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Most noticeable 'Down' Year

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  • Most noticeable 'Down' Year

    This is a question I just thought of that I've never seen asked before.

    What's the biggest 'off' year you know of? A year where you look at a player who was great and say "how the hell was he so bad that one year?"

    This leaves out any performances hurt by injuries or any other maladies. I'm just looking for bad years by great players that stick out.

    Any ideas?
    Now it is done. The story ends, and there is no way to tell it. The art of fiction is dead. Reality has strangled invention. Only the utterly impossible, the inexpressibly fantastic can ever be plausible again.

    -Red Smith, New York Herald Tribune, October 4th, 1951

  • #2
    Reggie Sanders, 2000, damndest thing I've ever seen.

    Mark McGwire, 1991. That was just... what?
    46 wins to match last year's total

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    • #3
      Christy Mathewson's 1906 season has to be at the top for pitchers (where his ERA went from 1.28 to 2.97 to 2.00).

      Rogers Hornsby's 1926 has got to be the gold standard for hitters. Rogers finished second in the NL in BA and SLG in 1927. Other than that, he led the National League in BA, OBP, SLG, OPS, every category, every year from 1920 to 1928... Except in 1926. That year, he finished out of the top 10 in every category except OBP, where he finished 10th.

      Roger's numbers, 1925-1926-1927:

      BA: .403, .317, .361
      OBP: .489, .388, .448
      SLG: .756, .463, .586
      R: 133, 96, 133
      HR: 39, 11, 26
      RBI: 143, 93, 125

      In fairness: Yes, he missed 21 games that year, but he had missed 16 the year before, and it didn't seem to bother him.
      "Simply put, the passion, interest and tradition surrounding baseball in New York is unmatched."

      Sean McAdam, ESPN.com

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      • #4
        Pedro Martinez's 2004, granted he had toe injuries but he still rebounded with an amazing 2005 despite playing with the same problem

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        • #5
          How about Steve Carlton losing 20 games one season removed from winning 27?
          1885 1886 1926 1931 1934 1942 1944 1946 1964 1967 1982 2006 2011

          1887 1888 1928 1930 1943 1968 1985 1987 2004 2013

          1996 2000 2001 2002 2005 2009 2012 2014 2015


          The Top 100 Pitchers In MLB History
          The Top 100 Position Players In MLB History

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          • #6
            Roger Clemens in '96.

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            • #7
              Gehrig in '35.....and Ruth in '25 ......Foxx in '37 were off-seasons compared to what they were capable of.
              "I was pitching one day when my glasses clouded up on me. I took them off to polish them. When I looked up to the plate, I saw Jimmie Foxx. The sight of him terrified me so much that I haven't been able to wear glasses since." - Left Gomez

              "(Lou) Gehrig never learned that a ballplayer couldn't be good every day." - Hank Gowdy

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              • #8
                I think the biggest amongst hitters has to be Hack Wilson from 1930 to 1931. He went from 191 rbi's to 61 with a coresponding drop in every thing else (OPS went down 398 points). He did miss 40+ game as compared to the prior year.
                Buck O'Neil: The Monarch of Baseball

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                • #9
                  HoF'ers
                  1988 Ryne Sandberg .264/.322/.419. Granted 2 seasons before that he put up a similar OPS, but in terms of conventional stats (batting average) it went way down. AFter 1988 he took a big step up and stayed there until his first retirement. Whenever I look at his statline I see a guy steadily improving then right at his prime he drops big time and then just picks himself up and keeps on climbing.

                  1978 Mike Schmidt .251/.364/.435 21 homers. Another player who in his prime stepped into a hole. Before that he hit 38 homers a year for 3 years in a row and 36 the year before then poof 21 homers

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                  • #10
                    A-Rod in '97 had a typical "sophmore slump"
                    My top 10 players:

                    1. Babe Ruth
                    2. Barry Bonds
                    3. Ty Cobb
                    4. Ted Williams
                    5. Willie Mays
                    6. Alex Rodriguez
                    7. Hank Aaron
                    8. Honus Wagner
                    9. Lou Gehrig
                    10. Mickey Mantle

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                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Myankee4life
                      Gehrig in '35.....and Ruth in '25 ......Foxx in '37 were off-seasons compared to what they were capable of.
                      Gehrig in 1935 had a line of .329/.466/.583. His OPS+ was 177 compared to a career 179. I don't think that's a 'down' year.

                      Ruth in '25 had a lot of off-the-field problems. He was suspended and in the hospital and stuff.

                      Foxx in '37 looks like a real down year...well, as down as A 128 OPS+ can be.
                      Now it is done. The story ends, and there is no way to tell it. The art of fiction is dead. Reality has strangled invention. Only the utterly impossible, the inexpressibly fantastic can ever be plausible again.

                      -Red Smith, New York Herald Tribune, October 4th, 1951

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Ted Williams, 1959. Only year he didn't hit .300.
                        I'm a Ramblin' Wreck from Georgia Tech and a Hell of an Engineer!

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                        • #13
                          Originally posted by sschirmer
                          Ted Williams, 1959. Only year he didn't hit .300.
                          That's easily explainable though - he was really old, and he had a pinched nerve in his neck.
                          Now it is done. The story ends, and there is no way to tell it. The art of fiction is dead. Reality has strangled invention. Only the utterly impossible, the inexpressibly fantastic can ever be plausible again.

                          -Red Smith, New York Herald Tribune, October 4th, 1951

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by Dodger Green
                            That's easily explainable though - he was really old, and he had a pinched nerve in his neck.
                            He was even OLDER in 1960, and still banged out .316 with 29 bombs.
                            I'm a Ramblin' Wreck from Georgia Tech and a Hell of an Engineer!

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                            • #15
                              Frank Thomas at the end of the 90's when he was still squarely in his prime had two shockingly mediocre (for him) seasons. I believe he was going through a messy divorce at the time which caused a big hurt to his performance.
                              My top 10 players:

                              1. Babe Ruth
                              2. Barry Bonds
                              3. Ty Cobb
                              4. Ted Williams
                              5. Willie Mays
                              6. Alex Rodriguez
                              7. Hank Aaron
                              8. Honus Wagner
                              9. Lou Gehrig
                              10. Mickey Mantle

                              Comment

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