Second Sacker Season Sizzlers

(Alright, corny headline, but I couldn't help myself.)
This week we have something a little different; unlike some of our ballots, most of the nominees for the best season by a second baseman have been played recently (so you saw them.) Except for one of the very best.
In 1937 Charlie Gehringer "The Mechanical Man" took the batting title with a .371 average, got 96 RBIs, and scored 111 runs. He did hit for power, getting only 14 HR's, but that's why they had Greenberg behind him. It was the day of station-to-station baseball, (the league leader only got 35 stolen bases.) Get on, and let the big boys bring 'em around was the modus operandi.
If I recall my Dad's tales about him, he earned his nickname because of his almost "mechanical skills" in playing a ball hit to him. He led the fielding percentage for second sackers. Teammate Doc Cramer said "You wind him up on opening day, and forget him."
Sadly even though our boys had a pretty good year in '37 with Gehringer getting the batting title, Greenberg getting the RBI crown, the Tigers came in 13 games behind the Yankees. (Geez, I'm getting tired of writing that line.)
Gehringer won the MVP in 1937 despite some incredible All Star talent on the Yankees and other Tigers, and was elected to the Hall of Fame for his career achievements.
On to the modern era.
"Sweet Lou" Whitaker was similar to Gehringher in many respects, a quiet, talented man playing a long career only with the Tigers, that paired him with a great shortstop (Alan Trammel and Billy Rogell respectively) and both renowned a good bat and smooth glove work. He had and great year in 1983, hitting .320 and earning a Gold Glove and Silver Slugger award. We can all agree "Sweet Lou was a joy to watch in his day.
Poor Damion Easly, just like Rodney Dangerfield, could never get any respect. In 1998 he had an All-Star year, hitting 27 HR's and 100 RBI's with an average of .271. But by the end of 2008 he had the ignominious record among active players of playing in the most the games (1,706) without making the playoffs.
In 2007 All-Star Placido Polanco hit .341 average and had the lowest stikeout percentage in the major leagues. He earned a Gold Glove and set many records for his fielding, including 144 straight errorless games, and consecutive chances by a second baseman without an error.
Here's a trivia question: (don't look it up on-line) Who did the Tigers send to Philadelphia in exchange for Placido in 2005?


  1. Whitaker and Polanco had great years, but Gehringer is the only second baseman with a batting title and a Gold Glove to boot.

  2. GRRRRR - This is my second time typing this comment. I typed the first one without signing in so it got lost. grrrrrrrr.
    Anyhow -- starting with Polanco. If memory serves me right, we sent Urbina to the Phillies, just in time for Urbina to get arrested and put in jail. Did he get arrested for beating up his wife (Cabrera-style)?
    Charlie Genringer win hands down. Interesting how all the winners so far are old timers. Wish we could have seen them play. With expansion - baseball today is watered down somewhat for sure. And there are so many more distractions - life is certainly more on the fast lane. Sure there was Babe Ruth and his antics, but he was a rarity and not common place. Like you Gregg, my dad had countless stories about Charlie. He had his autograph on something or other, which I inherited -- wonder where I ever put it. Charlie Gehringer in a landslide.
    Thanks for all of your hard work, Gregg.

  3. You're right on the quiz, Urbina and Ramon Martinez (but I'm not sure about Urbina's domestic history.)
    But I disagree with you on the quality of baseball being played in two regards. First, the internationalization of baseball, and opening it up to African American and hispanic players has brought so much talent to the game, there is no way we can say we are being "cheated" compared to our Dad's. How fortunate are we to see guys like Pudge, Ichiro, and Placido Polanco (Dominican) just to name a few. Second, the conditioning and medical treatment of modern athletes is far superior to anything they used to have. The Babe sure had talent, but can you say he was in top condition? Sure, in the old days there were only about 300 major league players (12 teams, 25 players) but could it be that our attention is more diffuse on baseball and other sports in general?

  4. Urbina was charged w/ attempted murder. I think the case is still pending.

  5. No, the case is closed. He was convicted and is serving 20 years in prison. Must be a great prison team!!!