A Tribe Called Quest CD Leads To Fact-Based Review Of The Flaws Of St. Louis Cardinal Lou Brock

I was listening to Run DMC in my car a few weeks back while ordering something from the drive-up window of a well-known coffee chain. The young man at the window heard the music and said I might enjoy A Tribe Called Quest.

Since the young man at the drive-up window did well with my tea, I took his advice and purchased a greatest hits CD of A Tribe Called Quest.

In one of the songs on that CD, reference is made to the base running speed of former St. Louis Cardinal outfielder Lou Brock.

Positive mention of Lou Brock as a player annoys me. Brock, who played between 1961 and 1979, is viewed as a great or near great player because of his many stolen bases and because he had more than 3000 hits. Brock is in the Hall of Fame despite the fact he should not be in the Hall of Fame.

A review of Brock’s career shows a flawed player. Brock had many hits, but not many of them were for extra bases. Brock did not walk enough. He struck out often. Brock’s stolen base total is mitigated by the fact that his percentage of successful stolen base attempts is not high in relation to other successful base stealers.

As of the end of 2006 season, Brock ranked 15th in number of times appearing at the plate as a batter. However, Brock is not even close to being in the top 100 for walks. Brock is also 13th in times striking out. That is a lot of strike outs for a guy not hitting many home runs.

Brock is not in the top 100 for extra base hits. Despite his speed and long career he is only 55th in doubles. All-time stolen base champ Rickey Henderson was successful in 80.8 % of steal attempts. Brock was successful 74.5% of the time. Henderson had 1406 stolen bases while Brock had 938.

At his best Brock was a capable player, but almost never among the best in the National League. For his career, Brock hardly merits mention in relation to a contemporary such as Roberto Clemente. He is a pip-squeak when put up against Willie Mays or Hank Aaron.

Look behind the hype and behind the well-known statistics and “facts.” Often you’ll find a different story.

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Errington C. Thompson, MD

Dr. Thompson is a surgeon, scholar, full-time sports fan and part-time political activist. He is active in a number of community projects and initiatives. Through medicine, he strives to improve the physical health of all he treats.


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