and they're off

through the magic of retrosheet i ran a quick survey of the cards' season openers going back to 1970 and couldn't find an individual performance as good as the one aaron miles turned in yesterday -- not by any player, much less by a pixie-stick hitter. it's the only 4-hit opening-day game by a cardinal in that span; also easily the best game by a middle infielder. the closest analogs would be fernando vina, who announced himself to stl fans with a 3 for 5 showing (including a triple) on opening day 2000, and earl osborne smith, whose career numbers at the time he joined the cardinals were so weak they make miles' seem ruthian by comparison:

avg obp slg
ozzie
thru 1981
.231 .295 .278
miles .289 .320 .366

ozzie went 2 for 5 with 2 rbis and a steal in his debut, which also happens to be the last time the cards scored 13 or more in an opener.

back to vina for a second. much to my surprise, he is miles' #6 comp at baseball prospectus. miles is 29 this year; here's how his career line compares with vina's through age 28:

avg obp slg
vina .270 .334 .365
miles .289 .320 .366

in his age 29 season, vina busted out with a .311 / .386 / .427 campaign, with 198 hits and 101 runs scored. i draw no conclusions whatsoever from that information, but there it is; use it as your nature dictates. here's how miles stacks up against tony womack through age 28:

avg obp slg
womack .270 .325 .365
miles .289 .320 .366

in his age 29 season, womack set career highs in obp (.334) and runs scored (111). by the time womack joined the cardinals in 2003, his career line had sunk to .270 / .315 / .359, slightly worse than where miles stands today. he proceed to have the season of his life, with new highs in avg obp and slugging.

i'm just stating facts, just filling space on the blog. i'm not suggesting that these comps portend anything, like that maybe miles has been sprinkled with la russa's magic 2b dust and is about to have a career year. you could just as easily draw comparisons to bo hart, who like miles unexpectedly bashed a double and a triple in his first game as the cards' stopgap 2bman. they're pretty similar hitters -- miles last season essentially had the same year that hart did in 2003:

age ab r h hr bi avg obp slg
hart 03 27 296 46 82 4 28 .277 .317 .395
miles 05 28 324 37 91 2 28 .281 .306 .355

i give miles all the credit in the world for making the most of his opportunity, and he's obviously a person of very strong character. but as a 2bman i think he's another bo hart -- one with less power and less plate discipline. there's more on miles in the post-dispatch this morning.

all four of miles' hits taken together don't mean 1/100th as much as scott rolen's homer. it's his first dinger since may 10 of last year -- the day before his fateful collision with hee sop choi.

the new ballpark opens today; if anybody happens to attend, please post a diary and give your impressions.

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