2010 is going to be a big year for Alex Rodriguez. Coming off of his first World Series win, the focus will be shifted back to Alex’s personal accomplishments, as he has many looming for this season. He will be seeking his 13th straight season with at least 30 home runs and 100 runs batted in. As he’s going to be playing the whole season, he’ll be chasing his fourth MVP award, which would put him in second place all time behind Barry Bonds. Sitting at 583 homers, Rodriguez will almost undoubtedly reach 600 home runs in 2010. When he does, he’ll be just the seventh man all time to do so, though he has a better AB/HR ratio than all of them save for Bonds and Babe Ruth. If/when these accomplishments occur, they will get a lot of attention–as they should, because these are marvelous feats in baseball history.
There is, however, one accomplishment that will go unnoticed outside of the blogosphere. At some point in 2009, Alex Rodriguez will become just the 20th player in baseball history to compile 100 Wins Above Replacement per the Baseball Projection WAR Database. There are no active players in front of him and every player ahead of him is a Hall of Fame player (including Barry Bonds who should be voted in when his time comes), and Alex will obviously join them.
Per this system, Rodriguez has averaged 6.2 WAR per season. Of the players in front of him, only eight (Gehrig, Mantle, Williams, Wagner, Mays, Cobb, Bonds, and Ruth) have produced higher WAR per season totals (Hank AAron matches A-Rod’s 6.2).
In terms of active players near him in this category, there are none. The next active player on the WAR list is A-Rod’s former teammate Ken Griffey, Jr. (#37, 79.2 WAR) and after him it’s Chipper Jones (#39, 76.7 WAR). It’s doubtful Griffey even reaches 85 and 90 may be out of reach for Chipper. Albert Pujols (#40, 76.5) is likely to be the only active player who reach 100 WAR. This is an incredibly rare feat and that Alex is going to accomplish it in pinstripes makes it all the more special.
Michael Kay won’t have a long speech prepared for when Rodriguez does pass into the 100 WAR territory. The game won’t be stopped like it was for his 500th home run (I was there. Epic.). In fact, it’s doubtful most fans will even know it has happened. That does not make it any less special.
What Alex has been able to accomplish in his career is nothing short of extraordinary and that career should be celebrated even while it is still ongoing. He has been one of baseball’s best and most valuable players since he first stepped onto a field in Seattle way back when. When he does reach 100 WAR, it will be a testament to his longevity and incredible talent.