Carlos Beltran Breaks Onto Another Elite List



Never let it be said that Carlos Beltran doesn't do things with style. While other people might celebrate a birthday with a favorite meal or a special beverage, Beltran gifted himself with a place on Major League Baseball's all-time Top 100 leader board for runs scored on the evening of his 37th birthday. Scoring on Alfonso Soriano's double, Carlos' first inning run last night was the 1357th of his illustrious career and tied him with Doc Cramer and King Kelly for 100th place. Beltran already was in the Top 100 for homers (78th place with 363) and runs batted in (89th with 1340).

How many players do you think are in the Top 100 for all three of runs scored, RBIs, and homers ? In theory, it could be just Carlos or it could be that the same 100 guys are in all three lists. Scroll to the bottom if you can't stand the suspense. How many players are on at least one of the lists ? The answer is 177. 89 players are on just one of the lists. Many are Hall of Famers who are just outside the Top 100 of one or both of the other lists. Some are one trick ponies nowhere near the Top 100 except in their specialty. Many played in an era where homers were not prevalent. 51 players are on two of the lists, but not the third.

In the Top 100 for runs scored, but not on either of the other two lists (47 players):

Players who played in the 1800s (20): Jesse Burkett, Wee Willie Keeler, Billy Hamilton, Bid McPhee, Jimmy Ryan, George Van Haltren, Fred Clarke, Bill Dahlen, Hugh Duffy, Dan Brouthers, Tom Brown, Harry Stovey, Arlie Latham, Herman Long, Jim O'Rourke, Dummy Hoy, Joe Kelley, Monte Ward, Mike Griffin, and King Kelly. As you might expect, not a single player in this group is within 185 homers of the Top 100. Duffy is a dozen RBIs outside the Top 100 and Brouthers is within 20. William (Dummy) Hoy became deaf at the age of three. Baseball legend (though widely disputed) is that Hoy worked out a system where his third base coach would raise his right arm if the home plate umpire called "strike" and his left arm on "ball" so Hoy would be aware of the call. This evolved into home plate umpires doing the same thing.

Players who played in whole or primarily before World War II (7): Eddie Collins, Harry Hooper, Max Carey, Sam Rice, Frankie Frisch, Paul Waner, and Doc Cramer. Cramer is the only one in this group not in the Hall of Fame. Collins and Waner fall short of the Top 100 in ribbies by less than 15 each. Cardinal legend Frisch is 70 shy. Waner is the closest to the Top 100 in dingers, but he's more than 200 short.

Players who played primarily from 1955 - 1980 (5): Roberto Clemente, Vada Pinson, Lou Brock, Joe Morgan, Rod Carew. A lot of speed here with Pinson being the only non-HOFer. Brock is the only one with fewer than 1000 RBI and with 1305, Clemente is but nine short of the Top 100. Carew is the only player in this group to not achieve 100 homers - Morgan has the most, but is still nearly 70 short of the 335 necessary for membership in the Top 100.

Players largely from the 80s and 90s (7): Lou Whitaker, Paul Molitor, Rickey Henderson, Tim Raines, Brett Butler, Wade Boggs, and Tony Gwynn. A lot of top of the order hitters are on these runs scored only groupings for obvious reasons. Someday, I suspect, the HOF will see fit to add Whitaker who somehow was one and done on his only BBWAA ballot with 2.9% of the vote. Raines was seeing his HOF support grow during his six years on the BBWAA ballot, but in his seventh try he backslid to 46.1% of the 75% needed. Henderson, the all-time leader in runs with 2295 was within 40 long balls of the Top 100. Molitor is seven short in ribbies. And how did Butler make this list ? Getting on base a lot (.377 career OBP), stealing a lot of bases (558 - good for 25th all time) and having a lengthy 17 season career.

Players from the 90s through now (8): Roberto Alomar, Craig Biggio, Steve Finley, Omar Vizquel, Kenny Lofton, Bernie Williams, Johnny Damon, and Derek Jeter. Finley is one of only a handful of players with both 300 homers and 300 steals. Of course, Beltran is in that 300-300 club as well.

