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By The Numbers: Double X: Jimmie Foxx

(Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.)

(Courtesy of the Boston Public Library, Leslie Jones Collection.)

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By Father Gabe Costa
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James Emory Foxx. He was known as The Beast, but, by all accounts, he was a generous, kind and gentle individual. In print, writers reported his name as Jimmie Foxx, or simply, Double X.

We usually don’t hear much about Jimmie Foxx anymore. Or read much about him. And it’s too bad. For Foxx was one of the greatest players ever to grace the diamond.

He was born in 1907 and died sixty years later. He lived hard, played hard and enjoyed a drink or two.

He came up in 1925, with Connie Mack’s Philadelphia Athletics. While he could play both behind the plate and at the hot corner, he was primarily a first baseman. His teammates included Hall of Famers Ty Cobb, Tris Speaker, Mickey Cochrane, Al Simmons and Lefty Grove. He rivaled Babe Ruth with regard to home runs (both in quantity and distance) and his only competition for the “best first baseman in baseball” label were Hank Greenberg and the Iron Horse, Lou Gehrig.

Jimmie Foxx had the following career statistics:

At Bats (AB)

8134

Runs Scored (R)

1751

Home Runs (HR)

534

Runs Batted In (RBI)

1922

Batting Average (BA)

.325

Slugging Average (SLG)

.609

Isolated Power (ISO = SLG – BA)

.284

On Base Plus Slugging (OPS)

1.038

Wins Above Replacement (WAR)

94.1

Some interesting points about Double X:

  • Foxx would become the centerpiece of Mack’s mini-dynasty of the 1929-1931 A’s.
  • He would hit 58 HR in 1932, thus becoming the second American Leaguer after Ruth and the third slugger in history to break the 50+ barrier (Hack Wilson of the Chicago Cubs smashed 56 HR in 1930).
  • In 1932, he would be voted in as the American League’s Most Valuable Player. He would be honored again as such in 1933 and 1938.
  • Foxx would win the Triple Crown in 1933.
  • Double X would reach the half-century HR mark again in 1938. Thus making him, at the time, the only player, other than Ruth, to accomplish this feat.
  • Foxx actually pitched in 10 games during his career. Over 23.2 innings, he compiled a 1-0 lifetime record.
  • Foxx would retire from baseball in 1945. His 534 lifetime HR total would put him second to only Ruth’s 714 HR, and he would maintain this position for decades to follow.
  • His RBI total ranks 8th all time.
  • His SLG mark is the 5th best ever.
  • His OPS is all the 5th best of all time.
  • His ISO is the 9th highest ever.
  • He was elected into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1951.

In Bill Jenkinson’s 2010 book, Baseball’s Ultimate Power (ISBN: 9781599215440), the author researched long distance home runs for three decades (this blog reviewed Jenkinson’s book in June of 2010). He concluded that, with the notable exception of Babe Ruth, no player in history hit the ball as consistently far as James Emory Foxx, thus ranking him as the second most powerful batter ever. By the way, Mickey Mantle ranked a very close third to Double X.

Finally, regarding the extraordinary sheer power of Foxx, when Hall of Famer Lefty Gomez learned that certain astronauts found a white object on the Moon, Gomez quipped something to the effect, “I know what they found…they found a baseball. It was a home run Jimmie Foxx hit off me in 1937.”