Ray, Victorville, CA
Subj: The best of both worlds
Hey Ryan, my friend and I are having a debate. Do you think Bo Jackson could have made it into the Hall of Fame if he had concentrated solely on baseball and had stayed reasonably healthy?
That’s an intriguing question. Let’s examine Jackson’s production. Bo played for four full seasons before his hip injury, during which time he averaged 27 home runs, 76 RBIs, 20 stolen bases and 111 hits per year. If he continued at the same pace and played until he was 38 (an age at which many sluggers call it quits) he would have finished with career totals of 405 home runs, 1140 RBI, 300 stolen bases and 1665 hits. Putting those totals into proper perspective reveals that Bo would have been 43rd on the all-time homerun leader board, 162nd on the RBI leader board, 149th on the stolen base leader board and 423rd on the hits leader board. Bear in mind that Bo was also a big whiffer who averaged 151 strikeouts a year, so he also would have finished his career with 2,265 Ks. That stat is particularly relevant because it would represent the third highest total in major league history. In fact, the only players who struck out more are Reggie Jackson, who played for 21 seasons and Sammy Sosa, who likely won’t make it into Cooperstown because of his suspected steroid use. Given the fact that superior sluggers – and league MVP’s - like Dale Murphy aren’t enshrined makes it hard to imagine how voters would allow Jackson to slip in. Let’s face it: Bo may have “known” cycling, soccer, cricket, surfing, weightlifting and auto racing, but I highly doubt he would have known what it feels like to be in the Baseball Hall of Fame.