Earlier this week I had a discussion with former Texas Rangers’ second baseman Bump Wills. We talked about the 2020 season and what would happen as far as records go. Would they have an asterisk them? There are a lot of single season records that have zero chance of being broken. Those include most home runs in a season and runs batted in as far as offense. When it comes to pitchers you don’t need to worry about the single season record totals for wins and strikeouts being nearly approached.
But what about batting average and ERA? Yes, we could see another .400 hitter this season. The closest MLB has seen was Tony Gwynn back in the strike-shortened season of 1994 when he was hitting .394 at the time of the work stoppage. His average is italicized as being the league leader but he did not meet the required 502 plate appearances, falling short at 475. The Rockies’ Charlie Blackmon is currently hitting .426. 502 plate appearances is not happening. That will be an asterisk.
In 1968 Bob Gibson set the single season ERA record with a superb 1.12 average. Trevor Bauer of the Cincinnati Reds currently has a 0.68 ERA. While he could shatter Gibson’s record it would have a huge asterisk next to it because there is no way possible that he reaches the minimum 162 innings pitched required for that title. Even the Rangers own Lance Lynn has been having a great season and is in contention for the ERA title.
Bump and I agreed about the asterisks on individual titles. He then took it one step further and said that the World Series winner should also have an asterisk due to the fact that they didn’t grind out an entire season. They didn’t even play half of a season. I kind of lean in his favor as I see his point.
He is a big proponent of the expanded playoffs this season though. That is reasonable considering that he has voiced his frustration over the 1978 season in which Texas finished second in the AL West to the Royals. Had there been three divisions like today and the wild cards then Texas would have been in. But that’s just the way it was back then.
So if the Texas Rangers were to win the World Series this year would you embrace it just as much as if they won it in a full schedule season? How would you react to a possible asterisk?
Until next time, I’ll see you in the cheap seats!…socially distancing six feet away.
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