A-Rod Deserves 700 HRs
Think what you want to about the Yankees pushing Alex Rodriguez out of baseball last week. I’m not saying that a man battling to stay above the Mendoza line deserves to be allowed to chase the legendary 700 home run mark, and I’m not saying that he would be in a position to have a 700 home run total without PEDs. What I am saying, though, is that the man already has hit 700 major league home runs in his career — 709, in fact.
Alex Rodriguez has played in 76 postseason games in his career, and he hit 13 postseason home runs. Combine that with his 696 regular season home runs, you get 709. My point in writing this is not to defend A-Rod, but rather to condemn a stupid rule about statistics keeping. The argument for omitting postseason statistics is that it gives some players more games to accumulate statistics than other players whose teams do not make the playoffs. There is no doubt that if a player breaks the all time single-season hits record after playing 180 total games in the season, that would be unfair to Ichiro, who did it in within the confines of a 162-game regular season. So it’s fair that postseason stats should definitely not be included towards regular, single-season totals. What I will always fail to understand, though: why are postseason statistics omitted from career statistics?
There is no good reason for this. None. This is why:
There is no limit on games played in a career
While there is a finite amount of games each season, there is no limit on the amount of games a player can play during his career. Because of this, there is no breach in the integrity of the accumulation of statistics. Was it controversial to consider Roger Maris’ 61 home run season the single-season record over the 60 home run season that Babe Ruth accomplished in a shorter regular season? Absolutely. Single-season records hinge on accomplishment over a specific, finite amount of games. BUT do we consider Pete Rose’s all-time career hits record invalid because he played 500 more games than Ty Cobb? Not at all.
The point I’m making is that the 76 postseason games that A-Rod played over his career didn’t give him a statistical advantage over anyone in the record books. He still endured the wear-and-tear of those 76 games. If there was a 2000 game limit on a baseball career, and A-Rod got to play 2076, then his postseason stats should be omitted, but thats just not how it works.
Postseason baseball is a grind
Postseason baseball is not an exhibition where pitchers might be experimenting with pitches they don’t normally throw. In the postseason, a pitcher will do everything it takes to get the hitter out. He will be even more focused and prepared to pitch to the batter than in the regular season. Given this, it is actually probably harder to perform in the postseason. These aren’t meaningless games. Big league players have to perform against the very best of other big league players. Bottom line: A-Rod hit 709 home runs against major league pitchers who were doing their very best to get him out.
It will not taint the record books
Postseason statistics are just as well kept as regular season statistics. We can easily go back and update each players career statistics accordingly. It’s a simple adjustment that should be made.
With everything I’ve put forward, I find it inconceivable that not only do we not include postseason statistics in the career statistics category but also that we never talk about them. Its rare in baseball to reference postseason statistics at all, let alone open the discussion for including them in career statistics. I don’t see this atrocity of record keeping ever being corrected, but I do know one thing: Alex Rodriguez hit over 700 major league home runs, and he deserves to hold that title.