On-Base Perception

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Josh Hamilton vs. Hack Wilson

Josh Hamilton, seen here homering against the Yankees

Josh Hamilton, seen here homering against the Yankees in Game 4 of the 2010 ALCS on Oct. 19, won the American League MVP award, beating out the Yankees' Robinson Cano and Detroit's Miguel Cabrera on Nov. 23, 2010. (Credit: AP)

Josh Hamilton smacked four home runs for the Texas Rangers on Tuesday night against the Baltimore Orioles. He drove in eight runs in the game, giving him 36 RBIs this season.

Here's a glance at Hamllton's numbers relevant to the chart below that:

Rank Player Team Year GP AB RBI RBI/G
1 Josh Hamilton Texas Rangers 2012 27 103 36 1.33

Hamilton has appeared in 27 of the Rangers' 30 games this season. At his current pace of playing in nine out of every 10 games for the Rangers, and driving in an average of 1.33 runs per game, Hamilton would drive in 192 runs and break the single-season RBI record that has stood for 81 years.

Hack Wilson drove in an MLB-record 191 runs during the 1930 season with the Chicago Cubs.

Of course, that can't possible happen, right? Odds are against it, of course, based on the list of the top 21 RBI seasons in MLB history. Note that only two of them occured after the 1930s.

It may be preposterous to believe Hamilton could continue this pace and set the record, but baseball is all about numbers. So, here are a few more numbers: Hamilton played in 156 games in 2008, but in the three seasons since, he hasn't appeared in more than 133.

Rank Player Team Year GP AB RBI RBI/G
1 Hack Wilson Chicago Cubs 1930 155 585 191 1.23
2 Lou Gehrig New York Yankees 1931 155 619 184 1.19
3 Hank Greenberg Detroit Tigers 1937 154 594 183 1.19
4(t) Jimmie Foxx Boston Red Sox 1938 149 565 175 1.17
4(t) Lou Gehrig New York Yankees 1927 155 584 175 1.13
6 Lou Gehrig New York Yankees 1930 154 581 174 1.13
7 Babe Ruth New York Yankees 1921 152 540 171 1.13
8(t) Hank Greenberg Detroit Tigers 1935 152 619 170 1.12
8(t) Chuck Klein Philadelphia Phillies 1930 156 648 170 1.09
10 Jimmie Foxx Philadelphia A's 1932 154 585 169 1.09
11 Joe DiMaggio New York Yankees 1937 151 621 167 1.08
12 Sam Thompson Detroit Wolverines 1887 127 545 166 1.31
13(t) Lou Gehrig New York Yankees 1934 154 579 165 1.07
13(t) Manny Ramirez Cleveland Indians 1999 147 522 165 1.12
13(t) A. Simmons Philadelphia A's 1930 138 554 165 1.20
13(t) Sam Thompson Philadelphia Phillies 1895 119 538 165 1.39
17 Babe Ruth New York Yankees 1927 151 540 164 1.09
18(t) Jimmie Foxx Philadelphia A's 1933 149 573 163 1.12
18(t) Babe Ruth New York Yankees 1931 145 534 163 1.12
20 Hal Trosky Cleveland Indians 1936 151 629 162 1.07
21 Sammy Sosa Chicago Cubs 2001 160 577 160 1.00

Tags: josh hamilton , texas rangers , baseball history , hack wilson

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