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post #1 of 3 (permalink) Old 08-21-2013, 11:38 AM Thread Starter
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Most Dominating Offensive Seasons

Lets talk about the guys who have had the best single season performances as an offensive player. Many names can litter this thread: Ruth, Cobb, Wagner, Williams, Mays, Bonds, Pujols, Gehrig, Foxx, Henderson, Musial, Cabrera, Trout, etc etc etc. However, the guy I would like to start off with is LFer Tip O'Neill of the American Association St. Louis Browns (Cardinals franchise as it was then known) in 1887.

Tip O'Neill led the AA in many offensive categories, and became the only man that I know of to lead a major league in 2B, 3B, and HR in the same season. In 1887, O'Neill led the first place Browns (95-40) to their third of four straight World's Series (having won in 1885 and 1886).

Tip led the AA in runs (167), hits (225), 2B (52), 3B (19), HR (14), RBI (123), BA (.435), OBP (.490), SLG (.691), OPS (1.180), TB (357), and OPS+ (213) while playing in 123 of 135 games that year.

He also had 30 SB and a 50:20 BB:K ratio. Check that out, O'Neill had 19 triples and only 20 strikeouts! He also hit for the cycle twice in the same week! On April 30, Tip hit for the cycle (2 HR, 1 3B, 1 2B, 1 single) against Cleveland at Sportsman's Park in St. Louis. He then hit for the cycle again on May 7, against Louisville at home!

Here's a bit taken from John Snyder's Cardinals Journal on Tip O'Neill's fabulous 1887 season, on page 39:

O'Neill had one of the best seasons in Cardinal history in 1887. He had a batting average of .435 that still ranks as the second best in the major league record books. Hugh Duffy is number one with a .440 mark for Boston in the National League in 1894. In 1887, O'Neill also led the American Association in on-base percentage (.490), slugging percentage (.691), hits (225), doubles (52), triples (19), home runs (14), runs scored (167), and RBIs (123). O'Neill is the only individual in big-league history to lead any league in doubles, triples, and homers in the same season. Other outstanding hitters on the 1887 Cardinals were Charlie Comiskey (.335 and 139 runs), Arlie Latham (.316 and 163 runs), and Yank Robinson (.305).

In 1948, Stan Musial led the NL in every category O'Neill did, except HRs. He had 39 that year, missing the league lead by 1! But that is a post for another time!

Tip O'Neill led the AA in batting average in 1888 as well, at .335, a 100 point drop from his league leading total the year before! O'Neill played in parts of 10 seasons from 1883-1892) for New York (National League 1883), St. Louis (American Association 1884-1889, 1891), Chicago (Players League 1890) and Cincinnati (National League 1892).

For his career, he had a .326/.392/.458 line in 1052 G (4712 plate appearances) with 1385 hits, 879 runs, 222 doubles, 92 triples, 52 HRs, 757 RBI, at least 161 SB (no records kept on his first 3 seasons for SB), a 144 OPS+, 1947 TB, and 27.7 WAR.

So who had your favorite offensive seasons?

"It ain't braggin' if you can do it!" Dizzy Dean
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post #2 of 3 (permalink) Old 06-01-2015, 10:25 PM
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Originally Posted by Dizzy Dean 17 View Post
So who had your favorite offensive seasons?
Hi Dizzy- First, I share your appreciation for Musial. In fact, I think I appreciate him more than almost any die hard fan I know today.

Hardly anyone would know this, but Musial hit .435 over 180 games in 1947-48 and hit .469 over 104 games in 1947. Altogether, 259 games with Musial going 378 for 926. This comes out to a .408 BA.

I favor well roundedness over the Bonds Williams type seasons...not just HR/BB guys. Tend to go for fewer homers and walks over the guy with some homers, but also lots of doubles/triples (that latter depending on era/surface in large part). Also guys who stole bases and also had great base running stats aside from their SB numbers.

Killing you across the board, in other words.

-Trout's 2012- when they were still letting him run.

-Biggio 97 or 98.

-Bonds 92 or 93. Esp. 92 because it was pre expansion and before offense went nuts.

-Molitor 91 or 96.

-Eric Davis stole 130 bases in and hit 64 home runs in only two partial seasons in 86 and 87.

-Hank Aaron had 400 TB in 59' in an era and park where it was very much a major accomplishment. He also took the extra base an astounding 64% of the time that year, which is the % the fastest guys today can pull off for a full season.

-Mantle in 56' or 57'. Mantle's 57' is perhaps the most perfect post integration non steroid season ever put up.

-Joe D., 41'. Always one of the best base runners in baseball, even when he was old. The stats bear this out.

-Most of Lou Gehrig's seasons.

-Check out Charlie Gehringer in 1929.

In 1911 Ty Cobb led in: runs, hits, doubles, triples, rbi, SB, avg, slg, ops+

(I actually think his 1915 was greater, given that they were fighting tooth and nail till the end with the Red Sox for the Pennant, but either way).
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post #3 of 3 (permalink) Old 06-01-2015, 10:51 PM
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Dimaggio struck out 13 times in 622 times up in 1941, while leading the league in total bases. That is, frankly, impossible. Esp for a dead pull hitter at Old Yankee Stadium.

Ted Williams got on base 84 straight games from July 1 through September 27, 1949. The kicker is he was only intentionally walked 19 times in those 84 games.

Have to acknowledge Honus Wagner's epic 1908. Not post integration, but as dominant across the board as anyone has every been. And, he was the best defensive player in baseball. And, they went down to the last day of the season in a three way tie for the pennant. Still think they should have won; they beat Chicago that year 12-10 during the season overall.

I also forgot George Brett 1980. 22K's in 515 times up, 24 homers, .465/0.514/.810 line from May 1 through August 31st. And he was facing modern pitchers and great relief pitching, unlike the old timers, who regularly faced tired starters and second string starters a 4th, 5th, and 6th time through the lineup.

A big part of me feels strongly that hitters of the past 30-40 years SIMPLY CAN'T regularly put up old timer numbers because of how much better and more specialized the pitching has become, how much more athletic the fielders are, how much better the fields and gloves have become, and how much smaller the outfields have become, relative to the old cavernous stadiums of the pre 1960's breed of new ballparks.
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