|UNDERSTATED GREATNESS AT THE PLATE.|
|DH OR NOT, 1,600-PLUS RBI IS HOF WORTHY.|
DEFINING THE PLAYER
- Harold Baines hit 384 homers and had a knack for making the most of them. He's top 10 all-time in game-winning (10th), three-run (fourth) and grand slams (10th). He finished his 22-year career with 2,866 hits, 1,628 RBI while slashing .289/.356/.465. But, like the tree in the forest that falls and no one sees it, do Baines' numbers count because so few saw him in the field? After spending a major-league record 1,652 games at designated hitter, apparently not. He has the most RBI for an eligible player not in the Hall Fame. He was a candidate for five years, never receiving more than 6.1 percent of the vote, and was dropped from the ballot in '11 after getting 4.8 percent.
- In the 25th inning and after more than 700 pitches on May 9, 1984, Baines came to bat for the White Sox against the Brewers' Chuck Porter with the score 6-6. The perfect man was up to finally end the epic eight-hour and six-minute marathon with a homer. The game, which started the day before and was suspended in the 17th inning, set an AL mark for innings and time of game. Baines finished 2-for-10.
- Baines' only bold-ink stat of his career occurred in '84, when he led the AL in slugging with a .541 mark. He batted .304 with a career-high 29 homers and drove in 94.
FIVE FINAL FACTS
- Hit a White Sox-record 221 homers, which was eclipsed by #125 Carlton Fisk in '90.
- Baines' DH record 236 homers was broken by #190 Edgar Martinez in '04.
- Primarily a right fielder when he reached the majors in '81, Baines began having knee problems in '86 that eventually forced him to the DH role full time in '87.
- In eight postseason series, spanning 31 games and 113 plate appearances, Baines slashed .324/.378/.510 with five homers and 16 RBI.
- Holds the record for most years between 100-RBI seasons (14) after driving in 113 for the White Sox in '85 and 103 for the Orioles and Indians in '99.
1993 Topps Finest: Paging Nos. 145-153 will appear Thursday.