"Hall of Fame Dominance and the History of Total Bases"

By Ed Tyree

Following the grand celebration, recently held at Cooperstown last July for the Class of '99, one might offer an additional perspective for the voting baseball writers to consider for future inductees. My approach concerns an area in baseball statistics, which is so informative and important, yet very little, is ever mentioned. The subject I ask writers to weigh and deliberate is the impact of total base leaders and our history during the past century of baseball. For general knowledge, total bases consists of 4 counted for a home run, 3 for a triple, 2 for a double, and 1 for a single. The research is as follows for total base leaders:

Total Base Leaders

1900 - Present

1900 - 19091st - Honus Wagner
2nd - Sam Crawford
1910 - 19191st - Ty Cobb
2nd - Tris Speaker
1920 - 19291st - Babe Ruth
2nd - Rogers Hornsby
1930 - 19391st - Jimmie Foxx
2nd - Lou Gehrig
1940 - 19491st - Stan Musial
2nd - Ted Williams
1950 - 19591st - Stan Musial
2nd - Duke Snider
1960 - 19691st - Hank Aaron
2nd - Willie Mays
1970 - 19791st - Pete Rose
2nd - Bobby Bonds
1980 - 19891st - Dale Murphy
2nd - Eddie Murray
1990 - 19991st - Ken Griffey, Jr.
2nd - Rafael Palmeiro

It seems in baseball circles, the desired honors are centered on 3,000 hits, 500 home runs, 300 victories, and so on. These illustrious plateaus are certainly noteworthy, but please also reflect on the importance of total bases (especially for an entire decade).

The total bases leader during the 1980's was, of course, Dale Murphy, a two-time MVP winner and a dominant force during much of his decade. Murphy was second in home runs only to Mike Schmidt and second only to Eddie Murray in RBI's during this time frame. Additionally, Robin Yount finished third in total bases in the 1980's, behind Murphy and Murray. When one combines Murphy's outstanding statistics with his on- and off-the-field contributions and character to our National Pastime, one must consider his enshrinement in Cooperstown, July 2000.

Dale Murphy has kept company with some pretty darn good players, one could say! He is a most worthy candidate for the Hall.

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