Tag Archives: #baseball

Baseball’s Top 10 Single-Season Performances

The history of baseball, and its players, are most commonly described by careers and decades. And it’s a shame that in baseball, and actually all sports, people don’t talk about single season performances. Because as incredible as careers are, single season domination might be even more intriguing. Here are baseball’s top 10 single season performances:

HM: Ty Cobb, 1911

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Before I start the top ten, I need to give out 2 Honorable Mentions. This is the first. Cobb in 1911 was pretty incredible. Despite the era, Cobb’s .420 average is mind-boggling. He also stole 83 bases, knocked in 127 runs, slugged .620, hit 24 triples, and had 248 hits–a record that stood for 90 years until Ichiro broke it in 2001. Cobb led the league in virtually every stat, and led his team to the World Series. This was Cobb’s peak, but not peak enough to crack the top ten.

HM: Charles Radbourn, 1884

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This is a bit of an outlier. I made a cut-off point of 1901, but I couldn’t leave Radbourn’s 1884 season out. Radbourn (and I understand how different the game was back then) finished with a 60-12 record. And that’s not the best part. In his 73 games started, he completed ALL 73, and had a 1.38 ERA. He pitched 678.2 innings, struck out 441 batters, and had a 19.1 WAR. Radbourn’s season was too good not to mention.

  1. Steve Carlton, 1972

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In 1972, the Phillies won 59 games. Steve Carlton won 27 of those games. That really captured Carlton’s 1972 performance. Carlton, surrounded by hopeless players, managed to scratch out a league-leading 27 wins. And it’s not like the other numbers weren’t impressive, he had a 1.97 ERA and threw 346 innings. But the fact that he was able to pitch so well despite his team’s poor play makes this even more incredible. (And you thought Jacob DeGrom carried the Mets last year.)

  1. Mickey Mantle, 1956

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In 1956, Mickey Mantle won the triple crown. He hit 52 homers, knocked in 130 runs, and hit .353. He also finished with a 11.3 WAR. Nobody else in the league came close. At all. The MVP vote was more than unanimous.

  1. Carl Yastrzemski, 1967

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In 1967, Yaz also won the triple crown. But, Yaz didn’t just finish first in average, RBIs, and Home Runs. He also was tops in runs, hits, OBP, SLG, OPS, OPS+, and total bases. You know, everything. But the one stat that really shows how dominant he was is his 12.5 WAR, the third best of all time. Can you guess who won MVP?

  1. Babe Ruth, 1923

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Don’t worry, this isn’t the Babe’s only appearance on this list. But, Babe’s 1923 is one of the most underrated performances of all time. The first part of the story is his WAR: a staggering 14.1, the highest by more than a whole point. Babe won his first MVP in 1923, and he deserved it. He hit a career best .393, knocked in 130 runs, and hit 41 home runs. He also had a .545 OBP, slugged .764, and had an OPS of 1.309. Ruth’s 1923 was one for the ages.

  1. Roger Hornsby, 1924

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Roger Hornsby’s numbers in 1924 were a bit underwhelming. He knocked in just 94 runs and hit just 25 homers. But, Hornsby did end up hitting .424, a best in the modern era, and got on base just over 50% of the time. But, to get real sense of how good he was, you have to understand how much better he was then everyone else. He finished with a 12.1 WAR, and was only matched that season by Babe Ruth. It is a crime Hornsby did not win an MVP

  1. Walter Johnson, 1913

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The bottom 5 were tough, but the top 5 were not. In my mind, these 5 seasons are clearly the best 5 of all time. And, I’ll start with Walter Johnson’s 1913. In 1913, Johnson won his first MVP. He won the pitching triple crown with 36 wins, a 1.14 ERA, and struck out 243 batters. He completed 29 games, and had 11 shutouts. Dominant. Oh, and he had a 15.1 WAR. Dominant.

  1. Pedro Martinez, 2000

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This is the most recent season on the list, and that’s important to remember. The fact that Pedro was able to put up these numbers in 2000 is just incredible. He finished 2000 with a 1.74 ERA in 29 starts, and an 18-6 record. He had an 11.7 WAR and struck out 284, giving him a K/BB of 284/32. That means for every 1 player Martinez walked, he struck out 9. The closest person to that mentioned so far is Johnson, with 6 Ks per walk. Pedro was not only unhittable, but he was unhittable in a time period of pure hitting. 

