Singles are Important, Too

This article was written by Stanley F. Kuminski

This article was published in the 1974 Baseball Research Journal


So much emphasis has been placed on home runs in recent years that few fans know or care who collects the most singles.   That may change because players who hit a lot of singles can also wind up with batting titles.   In 1973, for example, both Pete Rose and Rod Carew led their respective leagues in one-base hits and in batting.    This is the first time this has happened since 1917 when singles leaders Edd Roush and Ty Cobb also led their leagues in batting.

In spite of the high hit totals which Rose usually compiles, he never before led in singles.   This does not mean he is a long ball hitter, but he usually gets his share of doubles and triples.   Carew also led in singles in 1972, a year he did not collect a solitary home run.

The assumption is made that players who lead in one-base hits do not hit many home runs.  This is generally true, although there were three cases in the early years of this century — when home runs were not so common –where players led in both singles and home runs.    In 1901 when Nap Lajoie dominated the new American League, he led in homers (14) and singles (155), as well as doubles (48).  In 1909,Ty Cobb, who also was known to dominate the AL, led in fourbaggers (9) and singles (164).   In 1916 in the NL, Dave Robertson of the Giants tied for the lead in homers with 12 and led in singles with 142.

In 1912, Cobb led in singles, doubles, and triples, the only time that was achieved in the AL.    In 1946, Stan Musial duplicated this feat in the NL.    In the full list of singles leaders, Musial is the only recognizable home run hitter, collecting 475 for his career.    Frank “Lefty” O’Doul had the best season combination while tying for leadership in singles with 181 in 1929, he was still able to hit 32 roundtrippers.

Nellie Fox led the most years in singles, topping the AL eight times.  He led in 1952 and then a record seven years in a row — 1954-60. Ty Cobb led six years and Roger Cramer five.  In the NL, four players led for four years – Clarence Beaumont, Lloyd Waner, Richie Ashburn, and Maury Wills.  The younger of the Waner brothers also collected the most singles in a season since 1900 – 198 in 1927, his rookie season. Enos Slaughter had the fewest for a leader – 127 in 1942.  Don Buford had the low AL mark with 129 in 1965.  Even the leaders in 1901-03 and 1918-19, when the seasons were considerably shorter, had higher totals.

Here are the annual leaders in singles in each league since 1900.

Year

American League Leader

 

 

National League Leader

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1900

(Not Major League)

 

 

Willie Keeler, Bkn.

179

1901

Nap Lajoie, Phil.

155

 

Jess Burkett, S.L.

180

1902

Fielder Jones, Chi.

148

 

Clar. Beaumont, Pitt.

l67

1903

Pat Dougherty, Bos.

161

 

Clar. Beaumont, Pitt.

166

1904

Willie Keeler, N.Y.

164

 

Clar. Beaumont, Pitt.

l58

1905

Willie Keeler, N.Y.

147

 

Mike Donlin, N.Y.

162

1906

Willie Keeler, N.Y.

166

 

Miller Huggins, Cin.

162

 

 

 

 

Wm. Shannon, NY-StL.

141

1907

Ty Cobb, Det.

163

 

Clar. Beaumont, Bos.

150

1908

Matt McIntyre, Det.

131

 

Mike Donlin, N.Y.

155

 

George Stone, StL.

131

 

 

 

1909

Ty Cobb, Det.

164

 

Eddie Grant, Phil.

147

1910

Nap Lajoie, Clev.

165

 

Eddie Grant, Phil.

134

1911

Ty Cobb, Det.

169

 

Jake Daubert, Bkn.

146

 

 

 

 

Roy Miller, Bos.

146

1912

Ty Cobb, Det.

167

 

Bill Sweeney, Bos.

159

1913

Eddie Collins, Phil.

145

 

Jake Daubert, Bkn.

152

1914

John Mclnnis, Phil.

160

 

Beals Becker, Phil.

128

1915

Ty Cobb, Det.

161

 

Larry Doyle, N.Y.

135

1916

Tris Speaker, Clev.

160

 

Dave Robertson, N.Y.

142

1917

Clyde Milan, Wash.

151

 

Benny Kauff, N.Y.

141

 

Ty Cobb, Det.

151

 

Edd Roush, Cm.

141

1918

George Burns, Phil.

141

 

Chas. Hollocher, Chi.

130

1919

Sam Rice, Wash.

144

 

Ivy Olson, Bkn.

140

1920

George Sisler, StL.

171

 

Milt Stock, StL.

170

1921

John Tobin, StL.

179

 

Carson Bigbee, Pitt.

161

1922

George Sisler, StL.

178

 

Carson Bigbee, Pitt.

