#Hot Corner

A-Rod Moves Into 8th Place. Or 10th. Or Something.

Last Sunday, Alex Rodriguez collected his 1,904th career RBI, thus passing Willie Mays and taking over eighth on the all-time list.

Or ninth. Or 10th. Depends on how you look at things. Philosophy and stuff.

Here are Nos. 6-10, according to Baseball-Reference.com:

6. Stan Musial (1951)
7. Ty Cobb (1938)
8. Jimmie Foxx (1922)
9. Eddie Murray (1917)
10. Al. Rodriguez (1904)

Also, Cap Anson's third on the list, with 2,075 career RBI. Oh, but wait. Here's Benjamin Hoffman in the Times:

If you look at the career R.B.I. list on Baseball-Reference.com, Rodriguez is now listed 10th. If you go to MLB.com, he is ninth. The Yankees announced that he had moved up to eighth.

The problem, it turns out, is the inclusion on some lists of Cap Anson and Ty Cobb. The Elias Sports Bureau, official keeper of baseball statistics, cleared up things, saying that R.B.I. were not official statistics until 1920, thus eliminating all of Anson’s R.B.I. and most of Cobb’s. In Cobb’s career he recorded 4,189 official hits but 1,211 of his 1,938 R.B.I. are not officially counted.

Official, schmofficial. A lot of really dedicated people spent untold hours researching pre-1920 runs batted in, and I'm willing to give them their due. Did Ty Cobb drive in exactly 1,938 runs? Perhaps not. There are thousands of mistakes in the statistics, and the farther back you go the more mistakes you'll find (if you know where to look, and have plenty of time on your hands). But I am quite comfortable with the conclusion that Alex Rodriguez hasn't yet driven in as many runs as Ty Cobb drove in. Let alone Cap Anson.

If we can count things, we should count, regardless of whether they were official statistics at the time. On-base percentage wasn't an official statistic until the 1980s. Does that mean we leave Babe Ruth and Ted Williams off the OBP list? I don't think so.

I think Alex Rodriguez is 10th, and by the end of the season will be sixth, ahead of Ty Cobb but still behind Cap Anson.

But Elias can do whatever they want. They always do.

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