Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and the Best Hitting Tandems in Each Team's History
This is not a list of the two greatest hitters for each team. This is a list of the greatest individual seasons for two hitters on each team.
Listed by division, not ranked by greatness.
Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and the Best Hitting Tandems in Each Team's History
Baltimore Orioles: The Robinsons, 1966
1966 Baltimore Orioles, World Series champions
Brooks Robinson, 3B: .269, 23 HR, 100 RBI, 91 R
Frank Robinson, RF: .316, 49 HR, 122 RBI, 122 R
Meet the Robinsons. They were the catalysts of a team that also featured Boog Powell at first base and Hall of Famer Jim Palmer on the mound.
Frank won the MVP, Triple Crown and World Series MVP in 1966 as well.
New York Yankees: Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, 1927
1927 New York Yankees, World Series champions
Babe Ruth, RF: .356, 60 HR, 164 RBI, 158 R
Lou Gehrig, 1B: .373, 47 HR, 175 RBI, 149 R
Welcome to Murderer's Row. This team also featured Hall of Famers in center fielder Earle Combs, second baseman Tony Lazzeri, and pitchers Waite Hoyt and Herb Pennock.
At the time, Ruth's 60 homers were thought of as a record that would never be broken. And without performance enhancers, we may never know.
Lou Gehrig was the AL MVP.
Toronto Blue Jays: Carlos Delgado and Shawn Green, 1999
1999 Toronto Blue Jays, third in AL East
Carlos Delgado, 1B: .272, 44 HR, 134 RBI, 113 R
Shawn Green, RF: .309, 42 HR, 123 RBI
Interesting fact: 24-year-old Chris Carpenter and 22-year-old Roy Halladay made 42 combined starts for this team.
Delgado posted his career high with 44 home runs, and Shawn Green would hit more than 42 only once in his career.
Tampa Bay Rays: Evan Longoria and Carl Crawford, 2009
2009 Tampa Bay Rays, third in AL East
Carl Crawford, LF: .305, 15 HR, 60 SB, 96 R
Evan Longoria, 3B: .281, 33 HR, 113 RBI, 100 R
Well... Evan is still in town. One year after their miraculous World Series run, these two put together two of the best individual seasons in the team's history at a combined 50 years of age.
This was also the first full year for their current ace, David Price. Scouts salivated over this team's potential for multiple titles over the decade to come, if they could've just stayed together.
Boston Red Sox: Jimmie Foxx and Ted Williams, 1939
1939 Boston Red Sox, second in American League
Jimmie Foxx, 1B: .360, 35 HR, 105 RBI, 130 R
Ted Williams, OF: .327, 31 HR, 145 RBI, 131 R
Williams was just 20 years old and took baseball by storm. Foxx, meanwhile, had been doing it for over a decade and was fresh off his MVP of 1938.
As it turned out, Foxx had one more great year, 1940, and then came 1941 and Ted's pursuit of .400. It was a truly great time to be a Red Sox fan.
Cleveland Indians: Roberto Alomar and Manny Ramirez, 1999
1999 Cleveland Indians, AL Central champions
Roberto Alomar, 2B: .323, 24 HR, 120 RBI, 138 R, 37 SB
Manny Ramirez, OF: .333, 44 HR, 165 RBI, 131 R
Manny's 165 RBI were 20 more than he'd ever have in another season, and the 44 HR were just one shy of his career best. He finished third in MVP voting, which was his highest finish.
Alomar was a member of the 2011 Hall of Fame class. He won one of his 10 Gold Glove Awards in '99, as well as tying Ramirez for third in MVP voting.
Chicago White Sox: Shoeless Joe Jackson and Happy Felsch, 1920
1920 Chicago White Sox, second in American League
Shoeless Joe Jackson, OF: .382, 12 HR, 121 RBI, 105 R
Happy Felsch, OF: .338, 14 HR, 115 RBI, 88 R
Fun fact, both Jackson and Felsch were caught stealing more than they were successful in stolen-base attempts.
The 1920 season was Jackson's last year in the league, before being banned because of the Black Sox scandal. It was also the last season for Felsch, who was also banned.
Kansas City Royals, George Brett and Willie Wilson, 1980
1980 Kansas City Royals, American League champions
George Brett, 3B: .390, 24 HR, 118 RBI, 1.118 OPS
Willie Wilson, OF: .326, 15 triples, 79 SB, 133 R
No, Wilson is not the first name you'd think of in a greatest tandems list, but Wilson and Brett together scored 220 of the team's 809 runs that season.
He was the perfect partner in crime for Brett, who hit .469 with runners in scoring position in 1980.
Minnesota Twins: Justin Morneau and Joe Mauer, 2009
2009 Minnesota Twins, AL Central champions
Joe Mauer, C: .365, 28 HR, 96 RBI, 94 R, 1.031 OPS
Justin Morneau, 1B: .274, 30 HR, 100 RBI, 85 R
Joe Mauer's 2009 was one of the greatest offensive seasons by a catcher ever. He led the league in batting average, on-base and slugging percentage, and OPS. He got 27 of the 28 first-place votes for MVP.
