(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?