On Tuesday evening, Matt Olson tied the Braves’ franchise document for house runs in a season, with 51. Trivia time: Whose document did he tie?
Easy one, proper? Hank Aaron.
Only that’s the flawed reply: Hank Aaron, the longtime house run king, by no means hit 50 house runs in a season.
The proper reply, as stunning because it appears, isn’t Aaron or one among his fellow Hall of Famers reminiscent of Eddie Mathews and Chipper Jones. Olson, in actual fact, tied the document set by Andruw Jones, the slick-fielding heart fielder, who hit 51 in 2005.
That Aaron might get to 755 house runs, breaking Babe Ruth’s mark of 714 and holding that document till Barry Bonds got here alongside, with out ever hitting greater than 47 in a single season is unquestionably one of the crucial unbelievable statistics within the recreation. Instead, Aaron received to his whopping profession whole with longevity, sturdiness and consistency.
Longevity: Aaron performed within the majors from age 20 to 42. Durability: He had 500 plate appearances in all however three late-career seasons. Consistency: He had eight seasons with 40 or extra house runs, tied for the second most behind Ruth, and 15 seasons with 30 or extra, tied with Alex Rodriguez for essentially the most ever.
Aaron performed in an period when 50-homer seasons had been uncommon. From 1954 to 1976, the years of his profession, there have been solely 5 such seasons: two by Willie Mays, two by Mickey Mantle and one by Roger Maris. In distinction, there have been 12 within the Nineteen Nineties, 12 within the 2000s and 7 since 2010.
As for Olson, his second season in Atlanta has been a profession yr. In six seasons out and in of the Oakland A’s lineup, he confirmed house run energy however couldn’t at all times preserve his batting common up.
When the Braves signed him final yr to interchange the favored Freddie Freeman at first base, many followers had been involved. After a forgettable first season (.240, 34 house runs), Olson has quieted the doubters this yr.
He has profession highs in common (.281) and on-base proportion (.388), and he leads the league in slugging (.619), runs batted in (128) and residential runs.
(Not that Freeman has been unhealthy for the Los Angeles Dodgers: He leads the league in on-base proportion at .416.)
How many extra house runs can Olson hit this yr? Going into Wednesday evening, the Braves have 17 video games to play. Olson is averaging 0.35 homers a recreation, placing him on a tempo to hit six extra and attain 57. At the very least, he ought to get the one homer he must surpass Andruw Jones and maintain the Braves’ single-season document by himself.
Even if he loses the document to Olson, Andruw Jones, thought-about among the many high defensive outfielders in baseball historical past, is not going to quickly be forgotten by Atlanta’s followers. This yr, he was named on 58 % of the ballots for the Baseball Hall of Fame, in need of the 75 % required however shut sufficient to suppose he shall be enshrined sooner fairly than later. In 12 years with the Braves, he hit 368 house runs, fifth on the staff record behind Aaron, Mathews, Chipper Jones and Dale Murphy.
While Bonds divided his 762 house runs between the Pirates and Giants, Aaron performed solely two seasons for a staff aside from the Braves. So although he didn’t hit 50 in a season, and sits behind Olson and Andruw Jones on the single-season record, Aaron’s profession mark of 733 house runs for a single staff seems to be near unassailable.
Source web site: www.nytimes.com