Tuesday, January 17, 2012

DAHOF Top 100 -- #67 Lance Berkman

I first saw Lance Berkman play in 1998 as a member of the "AA" Jackson Generals. The ownership group headed by Nolan Ryan had recently purchase the Jackson, Mississippi minor league franchise with the announced intention of moving it to Central Texas.

I was part of a group of fans that signed up for a bus trip to San Antonio to watch the Generals play the Missions. It was my first Texas League game and about the only thing I remember was the deep left center field blast off the bat of the former Rice Owl.

The next decade was spent as a mainstay for the Houston Astros, initially as an outfielder and then he replaced Jeff Bagwell at first. During that time, Lance made six all star teams, he led the National League in RBIs (128) in 2002, set the all-time team record in RBIs (136) in 2006 and helped lead the club into three playoffs and the 2005 National League Pennant. During the 2010 season, Lance was dealt to the Yankees in a trade deadline salary dump by the Astros. He signed as a free-agent with the Cardinals and won his first World Series ring last fall.

Reading over Lance's stats while composing the post, it struck me that Berkman & Dick Allen are very close in Similarity Scores. If you are not familiar with this stat, Bill James introduced it in his book The Politics of Glory*. The concept is to create a method to compare one player to another, starting at 1000 points and subtracting points based on the statistical differences.

Lance Berkman & Dick Allen have a career similarity score of 919.

* Yes, this is the same book Bill James said Dick Allen "did more to keep his teams from winning than anyone else who ever played major league baseball". In my opinion, that statement was proven to be false here.


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