Yogi Berra, it is claimed, once said “You can observe a lot just by watching.” You can learn a lot too, and some of those things you learn can take you in unusual directions.
The thought behind this post, began to bounce around in my head when I was looking at Hit Tracker Online. It is a website that estimates the ‘true distance’ and plots the path of every home run hit in the majors. The site takes video and wind speed with other weather info and puts it together to estimate how high, how hard, and how far every home run ball is struck.
I must begin by saying that this is all possible due to the wonderful work of Brooks Baseball, and, most importantly, the new Hitter Profiles tool which was released this last week… all the graphics come from this handy website. It allows you to search, by many, many different criteria, the hitters results in the Pitch f/x era (2007 onward). This is data that was formerly left to the nebulous realm of spreadsheet function creators. No more years of study. Now, click a few drop down menus and BAM! you’re looking at graphical representations of any hitter’s performance.
Best. Toy. Ever.
And you can learn a lot of things in a short period of time. Allow me to show you some pictures I’ve snapped from the above website. Which you should also go to, and possibly waste a bunch of time on…. not that I did that already.
Samuel Peralta Sosa led the National League in home runs two times. This isn’t that unusual, home run hitters tend to double up in that regard quite often. Sixteen different players have led their league at least twice since 1970.
Samuel Peralta Sosa hit 63 or more homers 3 times. He is the only player to have managed this unusual feat. Even though his reputation is somewhat tarnished by the outside factors during the offensive explosion in the late 1990s, early 2000s, you can’t deny it’s a unique feat.
Now here’s the two things that I find really weird. First, Sosa never led his league in a year where he hit 63 or more homers. Second, the three years in which he hit 63, 64, and 66 homers are the only 3 years in the history of MLB in which it was possible to hit 60 or more home runs and not lead the league.
Sammy Sosa had the strangest timing of any home run champ, ever.