I often find myself getting into arguments with other people that say Cal Ripken is easily the best SS ever and one of the best players of his generation. I believe he is a really good player, but the reason people consider him "great" is because he holds probably the luckiest record in sports. I give him credit for playing through injuries over the years, but he was always one fastball to the wrist away from it being broken. There is also the argument that he hurt his team while playing through injuries only to preserve his record. I have come to the conclusion that he is a slightly more effective player than Alan Trammell. Both played during the same time period and at the same position so it is a pretty relative comparison to make. Both have one World Series ring a piece, and Trammell was even WS MVP so that argument is irrelevant here (I never fully understood this argument, do Ted Williams, Dan Mariano, Karl Marlone, etc. suck because they don't have rings in team sports?) Below are their respective stats which seem to be comparable other than Ripken's power numbers. I only used their fielding stats at SS to be fair.
Career Hitting Stats Player G AB PA H HR R RBI BB SO SB CS SB% AVG OBP SLG OPS BB/K Ripken 3001 11551 12883 3184 431 1647 1695 1129 1305 36 39 0.48 0.276 0.340 0.447 0.788 0.87 Trammell 2293 8288 9375 2365 185 1231 1003 850 874 236 109 0.68 0.285 0.352 0.415 0.767 0.97
Career Fielding Stats Player Pos G GS Inn PO A E DP FP RF/G RF/9 Ripken SS 2302 2291 20232 3651 6977 225 1565 0.979 4.6 4.7 Trammell SS 2139 2081 18270 3391 6172 227 1307 0.977 4.5 4.7
Anyone care to discuss? I apologize in advance, I don't know how to export values for Excel and have them look orderly on here.
Ripken was a much better defensive player than you are giving him credit for. Offensively for their career they are close with a slight edge to Cal, then factor in that Cal was slightly better than Trammell with over 3000 more PA it becomes a big difference. At their peaks, Ripken blows Trammell out of the water with both the height and length of their peak.
So Ripken had 800 more hits, 250 more HR, almost 700 more RBI, 1700 more total bases, 13 more all star appearances, a ROY, 2 MVP's and you are surprised by what?
Longevity, peak years and awards pretty much run these popularity contests. Trammell never had a prolonged prime, never had more than 3 years in a row with an OPS+ over 100. Ripken was one of the best offensive SS in baseball for 10 years straight. From age 29 on Trammell only put together one complete season even.