On Friday we took a look at the worst Tigers offensive seasons. Today we’ll take a look at some of the best.
I’ll use a similar methodology to the suckage index only this we’ll call the awesomeness index. What I did was look for the top OPS+ seasons where the player had a minimum of 450 plate appearances (I upped this from the 300 used in the suckage index. The calculation was simply:
It’s not at all scientific, and don’t mind the resulting values too much. This is was simply a way to rank the players combining success and playing time.
The top 10 awesomeness seasons follow:
The full spreadsheet is also available
Not surprisingly Ty Cobb dominates with 7 of the top 10 seasons and 12 of the top 21. Combined with Harry Heilman’s and Sam Crawford’s efforts, only 9 of the top 25 season came after 1930. And 4 of those 9 were Hammerin Hank Greenberg seasons which occurred from 1934-1940.
With the way things are balanced it makes Norm Cash’s 1961 all the more impressive – and out of the ordinary. That year Cash finished first in batting average, on base percentage, hits, walks, and second in slugging percentage. He also finished a rather distant 4th in the MVP voting (Maris was first and a very comparable Mantle season was 2nd). He drew 19 intentional walks and the rest of the team drew 20. But his season is probably best known for his admission of using a corked bat.
In the post-Kaline era only 2 seasons ranked in the top 50. Cecil Fielder’s 51 homer campaign in 1990 was good enough for 16th. Alan Trammell’s MVP-runner-up 1987 season placed 35th.
Fortunately, unlike the suckage list there were many repeat appearances on this list. Ty Cobb had 15 seasons ranking in the top 50 while Crawford and Greenberg each had 7. Heilmann followed with 6 and Kaline was next with 5.
The years with multiple players were 1907-09, 1911, 1913, 1917, 1919, 1921-22, 1925-26, and 1961. The 07-09 teams all finished first in the AL The 1961 team had Rocky Colavito who posted 45 homers and a OP+ of 157. Because they finished behind the Yankees it is easy to forget just how good that 101 win season was.