Who makes contact while dialing long distance?
Most power hitters will sacrifice accuracy for distance -- and gladly reap the rewards of their all-or-nothing approach.
Updated: April 17, 2003, 5:57 PM ETBy Walter Lis, STATS, Inc.
While Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa chased the legend of Roger Maris in the summer of 1998, America's fascination with the longball seemed to be reaching a new plateau. Since then, we've consistently seen mammoth numbers of home runs leave ballparks across North America, including Barry Bonds' record 2001 output of 73. And with those prodigious blasts, we've also seen the increase in popularity of the often-ugly by-product of the big swing, the strikeout. As was the case with both McGwire and Sosa in '98, home-run hitters historically have been allowed significant leeway in terms of striking out. It often is taken for granted that in order to be a king of the longball, you're also going to rack up more than your fair share of whiffs. Most power hitters will sacrifice accuracy for distance -- and gladly reap the rewards of their all-or-nothing approach. In this day in age, home-run titles seem to bring players a lot more attention than batting titles. However, throughout history we've seen that rare hitter who has the unusual combination of power and accuracy. In the 1920s and '30s, Lou Gehrig had nine straight seasons in which he hit 30 or more homers while striking out fewer than 70 times. In his incredible 1934 effort, the Iron Horse hit 49 home runs with a paltry 31 Ks.