Who had the Best Season at Short?

Granted, Ray Oyler might have been the slickest guy with the glove, but we're looking for somebody who had the total package, hitting, fielding, team leadership, and did it all in one glorious season.
He only hit .281, and didn't get a homerun all year, but "Pixie Shortstop" Donnie Bush led the league in runs scored in 1917. Of course, it's easier to do when you got a guy like Cobb (.387) hitting behind you. Unfortunately the document trail on Donnie is rather thin. Most of our Dads wouldn't remember him, and even our grandads wouldn't.
Not to be too hard on a great Tiger like Billy Rogell, but it's interesting that he is in the Hall of Fame, and Alan Trammel isn't. Billy had one of his best seasons in 1934, hitting .296 in a league that was loaded with hitters and sluggers like Greenberg, Gehringer, Gehrig, and Ruth. (By my count, 25 guys hit .300 or better, and got more home runs than Rogell in this seven-team league.) I'm not taking anything away from Rogell, but clearly pitching was on the decline that year, and the Tigers won the pennant with 20-win seasons from Tommy Bridges and Schoolboy Rowe.
I imagine Rogell was a good influence in the dugout and locker room; Rogell went on to become a long-tenured city councilman in Detroit. (See a You Tube clip of Rogell firing the last first pitch at old Tiger Stadium at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_kKiPrE6_8A)
Billy, we love ya guy, but for my vote, I don't think your season in the sun can match Alan Trammel's 1987. Tram was on fire, hitting cleanup for the first time, and leading the Tigers to an eastern division flag. He hit .343, punched 28 long balls, and got 105 RBI's. Trams went to the All-Star game in 1987, earned a Silver Slugger award, and some say he should have been AL MVP (including most of us.)
In 2004 Carlos Guillen put in a fine season, with 20 HRs, 97 RBI's and hitting hitting .318, second only to Pudge. He made the All-Star team for his efforts. And now to end on a depressing note for my fellow classmates of 1970: did you know Carlos was born in 1975?

1 comment:

  1. I agree with your Trammell vote, Gregg. And you're right -- it's a shame that Tram isn't in the Hall of Fame. Bill Rogell, by the way, is NOT in the Hall. He might be a shoo-in for the Grumpy Old Men Hall of Fame though. I got to know him the last 10 years of his life (thanks to a story I researched and wrote on the 1935 Tigers), and he was pretty funny -- in a grumpy way. His greatest line was, "Now don't get me wrong..." and then he'd say something so direct and to the point (and usually politically incorrect) that there was no chance you'd misunderstand. For a few years I kicked around the idea of writing a book about him, then decided his years on the city council would be too time consuming (and boring) to research. I should have just stuck to baseball and his memories of some of the chracters he played with/against, like Ruth and Greenberg and Gabby Harnett (he hated that guy!). I had the perfect title: "Now Don't Get Me Wrong." Oh, well.