There are times when great seasons by some really good ballplayers truly get overlooked. It occurs when a more well-known player, usually a Hall of Fame-type player has an even better season, one that will live in the minds and memories of fans forever. Take 2012. Edwin Encarnacion of the Toronto Blue Jays had a monster season hitting 42 home runs with 110 RBI’s and a .280 batting average. However, 2012 will also be known as the season in which Miguel Cabrera of the Detroit Tigers hit for the Triple Crown, a legendary accomplishment achieved only 13 other times since 1900. Here are some other outstanding players who had Hall of Fame type seasons that are barely a footnote in baseball history.
Cecil Cooper (1980) Coop was one of the premier first baseman of his day. He drove in over 100 runs four times and won two Gold Gloves. I could give him another post for being so underrated which probably could be attributed to his best years came with the Milwaukee Brewers. His best season was 1980 when he batted .352 with 25 home runs and an American League-leading 122 RBI’s. Coop also led the AL in total bases with 633. Unfortunately, 1980 was the year George Brett made his run at .400, falling just short at .390 as he led the Kansas City Royals to the World Series. Also pushing Cooper’s season aside was the fact the Philadelphia Phillies won the World Series, the first title in franchise history which stretches back to 1883 when they were known as the Quakers.
John Tudor (1985) The left-handed Tudor won 117 games over 12 Major League seasons compiling a 3.12 ERA. Without a doubt, his best year was 1985 with the St. Louis Cardinals when he won 21 games with a miniscule 1.93 ERA in 275 innings pitched. He registered 14 complete games and led the National League in shutouts with 10. However, that same year Dwight Gooden had a season for the ages, going 24-4 with a 1.53 ERA and 268 strikeouts while pitching his second season for the New York Mets. Also, when Cardinals fans think of 1985 their thoughts center around blowing a 3 to 1 lead in the World Series to the Royals which was highlighted by the missed call of umpire Don Denkinger in Game 6.
Greg Vaughn (1998) The power hitting outfielder hit 355 home runs over a 17 year career. He was a four-time All Star and had two Top 5 finishes for the Most Valuable Player award. One of those MVP-type years was 1998 with the San Diego Padres. He blasted 50 home runs and drove in 119 while batting .272. Vaughn even threw in 11 stolen bases as he led the Padres to their second ever World Series appearance. Too bad for Vaughn that most people know 1998 as the great home run chase between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa. Also not helping matters particularly for San Diego fans is the team getting swept in the Fall Classic by the record-setting New York Yankees.
Merry Christmas to all and thanks for reading!
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