Santos Flores hung up the cleats after season 26. Here's why he's a hall-of-famer.
I wrote that as the S26 playoffs were winding down and I reflected on what a great career Flores has had. Imagine my surprise when Flores didn't retire when Season 27 rolled over! He went on to play two more seasons and add to the lore that has developed around The Best Pure Right Fielder in History (TM). So, in trading a couple of points' batting average/OPS, he's strengthened his case while playing for a dud of a team to end his career.
- Awards He's a 6-time all-star and won the Silver Slugger and Gold Glove at right field.
- Consistent Quality He didn't ever get accused of swinging from his heels. Flores never struck out 120 times. He never struck out 100 times. Flores never even struck out 85 times. His low was 50 strikeouts and his high was 81 over a long career. All told he only struck out once per 8 at-bats. Flores's home runs plus stolen bases added up to 55 or better each season from his rookie year of season 8 through season 20. Up until his last two seasons he was a starter, hitting 9 or more home runs and stealing 17 or more bases. He averaged 20 home runs and 36 stolen bases per 162 games for his career.
- Okay, time for the longevity stats. He's #2 to Jim Heathcott in at-bats, plate appearances, and pitches seen. He's got 31 more doubles than hall-of-famer Hal Randall. He's #2 in games behind hall-of-famer Rudy Lombardi. He's #5 in hits. He's #2 behind hall-of-famer Rogers Glynn in runs. He's got one more triple than hall-of-famer Walt Cashman without playing in the triples seasons.
- Something Different He's not a first baseman or designated hitter. Flores would be the first player known primarily as a right fielder in the hall of fame.
To bring you up to date, Flores finished his career #1 in the following categories:
- at-bats (+210 over Heathcott),
- plate appearances (+271 over Heathcott),
- doubles (+35 over Randall*),
- games (+162 over Lombardi*),
- pitches seen (594 over Maduro),
- and triples (4 over Cashman* who had 50 triples in the first 2 seasons while the world was triple-happy).
* denotes Hall-of-Famer
+ denotes North Star
So here are my campaign points as I'm wrapping up my rally:
- #1 in triples and doubles
- #2 in hits
- 3 years over .900 OPS, 10 over .850
- Best season's hard to pick: 8? 10? 12? 15?
- Gold Glove and Silver Slugger, 6-time All-Star
- 10 seasons of 39+ doubles
- 15 seasons of 30+ stolen bases to start career