Almost as if the power surge was just to show the doubters he could, Mauer hit nine in 2010 and has yet to hit his first this season.
Detroit Tigers: Hank Greenberg and Gee Walker, 1937
1937 Detroit Tigers, second in American League
Hank Greenberg, 1B: .337, 40 HR, 183 RBI, 137 R
Gee Walker, OF: .335, 18 HR, 113 RBI, 105 R
Also in this group could be second baseman Charlie Gehringer, who batted .371 and scored 133 runs, and a 36-year-old future Hall of Famer in Goose Goslin.
Greenberg went on to hit 58 home runs the following year, but the 183 RBI would be a career high for the Hall of Famer.
Texas Rangers: Rafael Palmeiro and Alex Rodriguez, 2002
2002 Texas Rangers, 4th in AL West
Alex Rodriguez, SS: .300, 57 HR, 142 RBI, 125 R
Rafael Palmeiro, 1B: .273, 43 HR, 105 RBI, 99 R
Fun fact, a 22-year-old Colby Lewis was 1-3 in four starts for the '02 Rangers. The 57 home runs are still a career high for A-Rod, who went on to win the 2003 AL MVP before leaving for New York in 2004.
The 2002 season was the beginning of the end for Palmeiro, who saw his home run totals drop each year from 2001 (47) all the way to 2005 (18) when he retired.
Anaheim Angels: Mo Vaughn and Troy Glaus, 2000
2000 Anaheim Angels, third in AL West
Mo Vaughn, 1B: .272, 36 HR, 117 RBI, 93 R
Troy Glaus, 3B: .284, 47 HR, 102 RBI, 1.008 OPS
This was a team that had five starters over 95 RBI on the season, including Vaughn, Glaus, Darin Erstad (100), Garrett Anderson (117) and Tim Salmon (97). Anderson also hit 35 home runs in '00.
It was a career high in home runs and batting average for Glaus, and the first of his four All-Star selections.
Oakland Athletics: Jose Canseco and Mark McGwire, 1987
1987 Oakland Athletics, third in AL West
Jose Canseco, OF: .257, 31 HR, 115 RBI
Mark McGwire, 1B: .289, 49 HR, 118 RBI, 97 R
The original Bash Brothers, before Canseco left and Jason Giambi stepped in, Canseco and McGwire didn't do much beyond hitting moonshot home runs.
McGwire won AL Rookie of the Year and posted a .618 slugging percentage. His 49 dingers led the league, and he was sixth in MVP voting.
Seattle Mariners: Alex Rodriguez and Ken Griffey Jr., 1998
1998 Seattle Mariners, third in AL West
Ken Griffey Jr, OF: .284, 56 HR, 146 RBI, 123 R
Alex Rodriguez, SS: .310, 42 HR, 124 RBI, 120 R
Two of the greatest hitters of our generation on one team; it was a good year. This Mariners team also featured Edgar Martinez and his line of .322/29/102.
Do you believe Jamie Moyer was already 35 years old in 1998? He led the starting rotation in wins (15), ERA (3.53) and WHIP (1.178).
Philadelphia Phillies: Ryan Howard and Chase Utley, 2006
2006 Philadelphia Phillies, second in NL East
Ryan Howard, 1B: .313, 58 HR, 149 RBI, 1.084 OPS
Chase Utley, 2B: .309, 32 HR, 102 RBI, 131 R
Howard won the MVP in 2006 and Utley was seventh in voting. For anyone who read the previous slide from 1998, Jamie Moyer won five of his eight starts for the Phillies in 2006.
No Phillies starter won more than 12 games, and only Brett Myers (12) and Ryan Madson (11) won more than nine among all Phillies pitchers.
Washington Nationals: Ryan Zimmerman and Adam Dunn, 2009
2009 Washington Nationals, fifth in NL East
Adam Dunn, 1B: .267, 38 HR, 105 RBI, 81 R
Ryan Zimmerman, 3B: .292, 33 HR, 106 RBI, 110 R
If you've seen Dunn hit, you know what raw power looks like.
People talk about consistency. Since 2004—that's seven seasons—Dunn has between 38-46 homers, 100-106 RBI (other than one year of 92), and 79-105 runs scored.
Florida Marlins: Carlos Delgado and Miguel Cabrera, 2005
2005 Florida Marlins, third in NL East
Carlos Delgado, 1B: .301, 33 HR, 115 RBI, .981 OPS
Miguel Cabrera, OF: .323, 33 HR, 116 RBI, .947 OPS
At 22 years old, Cabrera put out his second season over 30 home runs. He now has 33 or more home runs in seven of the last eight seasons, and over 100 RBI and .290-plus average in eight straight.
This was a rotation that was led by Dontrelle Willis' 22 wins and 2.63 ERA, and featured three other starters now excelling with other teams: AJ Burnett in New York, Josh Beckett in Boston, and Jason Vargas in Seattle.