Who is poised to join the Top 100 in runs scored ? Ichiro needs about 90 and is the closest player. Jimmy Rollins is also within 100. Jason Giambi and David Ortiz each need 130 or so. Adrian Beltre needs around 170. Who is on the bubble ? Well, Beltran is tied with King Kelly and Doc Cramer in 100th place, so those two will drop out after Beltran's next marker. Butler is 99th with 1359 and Bernie Williams has 1366 as does Pinson.

In the Top 100 for home runs, but not on either of the other two lists (30 players):

Players who starred during the 1940s through the 1970s (9): Gil Hodges, Ralph Kiner, Joe Adcock, Rocky Colavito, Norm Cash, Frank Howard, Boog Powell, Dick Allen, and Lee May. As you might have guessed, mostly lumbering corner outfielders and first basemen. A seven time home run champ during a ten year career, Kiner is the only HOFer in this group. None came close to either the RBI or the runs scored leader board.

Players largely from the 70s and 80s (5): George Foster, Don Baylor, Dave Kingman, Jack Clark, and Dale Murphy. Only Murphy had much in the way of defensive skills. Foster, Baylor, and Murphy were all within 100 RBI of that leader board.

Players from the 80s through the 2000's (10): Darryl Strawberry, Ellis Burks, Matt Williams, Albert Belle, Greg Vaughn, Larry Walker, Tino Martinez, Jim Edmonds, Andruw Jones, and Lance Berkman. Walker is only two runs and three ribbies away from those two leaderboards.

Current players (6): Adrian Beltre, Aramis Ramirez, Alfonso Soriano, Adam Dunn, Miguel Cabrera, and Mark Teixeira.

Who is about to join and who is about to fall out ? Torii Hunter is closest. He's 18 away - about a season's worth for him. Ryan Howard might seem to be a better bet. He's one behind Hunter. But Howard only connected for 25 combined during injury-marred campaigns in 2012 and 2013. Raul Ibanez has 303 and needs 32 more to join the club. In his age 41 season last year, he clubbed 29 for the Mariners. He has three so far in 2014 with the Angels. The Mets' recent addition, Bobby Abreu, has 287. Strawberry will be the first to drop off when someone gets to 336. Adcock and Baylor are the two in 99th and 98th place, respectively.

In the Top 100 for Runs Batted In, but not on either of the other two lists (12 players):

It takes a special skill set to drive home at least 1314 runs without breaking into the Top 100 in either runs or homers. Line drive hitters without a lot of speed and not too much power. Lave Cross, Harry Heilmann, Sunny Jim Bottomley, Joe Cronin, Ducky Medwick, Brooks Robinson, Rusty Staub, Al Oliver, Simba Simmons, Ruben Sierra, Pudge Rodriguez, and Garrett Anderson. Heilmann, Bottomley, Cronin, Medwick, and Robinson are in the Hall. Somehow, Simmons isn't despite being ranked ninth in career fWAR among catchers.

The powerful run producers - In the Top 100 for both HRs and RBIs, but not runs scored (33 players):

1940s - 1970s (4): Johnny Mize, Yogi Berra, Duke Snider, and Ernie Banks. Cooperstown-enshrined all. Banks is 52 runs short of inclusion in the Top 100.

1950s - 1970s (5): Harmon Killebrew, Orlando Cepeda, Willie McCovey, Ron Santo, and Willie Stargell. Each of these men is also in the HOF.

1960s - 1980s (7): Tony Perez, Johnny Bench, Graig Nettles, Darrell Evans, Carlton Fisk, Dave Parker, and Jim Rice. These players finished their careers before the offensive explosion that kicked in in 1993 (technically, Fisk played 25 games during his age 45 season in 1993). The chronically underrated Evans is outside the Top 100 in runs by only 13.

