Playing With Numbers

After I had some fun trying to predict what Ichiro Suzuki’s hit total might look like if he had played his entire career in the United States, a couple of different Brilliant Readers -- independently, I assume -- wondered if I might try similar estimations for guys who lost years in the war, namely: Bob Feller, Joe DiMaggio and Ted Williams. Obviously this has been done before by people much smarter and more astute about numbers than me, but, hey, my Internet service is back up we repaired a cut cable line (don’t ask) so, why not?Before I get into it, I should point out that Brilliant Reader Steve wrote in with a fair point about Ichiro. He said that Ichiro’s age 20 season would have been 1994, the strike season. This led Steve to believe Ichiro never would have made it up at all that year because the season was cut short. That also made his age 21 season in 1995 when the season was again shortened. He thinks -- and it’s fair -- that my estimate of 4,056 hits might overshoot a reasonable estimate by 100 or so hits. Not that 3,956 hits is bad, but he thinks Ichiro might be just shy of 4,000.Like I say, I think he makes a good point … but I still think, even with those circumstances, he’s over 4,000 hits and here’s why. I feel like he was such a dominant player at age 20, that I think he probably would have made an appearance as a 19-year-old, and would have made the Opening Day roster in 1994. The 1994 Mariners (and I’m assuming he would have played for the Mariners) were a dreadful team, and I think Ichiro would have been so obviously brilliant that the would have HAD to find a spot for him. Heck, A-Rod at age 18 got some at-bats for the Mariners that year. I think he’d have over 4,000.I think (hope?) that’s a difference of reasonable opinion -- and such differences go with the territory in these kinds of what-if games.

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