PDA

View Full Version : 12 Great Seasons by Mediocre Players



marcshoe
03-14-2012, 10:00 PM
A fun (free) Baseball Prospectus article (http://www.baseballprospectus.com/article.php?articleid=16188) features a Corey Patterson sighting and a special guest appearance by Rich Aurilia.

I was half expecting to see Ryan Ludwick's 2008, but he didn't make the cut.

westofyou
03-14-2012, 10:53 PM
Don Mueller 1954, led the league in hits And his team won the WS

MikeThierry
03-15-2012, 10:32 AM
It always makes me chuckle a bit when I see Brady Anderson's name.

MrCinatit
03-15-2012, 11:41 AM
Anderson was the first name that popped into mind after seeing the headline, Steve Stone was the second.

marcshoe
03-15-2012, 11:46 AM
Brady's real secret wasn't steroids; it was sideburns.

oneupper
03-15-2012, 12:03 PM
Aurilia's 2001 was built upon hitting in front of Barry Bonds.
That's what makes me wonder about Ryan Ludwick.

Johnny Footstool
03-15-2012, 12:24 PM
Aurilia's 2001 was built upon hitting in front of Barry Bonds.
That's what makes me wonder about Ryan Ludwick.

Considering the environment, I suspect it was also build on team "chemistry."

MikeThierry
03-15-2012, 01:01 PM
Can we put Marty Marion's 1944 season in there. He won the MVP that year for some god unknown reason even with Musial out OPS'ing him by 300 points, out SLGing him by nearly 200 points, and batted nearly 100 points better than he did.


Brady's real secret wasn't steroids; it was sideburns.

I nominate this for the post of the day, haha

redsmetz
03-15-2012, 01:25 PM
Would Deron Johnson's 1965 season qualify? I'm not sure what the definition of mediocre is - it's possible that Johnson, this one season aside, was essentially league average.

westofyou
03-15-2012, 01:31 PM
Would Deron Johnson's 1965 season qualify? I'm not sure what the definition of mediocre is - it's possible that Johnson, this one season aside, was essentially league average.

He's a poster boy for for fluke seasons his seaon was a major reason the Robinson trade went down, however he had a handful of other good years (71) but five years with ops + above 100 says he's not too mediocre

dougdirt
03-15-2012, 05:23 PM
Can we put Marty Marion's 1944 season in there. He won the MVP that year for some god unknown reason even with Musial out OPS'ing him by 300 points, out SLGing him by nearly 200 points, and batted nearly 100 points better than he did.


.686 OPS.... lowest total for an MVP that wasn't a pitcher ever?

RedsBaron
03-15-2012, 05:24 PM
While he was more than a medicore player, Norm Cash's 1961 season has always stood out to me as a magnificent season so far beyond anything else he ever did.
In 1961 Cash hit .361 to lead the majors; he never again hit as high as .300.
He had an OBP of .487, leading the majors; Only one other time did he reach .400 in OBP, that coming in 1960 with a .402.
He had a .662 S. Pct. He never again topped .600 and only four other times topped .500.
He lead the AL in OPS with 1.148, which was pretty good considering that 1961 was the year Maris had 61 HRs and Mantle had 54 HRs. His second highest OPS was .903 in 1971.
He hit 41 HRs. He never again topped 40 and only once came close, hitting 39 in 1962.
He had 132 RBI. He never again topped 100.
He lead the AL with 193 hits. He never came close to doing that again.

RedsBaron
03-15-2012, 05:26 PM
Can we put Marty Marion's 1944 season in there. He won the MVP that year for some god unknown reason even with Musial out OPS'ing him by 300 points, out SLGing him by nearly 200 points, and batted nearly 100 points better than he did.


Marion's 1944 MVP award ranks with the worst MVP voting ever. Musial should have won.

RedsBaron
03-16-2012, 09:43 AM
One of the great fluke accomplishments in MLB history was the season turned in by Chief Wilson in 1912, or, more accurately, his statistics in one category, triples.
Here are Wilson's seasonal totals for triples throughout his career, from 1908 through 1916: 7, 12, 13, 12, 36, 14, 12, 6, 2.
Wilson played for the Pirates in a big ballpark in an era with high triple totals, so his ability to regularly hit between 12 and 14 triples was not remarkable, but 36 in 1912 really stands out. It remains a major league record.
BTW, Pete Rose had a very unusual number of triples while playing for Tampa in 1961. Rose had 30 triples. I realize Tampa was a Class D minor league team and I realize Rose, at age 20, was probably as fast a runner then as he ever would be. I know nothing about the ballparks in that league.
That said, his batting line was unusual. In 484 at bats Rose had 160 hits for a .331 average. His 160 hits included 20 doubles, 30 triples and 2 home runs. How does a player have 50% more triples than doubles?
For that matter, 160 hits is not a huge total. In the majors Rose exceeded 160 hits in a season 18 times, but the most triples he ever had in a major league season was 11.

RedsBaron
03-16-2012, 10:01 AM
It is probably easier to find what appears to be great fluke seasons by pitchers than it is position players, since a pitcher can be great one season, hurt his arm, and be finished.
One of the greatest seasons ever by a mediocre pitcher was the one turned in by Gene Bearden for the Indians in 1948. After pitching 1/3 of an inning in 1947 with a 81.00 ERA, at age 28, in his first full season in 1948 Bearden went 20-7 with six shutouts and a league leading 2.43 ERA; his 168+ ERA was also a league best. He had 15 complete games. His 20th win came in a five hitter he threw in a one game playoff for the AL pennant over Boston, winning 8-3. He then went 1-0 in the World Series, winning game three and getting a save in the Series clincher in game six.
For his rest of his career Bearden went 25-31. His career ERA was 3.96. The most games he thereafter won in a season was 8.
I could not find any record of Bearden having arm problems. He was primarily a knuckleball pitcher, who usually do not have arm issues (see Wilhelm, Niekro, et al). Perhaps he just lost control of his knuckler.
I did read that Bearden suffered a head injury during World War II and this contributed to his later having an alcohol problem.
Bearden's 1948 remains a great fluke season. Without him the Indians would only have 1920 as a World Championship season.

