Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Spook Jacobs, 1954 Philadelphia Athletics

If you ever wanted to challenge a St. Louis Brown in a contest for sheer mediocrity, a Philadelphia Athletic would be your best bet. To that end, Robert Forrest "Spook" Vandergrift Jacobs is a fitting challenger to Wally Gerber (if you need any more proof of this serendipitous relationship, consider that Gerber's nickname was 'Spook'). Jacobs had a much less successful (if you could call it that) career than Gerber, premiering as a rookie at the age of 28 and playing just three seasons before retiring in 1956. In his one full season, however, Jacobs found some moderate success and a large dose of record-setting failure. To the good, Jacobs finished fourth in the AL in stolen bases (tearing up the pea patch with 17 swipes) and came sixth in the league in AB per SO, whiffing every 23.091 times at bat. To the bad, Jacobs became the only man to collect fewer than 145 total bases on 130 or more hits. The fact Jacobs came sixth in the league in singles, while only stroking 12 extra base hits (11 2b, 1 3b) helps to explain this anomaly, as Jacob picked up only 144 TB on 131 hits. Why light hitting should damn Jacobs, in spite of a 60:22 strikeouts-to-walk ratio and an acceptable 72 OPS+, remains a mystery. Maybe he didn't have that crappy Ken Williams around to make him look good.

145- total bases, 130+ hits

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