Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Myers-McCovey Connection

Since Wil Myers was named American League Rookie of the Year on Monday, several writers have mentioned that Myers was the first position player to win the award while playing in fewer than 100 games.

That didn't sound right to me, and after some investigation I figured out why. Myers was the first AMERICAN LEAGUE player to win the award and appear in fewer than 100 games, and even that is barely true. 1994 Rookie of the Year Bob Hamelin logged 101 games during the strike-shortened campaign.

My research revealed that not one, but two National League position players have won the award despite playing fewer than 100 games. Most recently, there was Bob Horner in 1978. Horner smashed 23 home runs and knocked in 63 runs in just 89 games, an impressive power barrage that helped him surpass Ozzie Smith in the voting.

The one I was thinking of, though, was Willie McCovey, who won the 1959 trophy despite playing only 52 games--barely a third of a season. But Stretch was so ridiculously productive in that short time, hitting .354/.429/.656 with 13 home runs, that the writers had to recognize his awesomeness. McCovey rewarded them by putting together a Hall of Fame career in the two decades that followed, proving that his two month stretch of dominance was no fluke.

Something tells me Myers isn't a fluke either. Like McCovey, he's probably destined for Cooperstown.

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