win or lose, Granderson is The Man (possibly The Tiger)

photo illustration by Samara Pearlstein

Today was a big fat ugly loss (Bondo’s elbow appears to be so bad that it’s making him “scared and nervous”. whee), and yesterday was an equally ugly ping-ponging win that I am trying to forget because I am, once again, trying to purge the existence of all sports on Saturday from my mind. So instead of dwelling on these terrible, hateful things, let us instead concentrate on Curtis Granderson, and why his achievements are so truly glorious.

With a stolen base in today’s game Granderson got himself the Slightly Arbitrary Yet Awesome Foursome: at least 20 doubles, 20 triples, 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases. Of course he’s got more than 20 of most of those things. As of today he’s actually got 36 doubles, 22 triples, 21 home runs, and the newly-acquired 20 stolen bases.

We all know that this is remarkable and awesome and awesomely remarkable. We also know that Curtis Granderson is the immediate answer to the ubiquitous “WHO’S YOUR TIGER??” question for at least half of all Tigers fans for a variety of excellent and compelling reasons. But why is this particular Slightly Arbitrary Yet Awesome Foursome so very amazing?

It’s rare. There are only two other players who have ever done this: Frank Schulte and Willie Mays. Schulte and Granderson are the ONLY TWO PLAYERS to ever hit at least 30 doubles in addition to at least 20 of everything else. The history of baseball is long and encompasses a great many players; for this to have only happened so few times that a chicken could count it on its chicken feet is remarkable.

It happens to great players. I’m pretty sure you all know who Willie Mays is, and the thought of Granderson being compared to him in any meaningful way should be enough to make us all salivate. If you want to know who Frank Schulte is I suggest you check out this SABR biography of him, because the SABR knows all, and if they don’t know something yet, they’re in the process of finding it out. Suffice it to say that Mr. Schulte (nicknamed Wildfire) was a heckuva player in his prime, although that prime was pretty short.

It eliminates the flake. Not necessarily the ballplayer with a flaky personality (that’s a whole other debate– a fascinating and fun one, but not one that pertains here), but the ballplayer with the flaky approach to baseball. You can be a lackadaisical ballplayer and still hit 20 home runs or 20 doubles. But it’s damn hard to come at baseball with that sort of mindset and consistently hit doubles, triples, and home runs, AND steal 20 bases on top of all that.

Not that we need the Slightly Arbitrary Yet Awesome Foursome to appreciate the quality and depth of Granderson’s work ethic, but it just reinforces the point.

It indicates a well-rounded player. Some guys have a lot of power. Some guys have a lot of speed. Some guys have a great eye at the plate. Some guys have excellent bat control. Some guys have a strong understanding of pitchers’ moves and what to do when they get on base. To hit 20 home runs, you need power. To hit 20 doubles, you need bat control (since doubles are, often, about placement of the hit). To hit 20 triples, you need a mix of power, bat control, speed, and a big ballpark (although lots of Granderson’s triples come on roadtrips). To steal 20 bases, you need speed and base-running intelligence.

In order to achieve the Slightly Arbitrary Yet Awesome Foursome you need, in effect, to be the toolsiest hitter that you can possibly be. Of course this doesn’t say anything about defense (although we all know perfectly well that Granderson’s speed helps him cover Comerica’s sizeable outfield), but it indicates a definite completeness of hitting ability.

Curtis Granderson is awesome. We all know this. But now, if someone is foolish enough to try to argue with you about it (some uncouth creature, like a Wrong Sox fan, maybe), you can show them the extreme error of their ways.


13 responses to “win or lose, Granderson is The Man (possibly The Tiger)

  1. Les Miles in 2008

    i know this is a Tigers blog, but could you describe the atmosphere in the student section (or wherever you were) at the game on saturday? im just curious…

  2. This was the attitude in the stadium:
    It was actually quite boisterous at the end of the game, but that was because there were a ton of Ducks fans, and all the ones at the top of the stadium started coming down as the stadium emptied out to join their feathered brethren closer to field level. Michigan fans were stunned, disgusted.
    It’ll be evident in more detail when I get my photos from the game processed and online– I have a whole series of photos of depressed Michigan fans.

  3. […] Tiger Tales: A Detroit Tigers Blog: Granderson Reaches 20 20 20 20Roar of the Tigers | MVN – Most Valuable Network

  4. I’m holding my breath that those MRI’s don’t mean the end of Bondo’s season this year. Grandy is my Mom’s Tiger. I’ll have to tell her about his feat today. I mentioned to yah about that Brandon Inge shrinkwrapped bus that I was on. I was too busy to scramble for my cameraphone, but I have a picture from earlier this year here

  5. Curtis has had a great year; he should have been an all star, although I think he will be an all star for many years to come.

  6. Granderson puts the “a” in awesome. The o, s & e too. Not sure who puts the “M” in awesome, but I’m pretty sure I know who’s NOT.

  7. although Grandy is MY sole Tiger, I’m happy to share him with everyone, for the time being.
    Although I’m sure he’d trade off all these personal accomplishments just to make it to the post season. And that makes him even more awesome.

  8. Yes, congrats to Grandy, it’s one hell of an accomplishment… Under the “did you know” file is that Jimmy Rollins needs 3 triples in the remaining 3 weeks to join him. How messed up is that? Hasn’t been done in 50 years, and it’s only been done twice ever (before this year, that is), and now possibly 2 guys are gonna do it? Weird. The Phillies broadcasters were talking about how A-Rod is almost certain to walk away with the MVP award thanx to his ever-increasing HR total, plus playing on a contending team and all, but said how the NL MVP is wide-open, and they mentioned J-Roll as a legitimate candidate. Gotta think Magglio’s gonna finish 2nd in the MVP voting, but it shall be interesting to see what kind of attention Grandy gets in that vote thanks to this. By the way, Schulte got the MVP award in the season when he did this (then again, his 21 HR led the league in 1911), and Mays finished 4th.

  9. Oh, hey, I almost forgot… When Bondo left the game and Grilli came in with the Tigs down just 6-4, I was totally anticipating the Grilli pimp graphic. However, Grilli was significantly less than pimp-tastic.

  10. Lauren, yeah, it sure sounds like Bondo’s done. Not a good thing any way you slice it.
    I’d trade Grandy All Star this year for 10 future Grandy All Stars. :) Hopefully all as a Tiger!
    farlane, ouch. Ouch. Wince.
    tiff, that’s 100% true. He’s just the type of player to not care about the record books if the team isn’t winning. Yet another commendation of his character.
    Ooo, Jeff, I didn’t know that Rollins was about to hit it too. I wonder what that means… players with speed AND power are being selected for more than specialized players now? I dunno. Hm.

  11. I totally skipped farlane’s reference, as I’m not a football fan in anything but the very most casual way… But I’m 99.9% sure that Magglio puts the “M” in awesome.

  12. […] facts about baseball (who needs facts when you’ve got pictures?) check Detroit Tiger Weblog, Roar of the Tigers, Tiger Tales, The Free Press*, the News and even ESPN had to show honey some love. Watch the […]

  13. Magglio puts the M, A, and O in AWESOME, and he would put the other letters in too if he really wanted to.

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