Due to reader response, the annotated list continues with 21st through 31st best seasons of all time, featuring Mike Piazza, Ernie Banks, and more third basemen of the 1970s.
Our collection of BP-flavored single-season WARP scores currently goes back to 1950. Now that we’ve added fielding runs to the sortable choices, you can easily see the combination of offense and defense that made the top players during this period so valuable, and in some cases dragged them down from even higher perches.
On Monday, I used the newly revised list to take a look at the top 20 seasons of the last 60 years. Due to reader enthusiasm and the fact that I find this kind of thing to be tremendous fun, I’ve expanded the scope to include the top 50, continuing today with the player-seasons that rank 21 through 31.
21. Frank Robinson, OF, 1966: 11.0
Robinson, newly arrived with the Baltimore Orioles after the Reds called him “an old 30,” won the triple crown, joining Mickey Mantle ’56 and Carl Yastrzemski ’67 in the top 50. He picked up a unanimous MVP award, Given how much grief the voters have deservedly taken over the years, it’s reassuring to see how many of these great seasons have won. Of the top 11, the voters rewarded all but three, and one of those was Sammy Sosa's ’01, who the voters passed over in favor of Barry Bonds' ’01, which was even better. Here are the other occasions to this point in the rankings where the voters failed to reward one of the 20 best seasons in history:
The Indians' special adviser reflects on nearly six decades in professional baseball.
Few people have experienced as much in the game of baseball as Johnny Goryl. Now 77, the personable Cumberland, R.I., native signed his first professional contract nearly 60 years ago and has worn a uniform ever since. An infielder with the Cubs and Twins from 1957-64, he has spent the last five decades coaching and managing at both the minor- and major-league levels and is currently serving as a special advisor in player development for the Indians. Goryl sat down with Baseball Prospectus to talk about his long career, including time spent around Ernie Banks, Harmon Killebrew and Norm Cash, and why you didn't want to mess with Bob Gibson.
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With three shopping days left until Christmas, Jim rises above the hustle and bustle of this holiday season to discuss what's really important--the greatest seasons of all time.
For your holiday consideration, here are the best WARP3 figures ever posted. In the name of contrived drama, we're listing them with the very best saved for last. In the name of diversity, we are listing the 10 players who have posted the highest figures, not just the 10 highest figures. By that we mean, the number of players represented would be a lot shorter if we went strictly by highest figures in that a few of them would make the top 10 more than once.
The week ends with a New New York vs. Old New York matchup, a look at the AL MVP race that includes pitchers, and a new contest.
Just what the Dodgers needed at this juncture: a collision with the most lucid team in the National League. Even in cruise mode, the Mets are pushing all comers to the side. They've won 16 of their last 20 and are getting outstanding starting pitching from nearly every manjack to whom they give the ball--and there have been a lot of them. Even when Steve Trachsel starts, they still manage to win.
It's been a couple of weeks since the 30th anniversary of Hank Aaron's historic 715th home run and the accompanying tributes, but Barry Bonds' exploits tend to keep the top of the all-time chart in the news. With homers in seven straight games and counting at this writing, Bonds has blown past Willie Mays at number three like the Say Hey Kid was standing still, which--
Baseball Prospectus' Dayn Perry penned an affectionate tribute to Aaron last week. In reviewing Hammerin' Hank's history, he notes that Aaron's superficially declining stats in 1968 (the Year of the Pitcher, not coincidentally) led him to consider retirement, but that historian Lee Allen reminded him of the milestones which lay ahead. Two years later, Aaron became the first black player to cross the 3,000 hit threshold, two months ahead of Mays. By then he was chasing 600 homers and climbing into some rarefied air among the top power hitters of all time.
Aaron produced plenty of late-career homer heroics after 1968. From ages 35 (1969) through 39, he smacked 203 dingers, and he added another 42 in his 40s, meaning that nearly a third of his homers (32.4 percent) came after age 35. The only batters other than Aaron to top 200 homers after 35 are Bonds and Rafael Palmeiro.