166

1923

Chas. Jamieson, Cle.

172

 

Frank Frisch, N.Y.

169

1924

Chas. Jamieson, Cle.

168

 

Zack Wheat, Bkn.

149

1925

Sam Rice, Wash.

182

 

Milt Stock, Bkn.

164

1926

Sam Rice, Wash.

167

 

Eddie Brown,

160

1927

Earle Combs, N.Y.

166

 

Lloyd Waner, Pitt.

198

1928

Heinie Manush, St.L

161

 

Lloyd Waner, Pitt.

180

1929

Earle Combs, N.Y.

151

 

Lloyd Waner, Pitt.

181

 

 

 

 

Frank O’Doul, Phil.

181

1930

Sam Rice, Wash.

158

 

Bill Terry, N.Y.

177

1931

Oscar Melillo, StL.

142

 

Lloyd Waner, Pitt.

172

 

John Stone, Det.

142

 

 

 

1932

Heinie Manush, Wash.

145

 

Frank O’Doul, Bkn.

158

1933

Heinie Manush, Wash.

167

 

Chick Fullis, Phil.

162

1934

Roger Cramer, Phil.

158

 

Bill Terry, N.Y.

169

1935

Roger Cramer, Phil.

170

 

Woddy Jensen, Pitt.

160

1936

Rip Radcliff, Chi.

161

 

Joe Moore, N.Y.

160

1937

Buddy Lewis, Wash.

162

 

Paul Waner, Pitt.

178

1938

Mel Almada, Was-StL.

158

 

Frank McCormick, Cin.

160

1939

Roger Cramer, Bos.

147

 

John Hassett, Bos.

162

1940

Roger Cramer, Bos.

160

 

Burg. Whitehead, N.Y.

141

1941

Cecil Travis, Wash.

153

 

Stan Hack, Chi.

141

1942

John Pesky, Bos.

165

 

Enos Slaughter, StL.

127

1943

Roger Cramer, Det.

159

 

Mickey Witek, N.Y.

172

1944

Geo.  Stirnweiss, NY

146

 

Phil Cavarretta, Chi.

142

1945

Irving Hall, Phil.

139

 

Stan Hack, Chi.

155

1946

John Pesky, Bos.

159

 

Stan Musial, StL.

142

1947

John Pesky, Bos.

172

 

Tommy Holmes, Bos.

146

1948

Dale Mitchell, Cle.

162

 

Stan Rojek, Pitt.

150

1949

Dale Mitchell, Cle.

161

 

R. Schoendienst,StL.

160

1950

Phil Rizzuto, N.Y.

150

 

Ed Waitkus, Phil.

143

1951

George Kell, Det.

150

 

Rich Ashburn, Phil.

181

1952

Nellie Fox, Chi.

157

 

Bobby Adams, Cin.

145

1953

Harvey Kuenn, Det.

167

 

Rich Ashburn, Phil.

169

1954

Nellie Fox, Chi.

167

 

Don Mueller, N.Y.

165

1955

Nellie Fox, Chi.

157

 

Don Mueller, N.Y.

152

1956

Nellie Fox, Chi.

158

 

John Temple, Cm.

157

1957

Nellie Fox, Chi.

155

 

Rich Ashburn, Phil.

152

1958

Nellie Fox, Chi.

160

 

Rich Ashburn, Phil.

176

1959

Nellie Fox, Chi.

149

 

Don Blasingame, StL.

144

1960

Nellie Fox, Chi.

139

 

Dick Groat, Pitt.

154

1961

Bob Richardson, NY.

148

 

Vada Pinson, Cin.

150

 

 

 

 

Maury Wills, L.A.

150

1962

Bob Richardson, NY.

158

 

Maury Wills, L.A.

179

1963

Albie Pearson, L.A.

139

 

Curt Flood, StL.

152

1964

Bob Richardson, NY.

148

 

Curt Flood, StL.

178

1965

Don Buford, Chi.

129

 

Maury Wills, L.A.

165

1966

Luis Aparicio, Balt.

145

 

Sonny Jackson, Hou.

160

1967

Horace (    ~ke, N.Y

140

 

Maury Wills, Pitt.

162

1968

B. Campaneris, Oak.

139

 

Curt Flood, StL.

160

1969

Horace Clarke, N.Y.

146

 

Matty Alou, Pitt.

183

1970

Alex Johnson, Calif.

156

 

Matty Alou, Pitt.

171

1971

Cesar Tovar, Minn.

171

 

Ralph Garr, Atl.

180

1972

Rod Carew, Minn.

143

 

Lou Brock, StL.

156

1973

Rod Carew, Minn.

156

 

Pete Rose, Cin.

181

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