It's not exactly groundbreaking to say that, yes, ten years is a really long time. But sometimes it's fun to be reminded just how long ten years really is.
I got home from work this afternoon to find a package waiting for me that my brother had mailed out a few weeks ago. It was a box of baseball books that he wasn't going to be able to use anymore when moving from Hawaii back to the mainland. There were a few random books, a number of older Sporting News, etc. preview magazines, and five or six years' worth of old Stats Inc./Bill James Handbooks from the early part of the decade.
If you know me at all, then you know that this is a great little windfall. In fact, it didn't even take me more than one book to find something interesting
Looking through the 2001 "Bill James Presents Stats Inc. Major League Handbook" (complete with a very fresh-faced Alex Rodriguez on the cover), I found the section titled "Career Assessments" (or "Aaron Watch") at the back of the book. This is the section where Bill James gives the various chances that his method predicts for a certain player to reach key career milestones. For example, how likely was it, after the year 2000 season, for Ken Griffey, Jr., who was sitting on 438 home runs, to reach 500 career home runs? The answer: 96%.
It was in perusing this table (of any active player who had a 1% chance or more at reaching either 500 career home runs or 3,000 career hits) that it occurred to me just how long ten years can really be. Here are some interesting names or percentages on the table at the time.
The "Good Call" Guys
Ken Griffey, Jr.: 96% chance at 500 HRs, 90% chance at 600 HRs
Barry Bonds: 100% chance at 500 HRs, 89% chance at 600 HRs, 21% chance at 700 HRs, 6% chance at 756 HRs
Sammy Sosa: 94% chance at 500 HRs, 89% chance at 600 HRs
Rafael Palmiero: 93% chance at 500 HRs
Derek Jeter: 33% chance at 3,000 hits
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