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Best lead off hitter?

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With Rickey's introduction into the HOF, we got to hear ESPN glowingly talk about Henderson being the greatest lead off hitter of all time. But wasn't Ty Cobb a lead off hitter? I can't find concrete info, but most things I've seen classify him as the teams lead off hitter. I do know he batted fourth in the 1907 and 08 WS.

If he was I don't know how you could make an argument about how Rickey was better. Cobb leads in pretty much every statistical category except steals, and most of them aren't even close. Are the steals really that much to bump him over?

Anyone else in the argument? Pete Rose? Brady Anderson :)?

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Henderson batted lead off over 98 percent of the time. A poster at the Houston Chronicle claims that Cobb batted lead off over 77 percent of the time. He also claims he found that info at B-R, but I haven't been able to locate it yet.

This was in response to an article which ranked the top 5 lead off hitters of all time. They ranked Henderson 2nd to Cobb.

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Ichiro. I know he doesn't have the stats, and I don't believe he is the best lead-off hitter ever (Ty Cobb gets my vote), but the guy is amazing, and if he could have played in the US for his whole career, I think we might be including him in this discussion. Just wanted to throw the idea around.

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Ichiro. I know he doesn't have the stats, and I don't believe he is the best lead-off hitter ever (Ty Cobb gets my vote), but the guy is amazing, and if he could have played in the US for his whole career, I think we might be including him in this discussion. Just wanted to throw the idea around.

How do his stats including Japan compare to Ricky's? I'd imagine the BA is better but Ricky has better power figures and SBs...

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Eliminate night games, rigorous travel, Latino & African-American pitchers for starters, shrink the pitchers from 1979-2003 back to the average size of the pitchers when Cobb played, and I'm sure Rickey's numbers would be even more impressive than they are.

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Eliminate night games, rigorous travel, Latino & African-American pitchers for starters, shrink the pitchers from 1979-2003 back to the average size of the pitchers when Cobb played, and I'm sure Rickey's numbers would be even more impressive than they are.

I have a hard time believing that Ty Cobb had an easier time traveling than Rickey Henderson.

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Eliminate night games, rigorous travel, Latino & African-American pitchers for starters, shrink the pitchers from 1979-2003 back to the average size of the pitchers when Cobb played, and I'm sure Rickey's numbers would be even more impressive than they are.

Yes that's true, but that could be said about nearly any player. Looking at stats, Cobb had the lead in OBA .032, in OPS by .135, and WARP3 by 5. Is all of that enough to make him a better lead off hitter though?

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If Cobb was principally a leadoff hitter, then I think you'd have to rank him ahead of Rickey. Career OPS+ of 167 doesn't lie.

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Henderson batted lead off over 98 percent of the time. A poster at the Houston Chronicle claims that Cobb batted lead off over 77 percent of the time. He also claims he found that info at B-R, but I haven't been able to locate it yet.

This was in response to an article which ranked the top 5 lead off hitters of all time. They ranked Henderson 2nd to Cobb.

Baseball Historian John Shiffert says Cobb primarily batted 3rd or 4th.

...in case you’re interested, Ty Cobb does not appear on any of these lists because he invariably batted third or fourth during his career. He was really a middle-of-the-order hitter, although his type of hitter would now be a top-of-the-order guy. Strategies do change.

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I think the argument for Henderson is that he holds the career records for runs scored, stolen bases, and, until Barry Bonds came along, walks. And those are three pretty important categories for a leadoff hitter.

I guess I'd always assumed Cobb hit leadoff, but for some reason I'd also never wondered how he won the 1909 triple crown while batting 1st.

Ichiro's a pretty good player, but Henderson was basically Ichiro with power, walks, and twice as many steals. So it's hard to argue Rickey isn't better.

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