The debate over whether all of Barry Bonds' record-setting home runs are legit may never end, but there is another statistical debate going on among baseball enthusiasts: Was Tigers great Hank Greenberg robbed of an RBI in 1937?
I know what you're thinking: what difference does it make if he's credited with one less RBI? Well, quite a big one in fact. You see, during that 1937 season Greenberg drove in 183 runs; if he gets one more he ties Lou Gehrig's single-season American League record.
That's what Herm Krabbenhoft of the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) is arguing, and he's convinced Greenberg was robbed.
The match in question is the second game of a doubleheader with Oakland on June 20, 1937. Greenberg was credited with no RBI that day, but Krabbenhoft says the official scorekeeper was wrong.
The official box score credited Greenberg with no RBIs, but Krabbenhoft is convinced he had one when pinch-runner Flea Clifton scored on Greenberg's grounder and wild throw to second by the shortstop.
The big question is whether Clifton was on third or second during the play. If Clifton was on third, it's an RBI.
Krabbenhoft argues that Clifton was in fact on third because Clifton was a known speedster and Pete Fox advanced two bases and scored on a previous play from second base; if Fox scored from second, then Clifton almost assuredly went from first to third.
He also argues that there were two independent scorecards that credited Greenberg with an RBI and that the box score from the first game got transferred to Game 2. Elias Sports Bureau, who keeps all of MLB's records, is currently going over the case and could lead to a new record for a Tigers batter.