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You can look at the traditional measures of HR and RBI totals to measure sluggers, or incorporate more advanced metrics, like OPS.
But what do you do about all those strikeouts? Because hitters who avoid strikeouts are better run producers, and good sluggers tally runs.
Furthermore, looking only at career totals means players with longevity in a Cubs uniform often end up with the most of a particular statistic. And that doesn't mean they were the best in every at-bat, just over a long period of time.
Sure, playing with the team for many years means they deserve recognition. But several short-term players left lasting numbers in the Cubs' record book, and they should get credit, too.
That means HR and RBI totals must count, but a batter's HR and RBI rates, their likelihood of doing damage in any given AB, can also be useful measures.
Ultimately, a combination of these statistics provides an interesting overview of Chicago's best sluggers, allowing some comparisons between franchise icons and free agent fill-ins.
1. Home run totals
2. Home run rate (AB per HR)
3. RBI totals
4. RBI rate (RBI per AB)
5. On-Base Plus Slugging Percentage (OPS)
6. Strikeout Percentage
In the first five categories, the 55 players with at least 50-plus home runs as a Cub were ranked highest to lowest.
The top player in each category received 25 points. Each subsequent player received one less point, e.g. the second-ranked player in the category received 24 points, the third received 23 points, on down to the 25th-ranked player, who received one point. Those ranked 26th through 55th received zero points.
In the case of strikeout percentage, the player with the worst strikeout percentage (the most likely to strike out) received negative-25 points, down to the 25th-worst player, who received negative-one point. Those ranked 26th through 55th received zero points.
Finally, the points in each category were totaled and players ranked by the overall number of points earned.
For example, Ron Santo had 337 HRs, hitting one every 23 ABs over his career, amassing 1290 RBI and driving in a run every six ABs. He finished with an OBP of .838 but struck out once almost every six AB, too.
Compared to the other Cubs sluggers, Santo ranks high in some categories but just average in others. He's fourth in home run totals, but 19th in home run rate. He's fifth in RBI totals but 15th in RBI per AB. And he's 17th in OBP but is in the top 20 in strikeout percentage, too.
Using the point system outlined above, and ranking Santo's statistics against other Cubs, here's how his numbers add up.
HR Total: 22 points (ranked fourth overall in Cubs history)
HR Rate: 7 points (19th)
RBI Total: 21 points (5th)
RBI per AB: 11 points (15th)
OPS: 9 points (17th)
SO Rate: -6 points (20th-worst strikeout percentage)
Total Points Earned: 64
Overall, those numbers make Santo the eighth-best slugger in Cubs history, tied with Rogers Hornsby. Both Santo and Hornsby end up with 64 points but in different ways, across different lengths of time, and in different time periods.
Ronnie played for 14 seasons while Rogers played for just four. Santo has the clear edge in overall totals but each of Hornsby's at-bats were more devastating to opposing teams. And despite just 58 dingers, Hornsby's OPS is the highest of any player to wear a Cubs uniform and hit 50 or more home runs.
Which of the two was better? You decide.
But here are the results for the top 25 sluggers in Cubs history according to this ranking system.