All this talk of defense and some of the other about Homer Baily got me thinking about who had the best seasons in allowing hits.

And when you look at it you have to break up the eras to get some context to each of the players seasons.

Therefore I broke up the eras in this way.

Code:
1876-1892 - Finding the Rules Era
1893-1900 - Syndicate Ball
1901-1919 - Dead Ball Era
1920-1941 - Ruth Era
1942-1945 - War Ball
1946-1960 - Gotham Era
1961-1968 - Expansion Wave 1
1969-1994 - Division Era
1995-2007 - Current

ERA vs. the league average
RSAA - Runs saved against average. It's the amount of runs that a pitcher saved vs. what an average pitcher would have allowed.



1876-1892

Code:
ERA     H/9   BR/9  SO/9  BB/9  SO/BB
3.32   9.18 11.82  3.59  2.51  1.43
Code:
SEASON
HITS/9 IP                     YEAR   H/9 IP   BB/9 IP   SO/9 IP     ERA     RSAA    
1    Tim Keefe                1880     6.09     1.46     3.69     1.52       22   
2    Guy Hecker               1882     6.49     0.43     2.86     1.39       13   
3    Tim Keefe                1888     6.55     1.89     6.90     1.09       35   
4    Charlie Sweeney          1884     6.59     0.77     6.16     1.31       66   
5    Adonis Terry             1888     6.69     3.09     6.37     1.03       24   
6    Silver King              1888     6.72     1.17     3.96     1.41      105   
7    Tim Keefe                1885     6.72     2.33     5.20     1.23       59   
8    Frank Knauss             1890     6.73     3.46     4.83     1.06       25   
9    Ed Seward                1888     6.73     2.20     4.72     1.05       53   
10   Tony Mullane             1892     6.77     3.87     3.33     0.69       26
1894-1900

Code:
ERA    H/9   BR/9  SO/9  BB/9  SO/BB
4.32   10.44 13.93  2.30  3.23  0.71
Code:
SEASON
HITS/9 IP                     YEAR   H/9 IP   BB/9 IP   SO/9 IP     ERA     RSAA    
1    Vic Willis               1899     7.28     3.07     3.15     1.35       57   
2    Kid Nichols              1898     7.33     1.97     3.20     1.47       66   
3    Rube Waddell             1900     7.59     2.37     5.61     1.32       30   
4    Vic Willis               1898     7.64     4.28     4.63     0.77       29   
5    Ted Lewis                1898     7.67     3.13     2.07     0.70       27   
6    Jim Hughes               1899     7.71     3.67     3.05     1.17       41   
7    Al Maul                  1898     7.77     1.84     1.16     1.50       41   
8    Doc McJames              1898     7.87     2.72     4.28     1.24       54   
9    Cy Seymour               1898     7.90     5.37     6.03     0.42        8   
10   Jim Hughes               1898     8.02     2.99     2.42     0.40       15
1901-1919

Code:
ERA    H/9   BR/9  SO/9  BB/9  SO/BB
2.88   8.46 11.53  3.68  2.77  1.33
Code:
SEASON
HITS/9 IP                     YEAR   H/9 IP   BB/9 IP   SO/9 IP     ERA     RSAA    
1    Ed Reulbach              1906     5.33     3.80     3.88     0.98       25   
2    Dutch Leonard            1914     5.56     2.40     7.04     1.73       41   
3    Carl Lundgren            1907     5.65     4.00     3.65     1.29       32   
4    Russ Ford                1910     5.83     2.10     6.28     0.87       36   
5    Ed Walsh                 1910     5.89     1.49     6.28     1.25       42   
6    Walter Johnson           1913     6.03     0.99     6.32     1.78       75   
7    Grover C Alexander       1915     6.06     1.53     5.77     1.52       69   
8    Stan Coveleski           1917     6.08     2.83     4.00     0.86       40   
9    Three Finger Brown       1908     6.17     1.41     3.54     0.88       33   
10   Jack Pfiester            1906     6.21     2.26     5.49     1.12       32

