Since I started this blog, I’ve posted where Andre ranks all-time in several statistics as evidence of why he deserves to be in the Hall of Fame. I’ve had a couple of readers suggest that I post what Andre’s ranks were at the time of his retirement.
I love feedback from readers, especially suggestions for blog ideas. I listened, I did the research, here are The Hawk’s ranks as of his retirement after the 1996 season.
Home Runs: 438
Currently - 36th
1996 - 22nd
Difference - +14
Interestingly enough, of the 14 players who have passed Andre since his retirement, 8 either used steroids or was suspected to have used, including: Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa, Mark McGwire, Alex Rodriguez, Rafael Palmeiro, Manny Ramirez, Gary Sheffield, and Jose Canseco. The remaining 6 players are: Ken Griffey Jr., Jim Thome, Frank Thomas, Fred McGriff, Carlos Delgado and Jeff Bagwell.
Twenty-second place in 1996 was very impressive. Do you realize that after 100 years of Major League Baseball, only 21 players at the time hit more home runs than Andre?
Currently – 34th
1996 – 24th
Difference - +10
The players that passed Andre after his retirement include: Bonds, Palmeiro, Griffey, Ramirez, Rodriguez, Thomas, Cal Ripken Jr., Sheffield, Sosa and Harold Baines.
Ripken (1695 RBIs) played almost every game of every season during his career so the RBI opportunities were greater of course. He played 374 more games than Andre (3,001 to 2,627) netting 104 more RBIs, which is an RBI only every 3.6 games. Therefore, if Ripken hadn’t been an iron-man, he wouldn’t have passed Andre on this list.
Baines (1628 RBIs) collected 37 more RBIs by playing one more season than Andre. If Andre’s knees could have held up for one more season, Baines wouldn’t have passed him.
If you look at the all-time RBI list pre-1997, you realize that most of the players higher than Andre were part of the dominating line-ups of their times, which the Expos and Cubs teams that he played on were never known for. Were talking about Ruth, Gehrig, Foxx, Ott, Williams, Mays, etc.
Currently – 45th
1996 – 38th
Difference - +7
I find it interesting that twice as many players have passed Andre in home runs than in hits. Shows you how many big hitters in the past decade have been one-dimensional. The seven include: Ripken, Gwynn, Biggio, Henderson, Palmeiro, Bonds and Baines.
Currently – 93rd
1996 – 72nd
Difference - +21
Pretty obvious that when home run totals increase so will the runs scored. Several players that have passed Andre had some pretty big bats behind them including: Johnny Damon (Manny, A-Rod), Derek Jeter (A-Rod), Kenny Lofton (Thome, Manny) and Biggio (Bagwell, Berkman).
During his days as a Cub, Andre did his job of knocking in the guys in front of him, but he never had that big bat to knock him in as he did at the beginning of his career (Gary Carter, Al Oliver). Keeping that in mind, I think Andre at 72nd in 1996 or 93rd in 2009 is impressive.
Stolen Bases: 314
Currently – 146th
1996 – 125th
Difference - +21
I think this difference shows you either A) players have become more athletic or B) throwing out base runners is less important from the catcher position than his spot in the batting line-up now, hitting over rules defense.
None of the names that has surpassed Andre’s total will surprise you: Roberto Alomar, Eric Young, Delino DeShields, Juan Pierre, Biggio, Chuck Knoblauch, Omar Vizquel, Barry Larkin, Damon, Carl Crawford, Ichiro, Jimmy Rollins, Tom Goodwin, Luis Polonia, etc. (okay those last two might have surprised you).
You know what is striking from that list? None were consider power hitters. Sure Larkin and Rollins could pop-off 20 home runs or so, but few players since Andre have shown the balance of power and speed that he had.
Total Bases: 4,784
Currently – 25th
1996 – 21st
Difference - +4
I saved the best for last! How is it possible that only four players have passed Andre in this category in the past 13 years? That’s how good he was. If he didn’t homer, he would come through with a double (48th all-time). I think you could conclude from this statistic compared to his run total that Andre was indeed left on base a lot during his Chicago years.
The four who have tallied more total bases since are: Bonds, Palmeiro, Griffey and Ripken Jr.
Either way you look at it, Andre was a Hall of Famer at the time of his retirement in 1996 and he is today in 2009.