Snowing Under the Competition

This article was written by L. Robert Davids

This article was published in 1972 Baseball Research Journal

In 1920 Babe Ruth startled the baseball world by hitting 54 home runs, while his nearest competitor in the AL, George Sisler, hit only 19. In 1962, young Willie Davis of he Dodgers stole 32 bases, normally enough to lead the league, but teammate Maury Wills stole 104 that season. Both Ruth and Wills outclassed their closest rivals by essentially a 3-1 margin, a domination that was almost embarrassing to the runners-up.

In 1971, Ron Hunt was hit by pitches a record 50 times. The season averages indicate that the number 2 player in that category in the NL was teammate Rusty Staub, who was hit only 9 times. This gave Hunt more than s 5-1 margin.

The prime examples of major league runaway races in the various batting departments since 1900 are shown below:


Year League Stat Leader   Runner-up  
1971 NL HBP Ron Hunt 50 Rusty Staub 9
1962 NL SB Maury Wills 104 Willie Davis 32
1920 AL HR Babe Ruth 54 Geo. Sisler 19
1946 NL 3B Stan Musial 20 Reese-Cavarretta 10
1904 NL 2B Hans Wagner 44 Bus Mertes 28
1946 NL Hits Stan Musial 228 Dixie Walker 184
1921 AL Runs Babe Ruth 177 John Tobin 132
1935 AL RBI H.Greenberg 170 Lou Gehrig 119
1922 NL TB Rog.Hornsby 450 Emil Meusel 314
1901 AL Bat. Nap.Lajoie .426 Mike Donlin .340
1921 AL Slug. Babe Ruth . .846 H. Heilmann .606


This article originally appeared in the 1972 “Baseball Research Journal.”