We hear it from “experts” all the time: “So-and-so just hasn’t won the big one. He hasn’t gotten a ring.” A player’s career isn’t complete until he has been part of the World Series Championship.
Alex Rodriguez may be the perfect example. Many of the so-called experts have labeled him as nothing more than a choker, someone who can’t perform in the “clutch” of the postseason. Why else would Joe Torre bat Rodriguez eighth in an elimination game?
Well, I’m here to disprove the myth that a player needs to have a World Series ring to “justify” praise as being one of the best ever. Try not to consider me a Rodriguez apologist. Rather, consider me an enlightener.
To win a World Championship, it takes more than one player. In the heyday of the New York Yankees, Derek Jeter was integral, but how can you discount the contributions of guys like Mariano Rivera, Bernie Williams, and Andy Pettitte?
What would Randy Johnson have been without Curt Schilling in 2001? Or, what would Schilling have been without Johnson that year? Josh Beckett may have been the 2003 World Series MVP, but how can you discount what Juan Pierre (.333/.481/.429) did in the leadoff spot?
It takes more than one player to win a World Championship. To give all of the credit to one player is ludicrous. To place all of the blame on one player is ludicrous as well. A team wins World Championships. How can anyone say that a player needs to win the big one? It’s always about what team someone is on.
Need more proof? Let’s take a gander of the careers of Luis Sojo and Ted Williams. This will tell us everything we need to know.
Sojo spent 13 years in the major leagues, certainly enough of a sample size to judge his career stats of .261/.297/.352 with 36 home runs in over 2,500 ABs. It’s amazing he spent that much time at the major league level. Sojo was clearly a below average player, and at least no team ever gave him an everyday job.
Williams is a different story. He spent 19 seasons in the major leagues, and you can say he had an everyday job: .344/.482/.634 with 521 home runs. Williams was the second-best hitter in major league history, only behind that Babe Ruth fellow. You don’t need to work for The Hardball Times to realize that The Splendid Splinter was infinitely better.
Now, why do I make that comparison? Well, Sojo played for the Yankees in 1999 and 2000, which meant he was on their World Series rosters. The Yankees won it all in those years, which gave him two rings. Williams, on the other hand, only played in the 1946 World Series, but his team lost that year.
That leaves Sojo ahead 2-0 in World Series rings. It seems as if his career is worth more in the eyes of those so-called experts. However, as an intelligent fan can discern for himself, Williams was the better player. And we calculated that by not looking at the so-called mandatory qualification of a player needing a World Series ring to be considered good.
So the next time someone says Rodriguez isn’t anything until he wins a ring, just point to the comparison of Luis Sojo and Ted Williams.
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