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Swan Songs: Best Final Seasons?

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  • Swan Songs: Best Final Seasons?

    Was trying to figure out what players finished their careers with a pretty decent season in the final year of their careers. I've got to say, as most of you can already guess, the pickings are very slim. Of course Koufax retired after a 1966 season that he won 27 games and a Cy Young, but his retirement was due to his arthritic elbow. And Clemente had a good fnal season, but of course was killed in a plane crash after the season. here's what I found to be some of the best:

    1960, Ted Williams, .645 Slg, .316ba, 29 hr 72 rbi
    1979, Lou Brock, .304ba, 405 AB [had .293 career]
    1928, Ty Cobb, .323 BA [43 points below career]
    1947, Hank Greenberg, 25 hr,74 rbi, 71 runs, .408obp
    1951, Joe DiMaggio, .263, 72runs, 71 rbi in only 415 ab's
    1993, George Brett, 19hr, 75rbi, 69 runs,.266 ba, 560ab, but all as DH

    I can't find squat for pitchers. I'm not sure what Clemens status is for 2006, but I'd imagine his 2005 would be the best final season for a pitcher, except for Koufax's 66 season.

    Can anybody else come up with some good final seasons? Just from looking at some careers, virtually all greats hang on at least one season more than they should.
    It Might Be? It Could Be?? It Is!

  • #2
    Will Clark 2000 - .319/.418/.546 in 507 PAs
    "The numbers are what brought me here; as it appears they brought you."
    - Danielle Rousseau

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    • #3
      not for the year but cap anson homered twice on his final day in the majors

      both in the first game of a doubleheader
      Last edited by Brian McKenna; 01-28-2006, 08:18 AM.

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      • #4
        ed delahanty was batting .333 when he died

        don't forget the others who died or otherwise forced to retire due to illness or injury

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        • #5
          Originally posted by mac195
          Will Clark 2000 - .319/.418/.546 in 507 PAs
          Remember it well. I was hoping Will would have played another season here.
          It Might Be? It Could Be?? It Is!

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          • #6
            Mickey Mantle, who was one of the best players in the league even during his incorrectly described bad period at the end of his career. Mantle's numbers are deceptive due to (1) the silliness of batting average, (2) the era and (3) comparision to the rest of his career.

            In 1968, Mantle had
            OBA .077 above the league average, which ranked 3rd in the AL
            OPS .123 above the league average, which ranked 8th in the AL
            RC/G 1.98 above the league average, which ranked 8th in the AL
            SLG .046 above the league average, which ranked 9th in the AL
            9 HR above the league average, which ranked 12th in the AL
            Creator, sabermetric baseball encyclopedia. Powerful and easy to use. Exclusive sorting options and personalized league average lines. Over 75 stats, both sabermetric and traditional. Subscription package available to update daily through the 2006 season.

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            • #7
              Bill Lange's wasn't too shabby. We're not counting players forced to retire because of illness, being banned, or dying, right? That makes it more fun, at least- to not count the Joe Jacksons. But the Thumper's still seems best to me- he was second in the league in batting by .004 to Runnels, and his final AB was a homer.
              "Here's a crazy thought I've always had: if they cut three fingers off each hand, I'd really be a great hitter because then I could level off better." Paul Waner (lifetime .333 hitter, 3,152 lifetime hits.

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              • #8
                More recently, Will Clark had a very nice final season before walking away. In 427 ABs combined between Baltimore and St. Louis he batted .319, 21, 70 with a .964 OPS and 145 OPS+ In just 151 ABs with St. Louis down the stretch, he hit .345, 12, 42, with a 1.081 OPS and 168 OPS+ That's pretty darn good.


                It's ashame he retired when he did. With McGwire having trouble staying on the field the next season, I think Clark would have slotted in nicely in St. Louis and developed a nice following there. I think he would have received the type of respect from St. Louis fans that he had not had since he was in San Franciso.

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                • #9
                  didn't the white sox have four 20-game winners in 1920 and then poof - half gone by the stoke of the judge's pen

                  sorry buzz had to stick it in

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                  • #10
                    though dave kingman batted but .210 in his final season, it was *only* 26 points lower than his career average. more impressive were his 35 homeruns.

                    kingman's final season does not measure up to teddy ballgame's, but 35 homeruns is 35 homeruns.
                    (most in a swan song season.)
                    "you don't have to burn books to destroy a culture. just get people to stop reading them." -ray bradbury

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                    • #11
                      Pitcherwise: Britt Burns won 18 in '85, then was gone. Injury?

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                      • #12
                        Sandy Koufax comes to mind

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                        • #13
                          Richie Ashburn was the Mets MVP in their inagural 1962 season, hit .306 with a .424 OBP and no doubt ran himself ragged covering the huge CF area in the Polo Grounds, as the mets pitching staff served up batting practice to the rest of the NL. Went to the Phils broadcast booth the next season.
                          It Might Be? It Could Be?? It Is!

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by 64Cards
                            Richie Ashburn was the Mets MVP in their inagural 1962 season, hit .306 with a .424 OBP and no doubt ran himself ragged covering the huge CF area in the Polo Grounds, as the mets pitching staff served up batting practice to the rest of the NL. Went to the Phils broadcast booth the next season.
                            good info.......

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                            • #15
                              Doerr's last in 1951: .289,13,73. Solid.

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