Sunday, March 2, 2014

HALL OF FAME LEADERS XIII: 1974 R.B.I.'s LEADERS

Next up on my "Hall of Fame" league leader card series is the 1974 Runs Batted In card (#203) featuring two of THE power hitters of the decade: Reggie Jackson and Willie Stargell.
First up the card:


In a bit of a surprise, 1973 was the only time these future Hall members would lead their leagues in R.B.I.'s.
For Reggie, his 117 ribbies paced the American League, contributing to his only Most Valuable Player award that season. It was also one off of his career high, as he drove in 118 in 1969 when he slammed 47 homers in his first big year in the Majors.
Even though the late 1960's and 1970's were a bit of an offensive down-time for baseball, it's still surprising to remind yourself that Reggie's high in ribbies is so low. Then again, he also lead the league in homers in '73 with 32, his only outright home run title during his career. In a bit of an odd coincidence, his other three home run titles were all shared, and all with a Milwaukee Brewer player: 1975- George Scott; 1980- Ben Oglivie and 1982- Gorman Thomas.
Go figure.
For Stargell, 1973 was arguably the finest offensive year of his career. In addition to his league leading 119 runs batted in, he slammed 44 homers and also lead the league in doubles with 43. His .646 slugging percentage also lead the league, and he hit just a shade under .300, finishing up with a .299 B.A.
It would also mark the last time Stargell would drive in 100 or more runs in a season, even though he'd play for another nine years before retiring after the 1982 season.
1973 would also be the third year in a row where he'd finish in the top-3 in Most Valuable Player voting, ending up second behind winner Pete Rose. In 1971 he finished second behind Joe Torre, while in 1972 he finished third behind Johnny Bench and Billy Williams.
Next up on this thread we move on to 1975 and take a look at the strikeout leader card, featuring two of the all-time best: Nolan Ryan and Steve Carlton.

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