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