  1. Lou Gehrig, 1927

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When you think of the 1927 Yankees, you think of Babe Ruth and his 60 home runs. The fact of the matter is, Babe didn’t even have the best year on his team, let alone the whole league. The person who overtook him: Lou Gehrig. Gehrig was nothing short of incredible. The Iron Horse had just finished his first season and there was no stopping him. Gehrig punched in 173 runs, hit .373, and bludgeoned 47 homers. He also had a .765 SLG% and an OPS of 1.240. He was unstoppable. Ruth may have been the face of the 1927 Yankees, but Gehrig was the motor. There is a reason he, and not Ruth, went home with an MVP award.  

  1. Bob Gibson, 1968

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Bob Gibson had the best season for a pitcher of all time in 1968. First, the numbers. In the history of baseball, 36 pitchers have finished a season with an ERA less than 1.50. The top three are Tim Keefe(0.86), who pitched in 1880, Dutch Leonard(0.96), in 1914, and Mordecai Brown(1.04) in 1906. Then, in 4th place is Bob Gibson with a 1.12 ERA in 1968. The next 32 pitchers on the list all pitched before 1920. And it’s not like Gibson just barely got under the threshold. He got WAY under it. But that wasn’t it for his season. Gibson finished 22-9, threw 28 complete games, 13 shutouts, and struck out 268 batters. Between June 6th and July 30th Gibson pitched 11 games. In those games he pitched every single inning (that’s 99), won every start, and allowed 3, yes 3, earned runs. That is an ERA of 0.27. That is mind-blowing. That is ridiculous. The final, and most incredible thing about Gibson’s 1968 is this: In 1968, the National League ERA was 2.99. If you were to erase Gibson’s numbers, the National League ERA is 3.03.  Bob Gibson’s 1968 is the biggest outlier in baseball history

  1. Babe Ruth, 1921 and 1920

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So, who could top Bob Gibson’s brilliant 1968? What person could ever touch that? Babe Ruth, that’s who. Oh, and he did it twice. It was so hard to choose between the two seasons, I just mashed them together. Ruth’s 1920 and 1921 were revolutionary. In 1920, Ruth was a force of nature. He hit .376, had 54 home runs, and knocked in 135 RBIs. He slugged a mind-boggling .847, had an OBP of .532, and had an OPS of 1.379. He also had a WAR of 11.9. So how did he follow up his historical, record-setting performance? By doing it again, and maybe better. In 1921 Ruth slashed 59 home runs, 168 RBIs, and hit .378. He had a .512 OBP, .846 SLG, and and OPS of 1.359. His WAR was even better, posting a mark at 12.9, the second best by any position player ever (following himself of course). But Ruth’s ‘20 and ‘21 seasons were not great just because of the numbers, they were great because of how revolutionary they were. In 1920 and 21, Ruth broke baseball out of the deadball era. He started hitting for power rather than average (but it’s not like he slacked in that regard), and it changed the game forever. The reason Bob Gibson 1968 is so extraordinary is that Ruth made it that way. No one will come close.

 

Sources: Baseball Reference, SB Nation

 

Angels Game? Here are tips (and some criticism)

This stadium consistently delivers one of the highest attendance rates in the MLB – and we have no idea why. Yes, Mike Trout is worth seeing, but that’s just about it. The crowd isn’t into the game, the scoreboard is tiny, and the seats aren’t great.

Start here with this free guide that will help you get the most out of any baseball experience.

How to get there

Los Angeles traffic is always rough. The good news is that no one comes to the game on time or stays until the end. So there isn’t quite the massive surge you experience at other parks. We’d recommend parking in the huge Angels parking lot and doing your best to get a spot that is close to an exit out.

Where to sit

Outfield seats are tough, because you can’t see the scoreboard. First and third base seats are better, but they’re angled in a way that makes you shift sideways to watch the batter. We would recommend cheap seats behind home plate – preferably in the shade.

What to eat

The food here is an embarrassment. It’s nothing you won’t find at the food court in any mall. Get a hot dog and peanuts.

