[Update: It has been reported that Jack Cust has signed with the A's]
Back when I was a young lad, I used to collect baseball cards. For fun. I would spend hours memorizing the backs of these paper gems, chomping on the hardest chewing gum known to man. There was a time I could recite every batting champ of the 60’s and 70’s, as well as nearly every other statistical leader.
I paid special attention to the A’s, of course, and can still tell you without referring to any baseball site that Tony Armas hit 22 homeruns during the strike-shortened season of 1981.
In time, I grew to love certain numbers, like the Babe’s 714 or Maris’ 61 or Joltin’ Joe’s 56. And let’s face it, no sport is as passionate about its numbers like baseball.
Alas the numbers have changed, and while the romantic side of baseball still manages to thrill me, be it Opening Night or a meaningless encounter with the Royals in August, or the seventh game of the World Series, it seems the numerical side of baseball has passed me by. Or, more to the point, has gone over my head.
And what used to be a chance to impress a date when a trivia question would pop up on the big screen has given away to statistical overload. I hate to think I am too dumb to catch on; I prefer to believe I just don’t have the time (patience) to catch up.
Ah, but before this starts to sound anti-saber, let me tell you it is not at all. Nor is it a request to tutor me for a few hours on UZR. I realize that in the near-future Hall-of-Fame candidates will be measured well beyond wins and RBI’s (well, once can hope right?)
What I would like to know from those who eat, drink, and sleep stats, is what are the magic numbers of the future now that Cy Young’s 511 and Hack Wilson’s 190 (still can’t get used to 191) are so last century?
In other words, what I will use to impress my date in 30 years? Well, besides that.