Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Was Brady More Than Just Good Looks?

Anderson put up some surprising numbers, and not just in 1996

By Matthew Taylor

The last American League player to qualify for the batting title and ground into only one double play all season was the Orioles' Brady Anderson in 1997.

Tim Kurkjian's article today on ESPN.com about Curtis Granderson's potential 20-20-20-20 season (doubles, triples, home runs, steals) for the Tigers includes a mention of former O's outfielder Brady Anderson. Apparently we should remember Anderson as more than "the most unlikely fifty home-run hitter in baseball history" and not just another pretty face.

"None of the numbers have been ridiculous,'' Granderson said of the 20-20-20-20 possibility. "I'm not doing anything drastic. I've been near those numbers before. But if there's even a chance to be in the same sentence with the great Willie Mays, that'd be special.''

And there are more numbers. Granderson grounded into a double play for the first time this year only recently, giving him 23 fewer than the major league leader, Washington's
Ryan Zimmerman. The last American League player to qualify for the batting title and ground into only one double play all season was the Orioles' Brady Anderson in 1997.
Here are some additional interesting stats about Brady, courtesy of Baseball Library:

-In 1992 he became the only player in AL history to reach 20 home runs, 50 steals and 75 RBIs in the same season.

-In 1994 he stole 31 bases in 32 attempts, setting a single-season record for the highest percentage of any player with at least 25 steals.

-From May 13th, 1994 through July 3rd, 1995, Anderson set an AL record (since broken by Tim Raines) by stealing 36 straight bases without getting caught.

-In 1996, 35 of his home runs came while batting leadoff, tying a record set by Bobby Bonds in 1973. Anderson broke another of Bonds' 1973 records by leading off twelve games with a home run.

-With 21 steals in 1996, he became the first player to own a 20-homer, 50-steal season as well as a 50-homer, 20-steal season. His 50 home runs set an Orioles record, as did his 92 extra-base hits.

Even with these numbers, O's fans still remember Brady best for his oft-questioned power surge in 1996 and the suggestive poster for which he posed, one that generated sales among female fans and scorn among male Bird watchers.

3 comments:

Jarrett Carter said...

Steroids does a stat line good.

theMagnet said...

Stats like these are great, but aren't they just BS in a way. Anyone can come up with stats if they fiddle around long enough. Players are stat obsessed. The most important statistics are end of the year home runs, batting averages, steals, etc etc.

These percentages are ludicrous. How many steals did so and so achieve per his first 10 steals? 20 steals, 25 steals, 26? 27? 28? It gets silly after a while? And does it really matter when the player ends the season with a .255 batting average for example?

Matthew Taylor said...

Thanks for the comments.

Regarding the steroids comment, I believe Brady suffers from the same problem as Bonds when it comes to his stats. Since we don't know (if and) when he started using, do we just throw out all of his stats? Do Brady's stolen base stats count since they came before his 50 home run season? Are steroids even associated with speed? Wouldn't the risk of injury (pulled hamstring, for example) brought on by steroid use suggest that his stolen base totals are pure?

I'm not an apologist. Rather, I'm intrigued by this discussion. This is the first time I've looked at Brady's stats beyond the obvious breakout season. What are we to make of his career?

As for the charge of BS stats, be careful. Readers have beat us up on this site b/c we have criticized an over-reliance on stats in baseball these days. With that said, I don't think it's getting too into the weeds to mention Brady's success rate for stolen bases or his consecutive stolen base streak. And I think the 50 HR, 20 stolen base stat just exemplifies a player's ability to mix speed and power.

Granted, Granderson's 20-20-20-20 is a bit complicated. I guess it's not enough to just call a guy a five-tool player anymore. You have to qualify every claim to greatness.