MLB Needs to Abandon Post-Season Stats and Adopt Play-Off and World Series Stats

It’s interesting to think back in 1961 when Roger Maris’ home run record was asterisked because he played in just 8 more games than Babe Ruth. MLB made a separate record book for the longer season. Why is it that today MLB is comparing the World Series stats of baseball great Mickey Mantle to post-season stats of current day players?

Mantle never played in a Divisional Series game nor a League Series game. Yet, at multiple times during this years play-offs, MLB has displayed post-season leader boards for home runs which has listed the following top 5 players:

  • Manny Ramirez (29),
  • Bernie Williams (22),
  • Derek Jeter (19),
  • Reggie Jackson (18) and
  • Mickey Mantle (18).

A more accurate representation would differentiate between between Divisional Series (DS) homers, League Series (LS) homers and World Series (WS) homers as shown below. PA = Plate Appearances and DNE = Did Not Exist:

PlayerPADSLSWSTOT HR
Mickey Mantle273DNEDNE1818
Manny Ramirez4851213429
Bernie Williams54589522
Derek Jeter587106319
Reggie Jackson318261018

The World Series is the pinnacle of the game of baseball. How can MLB logically combine World Series stats with play-off stats into one bucket called post-season stats when the level of play is so distinctly different? Also, due to the play-offs, today’s players have almost three times as many post-season games per year as those players prior to 1969. If MLB insists on keeping post-season records, they should never include players (such as Mantle, Berra and Ruth) in post-season stats, because they played prior to 1969 when play-offs did not exist. Comparing stats of players who only played in World Series to those players who also played in Divisional Series and League Series is like comparing apples to oranges. MLB could easily solve this issue by keeping two sets of stats; one for play-off records (combined DS and LS) and one for World Series.

One can only imagine how many homers Mantle would have hit if the Yankees of his day would have played Divisional Championship Series and League Championship Series along with the World Series. The Yankees played in 12 World Series during Mantle’s career. That would have included a minimum of 12 Divisional Series (best of 5 games) and 12 League Series (best of 7 games). This does not even include the times that the Yankees would have made it to he play-offs in addition to the 12 years. 50 homers? 60? More?

For the record, Mickey Mantle is the all-time World Series leader in Home Runs (18), RBIs (40), Runs Scored (42), Total Bases (123) and Walks (43).