Stats and Leadership

From the World According to Joe Mammy

Stats and Leadership


I was browsing the message boards the other day and a comment struck me.  As a result, here are two players' career stats: (OBP, SLG, AVG, HR, RBI, K)

Player one                  .400/.528/.298/438/1439/932

Player two                  .344/.491/.268/289/913/1503


Now in fairness, Player one has had about three more years of Major League service, so some of the home runs and RBI might be skewed in his favor, but three seasons isn't likely going to make up 149 homers and 526 RBIs.


Player one has nine All-Star appearances to Player two's one appearance.  Top it off, Player two is currently on the disabled list.  And budgetary restrictions notwithstanding, if I had 100 chances, I'd pick Player two 100 times before I took Player one.


Cardinals fans will have likely figured out Player two is Reggie Sanders, journeyman outfielder.  Player one is Gary Sheffield.  "RealCardinal" made a comment about team leadership and contrasted Albert Pujols with Sheffield, but I think it's important to look at how Tony LaRussa, Walt Jocketty and the players themselves have built this team.  When I think of specific teams I can name one or two players that I consider to be the "team leaders."  The Cardinals, even through all the injuries and wringing of hands over the lack of depth, have the star players as leaders—Rolen, Pujols, Edmonds, Carpenter, but beyond that I still keep coming up with names with specific instances:


--Larry Walker and his easy going sense of humor even through what has to be a personally frustrating season.

--Reggie Sanders will always be the guy who went to calm Julian Tavarez after his infamous NL Championship meltdown against Houston—a guy that looked to build and keep his team together.

--Jason Isringhausen spending $500 out of pocket to buy fans for his teammates in the bullpen.

--The entire bench for playing selflessly and making the most of each opportunity (So Taguchi with seven home runs?  Abraham Nunez playing third capably and holding his own at the plate.  And where the heck did John Rodriguez come from and can we get more?)


Sure a guy like Pujols has a certain aura about him, but the fact he's so concerned with his team and how they perform is just indicative of how this team is special.  There is a cohesiveness that, I'd argue, surpasses even last year's team.  With stories like the Rafael Palmeiro steroid scandal out there, it's nice to see a team full of both great ballplayers and good men.  So often in this game it seems that a player isn't both and I, for one, appreciate the caliber of human beings that this organization has assembled.


Thanks guys.


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