1980s - 1990s (8): Harold Baines, Chili Davis, Gary Gaetti, Joe Carter, Jose Canseco, Andres Galarraga, Fred McGriff, and Mark McGwire. These players each played about half their careers from 1993 (when runs per game jumped from 4.12 to 4.60 and increased from there until peaking at 5.14 in 2000). For a variety of reasons, none of these players have been inducted into Cooperstown.

1990s - now (9): Juan Gonzalez, Jeff Kent, Mike Piazza, Carlos Delgado, Jason Giambi, Vladimir Guerrero, Paul Konerko, David Ortiz, and Carlos Lee. These men all played all or the bulk of their careers during the recent high-offense era. None achieved 60 bWAR and the only two that a case could be made for labeling them elite would probably be Piazza and Guerrero.

The run creators - In the Top 100 for both runs and RBIs, but not home runs (18 players):

Played at least a part of their career in the 1800s (8): Cap Anson, Roger Connor, Jake Beckley, Ed Delahanty, George Davis, Nap Lajoie, Honus Wagner, and Sam Crawford. Every one of them a Hall of Famer.

1900 - World War II (6): Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, Rogers Hornsby, Goose Goslin, Charlie Gehringer, and Al Simmons. Hornsby and Simmons are each about 30 homers outside the Top 100. All six are in the HOF.

1960s - present: (4): Pete Rose, George Brett, Robin Yount, and Bobby Abreu. I think Abreu has had one of the quietest 60+ bWAR careers in baseball history. Not playing in the World Series is only part of it. I can't imagine him getting into the Hall of Fame without paying admission. Two of the other three players on this list have plaques in Cooperstown.

And the list you have been waiting for. The 37 players in the Top 100 in each of homers, runs, and RBIs:

This list can be broken down into five categories:

  • Hall of Famers (22 players)
  • Players who are still active or haven't been retired long enough to have been voted on by the BBWAA (9)
  • Players with steroid taint (3)
  • Players with steroid whispers (2)
  • Dwight Evans

Players who played entirely or primarily before WWII (4): Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig, Jimmy Foxx, and Mel Ott. Double X is the low guy on the list with 96.4 bWAR.
Players whose peak was near or during WWII (3): Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Stan Musial. Boy, DiMaggio accomplished a lot in just 13 seasons.
Players from the 50s through the 70s (8): Mickey Mantle, Willie Mays, Eddie Mathews, Al Kaline, Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, Billy Williams, and Carl Yastrzemski.
Players whose peak years were from the 70s - the 90s (7): Reggie Jackson, Dwight Evans, Mike Schmidt, Dave Winfield, Andre Dawson, Eddie Murray, and Cal Ripken, Jr. Evans is the only non-HOFer and his 66.9 bWAR mark makes him a borderline case. His Baseball Reference page has a smattering of black, but the only semi-glamorous league leading stat he had was a four-way shared HR title in the strike interrupted 1981 season. However, Dewey did out bWAR both Dawson and Winfield and earned 8 Gold Gloves (though neither B Ref nor Fangraphs is fond of his defense).

Players who starred from 1986 until now (15): Barry Bonds, Rafael Palmeiro, Gary Sheffield, Ken Griffey, Sammy Sosa, Luis Gonzalez, Frank Thomas, Jeff Bagwell, Jim Thome, Chipper Jones, Manny Ramirez, Alex Rodriguez, Todd Helton, Carlos Beltran, and Albert Pujols. The length of this list speaks to the environment that existed for run scoring from 1993 - 2009. The Big Hurt is the only Cooperstown honoree thus far.

Congratulations again to Carlos for becoming the 37th player to join this elite list of players on his 37th birthday. Time will tell to what extent he can buttress his Hall of Fame credentials. At 68.3 bWAR and 64.4 at Fangraphs, his peformance over the rest of his fresh three-year contract is critical. Playing with the Yankees will likely give him the opportunity to add to his glittering postseason resume which is marred by a single at bat. But also includes this: