Ferris Fain). Few will ever look on a .423 OBP and consider it a more impressive accomplishment than 500 homers is, but perhaps they should.
I suppose that's my real point. It's easy to look at 3,000 and 500 and conclude that these two are great players (unless you're a lackluster tool named Gregg Doyel, that is). But look a little deeper, and you'll realize that they are even better than you had thought.
Disagree with something? Got something to add? Wanna bring up something totally new? Keith resides in Chicago, Illinois and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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