Sunday, February 17, 2008

Fewest RBI by a Team Leader, 1988-2007

E-mailer Ken sent me the idea for this post. He noted that Emil Brown of the Kansas City Royals led his team last season with only 62 RBI. He thought that seemed pretty low for a team leader and was interested in a list of the lowest totals to lead a team in the last two decades. It turns out his suspicions were well-founded: Brown had the lowest total of a team leader in that span.

One potential obstacle in this list is the handling of the 1994 and 1995 seasons. In 1994, teams played approximately 115 games each before the players' strike. In 1995, teams played a shortened 144 game schedule. It wouldn't be fair to penalize teams for playing fewer games, so I merely re-calculated RBI totals based on a 162 game schedule. Thus Frank Thomas's 101 RBI in 1994 becomes 101*(162/115) = 142 RBI and his 111 RBI in 1995 becomes 111*(162/144) = 125 RBI. I realize not every team played the exact same number of games and this method isn't exact, but I think it's close enough. Any time a 1994/1995 team appears on the list, I've noted the raw total next to the adjusted total.

With all of that in mind, let's turn to the list over the last twenty seasons:

Fewest RBI by a Team Leader, 1988-2007

RankTeamRBITeam Leader
12007 Kansas City Royals62Emil Brown
21996 Kansas City Royals67Craig Paquette

1988 Philadelphia Phillies67Juan Samuel
41988 Detroit Tigers69Alan Trammell

1988 Seattle Mariners69Alvin Davis
61999 Minnesota Twins70Marty Cordova

1995 Montreal Expos70Mike Lansing
(62 RBI in 144 team games)

1988 San Diego Padres70Tony Gwynn
92003 New York Mets71Ty Wigginton

1999 Florida Marlins71Preston Wilson

1990 Houston Astros71Franklin Stubbs
122003 San Diego Padres72Mark Loretta

1994 Pittsburgh Pirates72Orlando Merced
(51 RBI in 114 team games)

1992 California Angels72Junior Felix

1990 California Angels72Dave Winfield
161992 San Francisco Giants73Will Clark

1990 Philadelphia Phillies73Von Hayes
181997 Pittsburgh Pirates74Kevin Young

1992 Boston Red Sox74Tom Brunansky

1990 Chicago White Sox74Ivan Calderon
212003 Cleveland Indians75Jody Gerut

2002 Tampa Bay Devil Rays75Randy Winn

2001 Detroit Tigers75Tony Clark

1993 Kansas City Royals75George Brett

1992 Kansas City Royals75Gregg Jefferies

1991 Montreal Expos75Ivan Calderon

Some of the names on the list as team leaders surprised me (Ty Wigginton? Mark Loretta? Jody Gerut?). I'm sure their respective front offices and managers weren't counting on them to lead their team in driving in runs, but injuries and other quirks of fate conspired to put them there. It's strange that certain years like 2003, 1990, and 1988 have more teams on the list but maybe run scoring overall was down in those seasons.

Do you think Emil Brown had any sort of incentive in his contract giving him a bonus if he led the team in RBI? If so, do you think he, or the team, ever thought he'd actually get it?

No comments: