Darrell vs. Dwight: Who Was the Better Evans?
Growing up, I was always a Tigers fan. The 1984 World Series title was my indoctrination to baseball. I would pretend to be Alan Trammell, Lou Whitaker, Kirk Gibson, Chet Lemon, and Lance Parrish were all heroes.
An underappreciated member of the Tigers in the mid-1980s was Darrell Evans. A man who played with Hank Aaron, Evans was the first player to hit 40 or more home runs in both the National and American Leagues. In 1973, he, Aaron, and Davey Johnson each hit at least 40.
Darrell was able to collect 40 home runs in 1985, leading the American lead in that category at the ripe age of 38.
By the 1986 World Series there was no doubt that I was in love with baseball. The Red Sox were one of the teams I liked. In part because they were the Tigers' opponent in the first game I saw live, in 1985 at Tiger Stadium.
I can't say that Dwight Evans ever caught my eye other than his unusual crouched batting stance. My neighbor, Johnny DeVol and I often played one on one baseball, alternating between who got to be the Tigers. The Red Sox tended to be the consolation prize, and we would try to imitate each batter to perfection.
All of these recollections came up recently when a friend and I were debating same name greatness. Hanley Ramirez or Manny Ramirez? Joe Jackson or Reggie Jackson? Darrell Evans or Dwight Evans?
In comparing the two, it really is a close call. Darrell played in 81 more career games, depositing 29 additional balls over the fence (414 to 385). Dwight had a better batting average (.272) and OBP (.370) compared with Darrell's .248 and .361.
Darrell lead the league in walks twice (1973 and 1974) and totalled 1605 for his career. Dwight lead the league in walks three times (1981, 1985, 1987), but only had 1391 in his career.
Dwight had the better glove, winning eight gold gloves. Although Darrell had the edge in versatility, playing third, first, and some outfield during his tenure.
Darrell is the owner of a World Series ring. Dwight played for Boston pre-2004.
In the end, if you have to pick one Evans, Dwight probably has the better overall career numbers and was the better run-producer.
Of course, neither is a member of the Hall of Fame. The only Evans in Cooperstown is Bill Evans, an umpire inducted in 1973.
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