In keeping with yesterday’s theme, here’s another historical rarity in baseball: players who posted at least a .500 slugging percentage while qualifying for a batting title their final season.
Just as pitchers generally keep getting work if they have anything left in their arms, batters can expect to remain in the majors if they can still hit for power.
Here are the six players since 1871 who, for various reasons I’ll detail below, defied historical trends and left the majors after slugging at least .500 their final season:
|1||Shoeless Joe Jackson||.589||1920||32||146||649||105||218||42||20||12||121||.382||.444|
It’s probably worth noting the reasons that each player’s career ended:
- Felsch and Jackson were among the eight members of the Chicago White Sox banned for throwing the 1919 World Series. The White Sox really got screwed on this on this one. Felsch and Jackson are also two of the three players since 1920, along with Albert Belle, to have at least 100 RBI their final season
- Orr and Puckett retired due to injuries– a stroke for Orr and glaucoma for Puckett
- Arlett had a one-season career in the majors, possibly due to fielding issues; Bill James, among others, had written of Arlett as the Babe Ruth of the minors
- Will Clark, after a triumphant final season where he helped spur a playoff run for the St. Louis Cardinals, retired to spend more time with his autistic son