PuffyPig
03-16-2012, 10:12 AM
Bernie Carbo 1970.

He was actually the Reds top OPS hitter that year, as he was an OBA machine. This was Perez' and Bench's best years, but Carbo topped both of them.

His strat-o-matic card that year is still one of my favorites, and it was while playing strat-o-matic that year that I learned the value of the walk.

He had a few decent years after that, but nothing like 1970. I believe he fell victim to the smack.

PuffyPig
03-16-2012, 10:14 AM
He's a poster boy for for fluke seasons his seaon was a major reason the Robinson trade went down, however he had a handful of other good years (71) but five years with ops + above 100 says he's not too mediocre


Johnson led the NL in RBI's that year, for some unexplainable reason (I assume he had lots of baserunners on for him). He was a good hitter that year, but certainly not elite. A good lesson that RBI's are largely team dependent.

westofyou
03-16-2012, 10:25 AM
Johnson led the NL in RBI's that year, for some unexplainable reason (I assume he had lots of baserunners on for him). He was a good hitter that year, but certainly not elite. A good lesson that RBI's are largely team dependent.

Tommy Harper, Pete and Robby all batted in front of him and had over 100 runs scored too, Johnson was definitely in the wheelhouse that year when it came to opportunities

MikeThierry
03-16-2012, 11:07 AM
.686 OPS.... lowest total for an MVP that wasn't a pitcher ever?


He basically has the lowest stats of any MVP in the history of the game, lol.

cincinnati chili
03-18-2012, 11:08 PM
Bernie Carbo 1970.

He was actually the Reds top OPS hitter that year, as he was an OBA machine. This was Perez' and Bench's best years, but Carbo topped both of them.

His strat-o-matic card that year is still one of my favorites, and it was while playing strat-o-matic that year that I learned the value of the walk.

He had a few decent years after that, but nothing like 1970. I believe he fell victim to the smack.

I think you hit the nail on the head at the end. Carbo wasn't so much a mediocre player who had a fluke year, but a potential perennial all-star player who drank and drugged himself into mediocrity. There's a reason the Reds drafted him one round before Johnny Bench.

RedlegJake
03-19-2012, 07:20 AM
Deron Johnson wasn't a terrible or mediocre hitter by any means. He was actually quite a good hitter. Had there been a DH in the 60s he would have been ideal for the job - simply put he was a terrible fielder. He couldn't play the outfield well, had a below average arm at third, was lousy at first. He was slow footed and clumsy - never could get the footwork needed of a corner infielder down pat. I'll tell you that I liked him - in an era before the RBI was proven a pretty worthless stat and "clutch" was discounted as a myth for the star-struck but non knowledgeable, it seemed to this teenage boy that yes, his star teammates got on base a lot for him and thus gave him a ton of opportunities - but the guy produced in a whole lot of those opportunities, too, a fact that gets discounted somehow. This was the era of the pitcher, too, when barely skirting .300 got you a batting championship and 35 homers could mean a title. We look at Deron Johnson stats of 65-66-67 at smirk because in light of the stats of the past decade or so they look merely okay - but for the mid sixties the guy was actually an all-star hitter a level below the top guys but still in the better group of hitters. Johnson was Billy Butler before his time. All bat no glove. They are a dichotomy - very good and terrible depending on which half of their game you are talking about.

redsmetz
03-19-2012, 11:29 AM
Deron Johnson wasn't a terrible or mediocre hitter by any means. He was actually quite a good hitter. Had there been a DH in the 60s he would have been ideal for the job - simply put he was a terrible fielder. He couldn't play the outfield well, had a below average arm at third, was lousy at first. He was slow footed and clumsy - never could get the footwork needed of a corner infielder down pat. I'll tell you that I liked him - in an era before the RBI was proven a pretty worthless stat and "clutch" was discounted as a myth for the star-struck but non knowledgeable, it seemed to this teenage boy that yes, his star teammates got on base a lot for him and thus gave him a ton of opportunities - but the guy produced in a whole lot of those opportunities, too, a fact that gets discounted somehow. This was the era of the pitcher, too, when barely skirting .300 got you a batting championship and 35 homers could mean a title. We look at Deron Johnson stats of 65-66-67 at smirk because in light of the stats of the past decade or so they look merely okay - but for the mid sixties the guy was actually an all-star hitter a level below the top guys but still in the better group of hitters. Johnson was Billy Butler before his time. All bat no glove. They are a dichotomy - very good and terrible depending on which half of their game you are talking about.

I haven't gone back to look how I put forward Johnson here, but I think I hedged my bet in that I wasn't sure he fit the "mediocre" tag.

I've actually wondered about the "mediocre" tag and I understand it, but I've meant to comment that I think the wonder of baseball is that any given player, from time to time, may have an extraordinary season. It is, in fact, that proverbial "career year" often spoken of here. Of course, my mantra is you can't tell that "career year" until a career is generally over.

But there are times clearly when some player will have a year or two run that are great (or near great). And that's all she wrote, for whatever reason.

I often think of my sister-in-law's uncle, Tommy Umphlett, who had a fairly good rookie season with the Bosox in 1953 (taking over for Dom DiMaggio) and then was traded to the Senators with another player for Jackie Jensen. He only played two more years in the majors and then had a 12 year career in the minors. And that was it.