1920-1941

Code:
ERA    H/9   BR/9  SO/9  BB/9  SO/BB
4.17  9.84 13.23  3.16  3.21  0.98

Code:
SEASON
HITS/9 IP                     YEAR   H/9 IP   BB/9 IP   SO/9 IP     ERA     RSAA    
1    Johnny Vander Meer       1941     6.85     5.02     8.04     0.81       17   
2    Bob Feller               1939     6.88     4.30     7.45     1.77       51   
3    Bob Feller               1940     6.89     3.32     7.34     1.77       46   
4    Hal Schumacher           1933     6.92     2.92     3.34     1.18       29   
5    Dazzy Vance              1924     6.95     2.25     7.65     1.70       56   
6    Whit Wyatt               1941     6.97     2.56     5.50     1.29       44   
7    Bucky Walters            1939     7.05     3.08     3.87     1.63       58   
8    Johnny Vander Meer       1938     7.08     4.12     5.00     0.66       13   
9    Bucky Walters            1940     7.11     2.71     3.39     1.37       42   
10   Lefty Gomez              1934     7.12     3.06     5.04     2.17       57
1942-1945

Code:
ERA    H/9   BR/9  SO/9  BB/9  SO/BB
3.48   8.82 12.31  3.36  3.35  1.00

Code:
SEASON
HITS/9 IP                     YEAR   H/9 IP   BB/9 IP   SO/9 IP     ERA     RSAA    
1    Allie Reynolds           1943     6.33     4.93     6.83     0.31       -2   
2    Johnny Niggeling         1943     6.67     3.31     4.34     0.70       16   
3    Mort Cooper              1942     6.68     2.19     4.90     1.54       53   
4    Hal Newhouser            1942     6.70     5.58     5.04     1.21       33   
5    Hal Newhouser            1945     6.87     3.16     6.10     1.56       59   
6    Mickey Haefner           1943     6.87     3.27     3.55     1.01       21   
7    Whit Wyatt               1943     6.91     2.14     3.98     0.89       19   
8    Johnny Vander Meer       1942     6.93     3.76     6.86     0.88       23   
9    Spud Chandler            1943     7.01     1.92     4.77     1.66       41   
10   Steve Gromek             1944     7.06     3.09     5.07     0.87       21

1946-1960
Code:
ERA    H/9   BR/9  SO/9  BB/9  SO/BB
3.94   8.91 12.73  4.30  3.65  1.18
Code:
SEASON
HITS/9 IP                     YEAR   H/9 IP   BB/9 IP   SO/9 IP     ERA     RSAA    
1    Tommy Byrne              1949     5.74     8.22     5.92     0.48        9   
2    Herb Score               1956     5.86     4.66     9.51     1.63       42   
3    Bob Turley               1955     6.12     6.45     7.65     0.90       19   
4    Bob Turley               1957     6.14     4.35     7.77     1.08       14   
5    Herb Score               1955     6.26     6.11     9.71     1.11       30   
6    Spec Shea                1947     6.39     4.47     4.47     0.64        8   
7    Bob Turley               1954     6.49     6.60     6.74     0.26        3   
8    Sam Jones                1955     6.51     6.88     7.36     -.06       -1   
9    Bob Turley               1958     6.54     4.70     6.17     0.79       24   
10   Hal Newhouser            1946     6.60     3.01     8.45     1.57       60

