Darrell Wayne Evans
None (John Muir High School, Pasadena, CA)
1967, 7th Round, Kansas City Athletics
.248 Avg, 414 HR, 1354 RBI, .792 OPS, 119 OPS+, 1605 BB
2 time All-Star (1973, 1983)
12th all time in walks (1605)
42nd all time in HR (414)
1973: 1st in walks (124)
1974: 1st in walks (126)
1985: 1st in HR (40)
Best Tiger Season
1985 and 1987 were both monster seasons for Evans, but ’85 was the year I fell in love with him as a player. His 137 OPS+ that year was the third highest of his 21 year career. He hit a league leading 40 homers with 94 RBI, and only struck out 85 times in 594 plate appearances.
Evans finished 14th in the MVP voting that year and at the time was the oldest guy to ever hit 40 home runs.
Little Known Fact
Evans was actually drafted four other times before the Athletics signed him. First, it was the Cubs in the 13th round in 1965. In the January Secondary Draft of 1966, the Yankees drafted him in the 2nd round.
In June, he was drafted by the Tigers in the 5th round. In January, 1967, he was drafted by the Phillies in the 3rd round. And finally, the A’s took him in June of ’67 and signed him. Oddly enough, he would be drafted again by the Atlanta Braves in the 1968 Rule 5 Draft.
Reason For Being On The List
Evans is this high for me because he was the first OPS guy that I ever liked, before I knew what OPS was. In fact, Bill James once described Evans as the most underrated player in baseball history due to his defensive skill, power at the plate, and the amount of walks he drew.
He was the first guy in history to hit 40 homers in a season in both the AL and the NL. Only Darrell’s low .248 career batting average keeps him from being discussed as one of the game’s better all around power hitters.
When I think of Evans, I always think of him leading the pack running out of the dugout when the Tigers won the World Series in ’84.
What Happened To Him?
Evans left after the 1988 season for free agency, signing with his original MLB team, the Braves in December. He played his final 107 games in Atlanta in 1989 hitting .207 with 11 homers and 39 RBI.
Today, Evans is the manager and director of player personnel for the Victoria Seals of the Golden Baseball League.
Info from of baseball-reference.com and Wikipedia.
Pics via Photobucket.