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Detroit Tigers Tips

This is a big, beautiful coliseum of a park that is a tribute to baseball. From the giant tiger statues at the entrance, to the field, to the view…everything has a sense of grandeur.

Tip #1: Download our guide.

How to get there

Parking isn’t tough in Detroit, and both Route 75 and 375 are right there. We would recommend finding a lot (or even street parking) a little further away from the park with easy entrance onto the highway. Plus, there are plenty of scalpers along your route, if you want to get tickets that way.

Where to sit

Would not recommend the lower deck seats. They’re angled a little weird and they don’t have the best crowd. The real fans are up in the higher levels. Upper deck behind home plate or on the third-base side give you a perfect view of the game and you can see the Detroit skyline right behind the park.

What to eat

Food here is nothing special, but the prices aren’t as outrageous as other park.

 

 

 

Cardinals Baseball — We can help you do it right.

Don’t wait! Download our free stadium guide!

The history and tradition of the Cardinals are ingrained into every detail of this stadium design. The addition of the new venue, Cardinal Nation, adds to the entertainment factor. The fans are the best: they watch the game, understand the game, cheer for an excellent play, and applaud an injured player, even on the opposing team.

How to get there

There is ample garage parking at the ballpark, but it is a zoo, traffic-wise. You can also take the light rail, but that can be a zoo getting on your train when the game is over. If you are spending the night in St. Louis, you can’t beat staying at one of the nearby hotels and walking to the ballpark.

Where to sit

Most seats are terrific. But if you sit on the first base side or behind home plate, you get a view of the arch over the field.

What to eat

Food is fine, but unimaginative. And prepare to miss the action when you go get food.

 

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(Photo courtesy of our Senior Correspondents.)

Twins Game Guide

This stadium is totally different from any other park. The stone walls and the skyline make this a really unique experience. It’s worth spending some time wandering around the park a little between innings (and there’s a decent chance you can “upgrade” seats as the game goes on).

How to get there

Target Field is truly in downtown Minneapolis, so there are plenty of parking options nearby. If you’re in town overnight, it’s pretty easy to either walk to the park or get a hotel shuttle.

Where to sit

There aren’t any bad seats in the park – it’s well designed for watching baseball. We’d recommend behind home plate or third base side. That way you can see the scoreboard, see the downtown skyline, and see the old school neon Twins sign in the outfield.

What to eat

There’s a fun range of foods to try here – everything from Indian to gourmet burgers. The polish sausages and cheese curds are a local treat, so maybe get that. It’s worth taking your time and exploring the options here.

Beyond that…dress warm and download our stadium guide!

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SF Giants game tips and tricks

This is a stunning park. McCovey Cove is right there and you can see the Bay Bridge over left field. It’s easy to get around inside and every seat feels super close, so the crowd and players have a sense of intimacy unlike any other park. It has a mixed crowd of really fun fans and rich tech people who don’t know baseball.

How to get there

Walk. You’re crazy if you try and drive.

Where to sit

Three preferred options. 1) Left field bleachers are incredibly close to the action and they’re pretty cheap. But you can’t see the scoreboard. 2) Field level, third base side and you are right near where the opposing pitcher warms up – lots of good-natured heckling. 3) Splurge and get K Zone tickets (Section AR151, Row 1) and you can flip over giant Ks when Giants pitchers get strikeouts.

Batting practice

Lots of bleacher space, good chance at getting a ball. Except…there is a whole legion of loser adults trying to get balls during BP.

What to eat

Gilroys Garlic Fries are a must. Then follow up with a Ghirardelli sundae. The food here is really good. So is the beer.

 

 

Tampa Bay Rays – Here are some tips

This is the worst ball park on the list – by a lot. It’s worse than most minor league parks. The fake turf looks worn and awful. Everything echoes weirdly in a way that makes the place feel extra empty. Plus this team has almost no history to be excited about.

First tip: Download this guide for free!

How to get there

There’s plenty of parking nearby — although getting there is a bit of a slog.

Where to sit

Sit on the lower decks just about anywhere and you’ll be really close to the field. Almost shockingly close. And because there’s almost no one there, you can move around at will and spread out.

What to eat

Food here is nothing special, but you literally have to go underground into a tunnel to get to it.

Gaze in wonder at this subpar stadium:

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