1961-1968

Code:
ERA    H/9   BR/9  SO/9  BB/9  SO/BB
3.53   8.42 11.71  5.78  3.07  1.88
Code:
SEASON
HITS/9 IP                     YEAR   H/9 IP   BB/9 IP   SO/9 IP     ERA     RSAA    
1    Luis Tiant               1968     5.30     2.54     9.20     1.38       40   
2    Dave McNally             1968     5.77     1.81     6.66     1.03       32   
3    Sandy Koufax             1965     5.79     1.90    10.23     1.50       40   
4    Al Downing               1963     5.83     4.09     8.74     1.07       20   
5    Bob Gibson               1968     5.84     1.83     7.91     1.86       56   
6    Sam McDowell             1965     5.87     4.35    10.71     1.28       36   
7    Sam McDowell             1966     6.03     4.73    10.44     0.56       12   
8    Sam McDowell             1968     6.06     3.68     9.47     1.17       35   
9    Joe Horlen               1964     6.06     2.35     5.89     1.75       34   
10   Sandy Koufax             1963     6.19     1.68     8.86     1.41       40

1969-1994

I added 10 extra players here because Nolan Ryan dominated this category.

Code:
ERA    H/9   BR/9  SO/9  BB/9  SO/BB
3.82   8.80 12.30  5.40  3.30  1.64
Code:
SEASON
HITS/9 IP                     YEAR   H/9 IP   BB/9 IP   SO/9 IP     ERA     RSAA    
1    Nolan Ryan               1972     5.26     4.98    10.43     0.79       13   
2    Nolan Ryan               1991     5.31     3.75    10.56     1.19       21   
3    Sid Fernandez            1985     5.71     4.23     9.51     0.80       12   
4    Mike Scott               1986     5.95     2.35    10.00     1.50       47   
5    Mario Soto               1980     5.96     3.97     8.61     0.54       13   
6    Floyd Youmans            1986     5.96     4.85     8.30     0.19        2   
7    Nolan Ryan               1977     5.96     6.14    10.26     1.30       35   
8    Nolan Ryan               1974     5.98     5.46     9.93     0.73       16   
9    Nolan Ryan               1981     5.98     4.11     8.46     1.80       21   
10   Nolan Ryan               1986     6.02     4.15     9.81     0.39        8   
11   Vida Blue                1971     6.03     2.54     8.68     1.65       56   
12   Nolan Ryan               1990     6.04     3.26    10.24     0.48       12   
13   Andy Messersmith         1969     6.08     3.60     7.60     1.11       29   
14   Nolan Ryan               1989     6.09     3.69    11.32     0.70       21   
15   Catfish Hunter           1972     6.10     2.14     5.83     1.03       28   
16   Nolan Ryan               1976     6.11     5.79    10.35     0.17       -5   
17   Sid Fernandez            1988     6.11     3.37     9.10     0.42        0   
18   Don Sutton               1972     6.14     2.08     6.83     1.38       33   
19   Nolan Ryan               1983     6.14     4.63     8.39     0.66        6   
20   Ron Guidry               1978     6.15     2.37     8.16     2.04       58
1995-2007

Code:
ERA    H/9   BR/9  SO/9  BB/9  SO/BB
4.48   9.25 13.04  6.54  3.43  1.91
Code:
SEASON
HITS/9 IP                     YEAR   H/9 IP   BB/9 IP   SO/9 IP     ERA     RSAA    
1    Pedro Martinez           2000     5.31     1.33    11.78     3.18       77   
2    Hideo Nomo               1995     5.83     3.67    11.10     1.64       26   
3    Pedro Martinez           1997     5.89     2.50    11.37     2.31       65   
4    Chris Young              2007     6.14     3.75     8.69     1.32       15   
5    Johan Santana            2004     6.16     2.13    10.46     2.03       54   
6    Randy Johnson            1997     6.21     3.25    12.30     2.29       55   
7    Greg Maddux              1995     6.31     0.99     7.77     2.55       64   
8    Kerry Wood               1998     6.32     4.59    12.58     0.83       15   
9    Al Leiter                1996     6.39     4.97     8.36     1.30       24   
10   Roger Clemens            2005     6.43     2.64     7.88     2.36       53
Some things that leap out at me. The individuals walk rates in the 50's is horrible, the type of players that pop up most are power RH's and LH's known for their odd array of stuff. the oddest mix is probably the Deadball era, with spitters, emery balls, LH's and the standard RH power pitcher.