Fink: The greatest shortened seasons of all-time, 1900-09

From Devan Fink at Beyond the Box Score on January 11, 2018:

You probably won’t believe it, but this series started with the trade of Yangervis Solarte to the Blue Jays. After seeing this news, I began researching Blue Jays infielders and came to Troy Tulowitzki’s FanGraphs player page. In 2014, while he was still with the Rockies, Tulowitzki posted 5.3 fWAR in just 91 games, having his season cut short with a hip injury. Had “Tulo” finished the season, he may have won the MVP award.

This inspired me to dive into baseball history — where, I’ll admit, I’m not the best at recalling myself — and “remember” some of the best short seasons in Major League Baseball history. (You’ll have to wait a few weeks before you get to see where Tulowitzki’s 2014 season ranks among the players of his decade.)

Fair or not, I’m considering only seasons in which the player missed at least 40 percent of his team’s games. MLB began playing a 140-game schedule in 1900 before upping to 154 in 1904 (with an odd 140-game season in 1919) and again to today’s 162-game season in 1962. For 140-game era players, this allows them to play up to 84 games; 154-game era players can play up to 92 games; 162-game era players can play up to 97 games. Yes, 40 percent is a completely arbitrary number, but I wanted to allow players to have the time to accumulate enough fWAR to really have made an impact, all the while having them miss a significant amount of time. That’s how I settled on 40 percent, rather than 50 percent or even 60 percent.

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Originally published: January 11, 2018. Last Updated: January 11, 2018.