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Game 25 Open Thread: April 30, 2006

now that pujols has the april home run record, i did a little survey of "great months" to see if i could find an analog out there. it's not easy data to find; i couldn't locate a search engine that lets you query, say, "july homers" and pull up a leaderboard. worse yet, you can't get month-by-month splits at all for seasons before about 1957. so i couldn't compare pujols' month to babe ruth's best months, or jimmy foxx's, or stan the man's; i couldn't look at hack wilson's best month from 1930, or hank greenberg's from 1938.

so i simply fished out some candidates from within the available reservoir of data (bless you, retrosheet). those of you who are so inclined can do so more fishing and post whatever you catch in the comments.

let's start with the two months albert has just eclipsed: ken griffey from april 1997, and luis gonzalez from april 2001:

ab r h 2b 3b hr bi w avg obp slg
pujols 06 81 27 28 4 0 14 32 28 .346 .509 .914
griffey 97 103 25 35 5 1 13 30 12 .340 .420 .786
gonzo 01 92 26 29 4 1 13 27 12 .315 .422 .804

no comparison here. albert hit more homers in significantly fewer at-bats; out-hit them, outslugged 'em, out-obp'd 'em. the slugging percentage tells all: he outpaced these two players with record-setting months by 120-150 points. blasted them out of the water.

the all-time record for homers in a single month, if i recall, is 20, set by sammy sosa in 1998. let's take a look at that one:

ab r h 2b 3b hr bi w avg obp slg
pujols 4/06 81 27 28 4 0 14 32 28 .346 .509 .914
sosa 6/98 114 25 34 2 0 20 40 6 .298 .331 .842

albert outslugged even this record-holder by 85 points -- while outpacing him in on-base pct by 164. so he had a vastly superior month, and he did it without cork, winstrol, or the friendly confines of wrigley. (16 of sosa's 20 homers that month were at home.) as long as we're looking at 1998 home-run kings:

ab r h 2b 3b hr bi w avg obp slg
pujols 4/06 81 27 28 4 0 14 32 28 .346 .509 .914
mcgwire 5/98 86 25 28 2 0 16 32 33 .326 .513 .907
mcgwire 9/98 82 24 27 2 0 15 28 19 .329 .461 .902

this shows you the type of territory we're getting into. albert's line for april, on balance, is better than mcgwire's best two months from 1998. he's generating just as much raw power -- isolated power of .570-.580 for mcgwire, vs .575 for albert -- while hitting for a higher average, making fewer outs, and driving in more runs per plate appearance. for whatever it's worth, albert has only struck out 7 times this month; mcgwire whiffed 27 times in may 1998, and 19 times in june.

based on that comparison alone, it's a good bet that albert's april is the best single offensive month in franchise history. only musial may have a better one, and i can't find the splits anywhere to make the comparison.

ab r h 2b 3b hr bi w avg obp slg
pujols 4/06 81 27 28 4 0 14 32 28 .346 .509 .914
bonds 5/01 84 28 31 5 0 17 30 31 .369 .547 1.036
bonds 8/01 80 21 28 5 1 12 26 31 .350 .536 .887
bonds 9/01 63 18 23 4 0 12 20 28 .365 .565 1.000

barry bonds' 2001 season was arguably the greatest single offensive year in baseball history -- all-time records for homers and slugging, 3d-highest walk total, 4th-best all-time for ops. and albert's april line is just a shade below the level of bonds' best 3 months from that year for the ages. again, albert's doing it without any artificial sweeteners. i'll update these numbers tonight, after pujols' last april game, so we can get the final comparisons.

bow down before him, people.

Update [2006-5-1 7:45:44 by lboros]: some additional comparisons:

ab r h 2b 3b hr bi w avg obp slg
pujols 4/06 81 27 28 4 0 14 32 28 .346 .509 .914
mantle 7/61 96 26 36 2 1 14 28 27 .375 .508 .854
fr thomas 5/94 84 39 38 9 0 12 28 31 .452 .593 .988
bagwell 7/94 88 27 36 8 0 11 29 20 .409 .509 .875
la walker 4/97 90 29 41 6 1 11 29 14 .456 .538 .911
ted will?ms 7/57 84 21 37 9 1 9 21 28 .440 .579 .893
r hornsby 9/22 130 37 57 8 4 10 29 6 .438 .463 .792

note one thing about this table: although albert has the lowest batting average here by a longshot (more than 100 points in some cases), he still outslugged every player except frank thomas --- and his isolated power dwarfs even thomas's (.568 to .436). in terms of pure power, pujols' april ranks among the very best months of all time.

more reasons to hate the strike: jeff bagwell in 1994 had an outside shot at both the all-time hr and rbi records; he was on pace for 57 hr (the record at that time was still 61) and 171 rbi (record is 190). frank thomas also had a shot at maris? record; he was on pace that year for 56 hr, 140 rbi, 150 runs, and 150 walks. both of those seasons rank in the top 20 all-time for ops.

so too does williams? 1957; he finished the year at .388 with a .527 on-base pct (8th-best in history) and .731 slugging pct (19th-best). he was 38 years old, by the way. the larry walker comp is from his mvp season of 1997; the mantle sample is from 1961, the year he and maris raced each other in an attempt to beat babe ruth?s single-season hr record. rogers hornsby in 1922 batted .401 with career bests in hr (42) and rbi (152).

thanks to Valatan for the links to the williams and hornsby information.


suppan day
1-2, 5.85 1-2, 10.80