Atlanta Braves: Joe Torre and Hank Aaron, 1966
1966 Atlanta Braves, fifth in National League
Hank Aaron, OF: .279, 44 HR, 127 RBI, 117 R
Joe Torre, C: .315, 36 HR, 101 RBI, .943 OPS
Aaron led the league in home runs and RBI, while Torre enjoyed his only season over 30 home runs. The '66 Braves also had 34-year-old future Hall of Famer Eddie Mathews and fellow HOF inductee Phil Niekro.
Felipe Alou added to the thundering offense with 31 home runs and a .327 batting average.
New York Mets: Mike Piazza and Edgardo Alfonzo, 2000
2000 New York Mets, National League Champions
Mike Piazza, C: .324, 38 HR, 113 RBI, 1.012 OPS
Edgardo Alfonso, 2B: .324, 25 HR, 94 RBI, 109 R
Fun fact: no one on the Mets stole 10 or more bases in 2000.
Armando Benitez led all relievers with 68 games finished and ended the year with 41 saves and 2.61 ERA.
Cincinnati Reds: Johnny Bench and Tony Perez, 1970
1970 Cincinnati Reds, National League champs
Johnny Bench, C: .293, 45 HR, 148 RBI, 97 R
Tony Perez, 3B: .317, 40 HR, 129 RBI, 107 R
Let me just add in Lee May at first base, with his 34 homers and 94 RBI, and Bobby Tolan and Pete Rose each hit .316 and combined to score 232 runs.
This team was simply stacked. Fun fact, Johnny Bench made $40,000 for the season. He won the NL MVP for the season.
The Big Red Machine appeared in four World Series in the 1970s.
Milwaukee Brewers: Ryan Braun and Prince Fielder, 2007
2007 Milwaukee Brewers, second in NL Central
Ryan Braun, OF: .324, 34 HR, 97 RBI, 15 SB, 1.004 OPS
Prince Fielder, 1B: .288, 50 HR, 119 RBI, 109 R, 1.013 OPS
Honestly, this might be the most impressive duo on this list for me because they were both 23 years old at the time.
Braun won the Rookie of the Year Award. Fielder was third in MVP voting.
No pitcher with 20-plus starts had an ERA under 3.80. No pitcher won more than 12 games for the Brew Crew. But man, they could hit.
JJ Hardy and Corey Hart combined for 50 homers, and Rickie Weeks added 16 homers and 25 steals.
Pittsburgh Pirates: Barry Bonds and Bobby Bonilla, 1990
1990 Pittsburgh Pirates, NL East champions
Barry Bonds, OF: .301, 33 HR, 114 RBI, 52 SB, 104 R
Bobby Bonilla, OF: .280, 32 HR, 120 RBI, 112 R
Look at the picture of Barry Bonds and tell me it doesn't remind you a little of Andrew McCutchen. That's McCutchen's upside, pre-roid Barry.
Don't look now, but the Pirates aren't horrible anymore. They haven't had a winning record since 1992. Not saying it's their year, but with Pedro Alvarez, Jose Tabata and Neil Walker along with McCutchen, the offense is pretty good.
Now they just need some pitchers.
Chicago Cubs: Rogers Hornsby and Hack Wilson, 1929
1929 Chicago Cubs, National League champions
Rogers Hornsby, 2B: .380, 39 HR, 149 RBI, 156 R, 1.139 OPS
Hack Wilson, OF: .345, 39 HR, 159 RBI, 135 R, 1.044 OPS
Riggs Stephenson could be added here, as he posted a .362 average and 1.006 OPS. It was a good time to be a Cubs fan, before the curse.
Miss the good old days of pitchers finishing what they start? Charlie Root, Guy Bush and Pat Malone combined for 59 wins, 69 complete games and 1,028 innings.
St. Louis Cardinals: Stan Musial and Enos Slaughter, 1949
1949 St. Louis Cardinals, second in National League
Stan Musial, OF: .338, 36 HR, 123 RBI, 128 R, 1.062 OPS
Enos Slaughter, OF: .336, 13 HR, 96 RBI, .929 OPS
Stan the Man is the most beloved Cardinal of all-time. Between 1946 and 1951, he was first or second in MVP voting every year except '47.
Howie Pollet won 20 games with a 2.77 ERA for the Cardinals in '49.
Houston Astros: Jeff Bagwell and Richard Hidalgo, 2000
2000 Houston Astros, fourth in NL Central
Jeff Bagwell, 1B: .310, 47 HR, 132 RBI, 152 R, 1.039 OPS
Richard Hidalgo, OF: .314, 44 HR, 122 RBI, 118 R, 1.028 OPS
This duo was more of a trio, with Moises Alou posting .355, 30 HR, 114 RBI, and a 1.039 OPS. The offense was never the issue.
Scott Elarton was the only pitcher to win more than eight games. No one who pitched in more than 10 games had an ERA under four.
Colorado Rockies: Larry Walker and Todd Helton, 1999
1999 Colorado Rockies, fifth in NL West
Larry Walker, OF: .379, 37 HR, 115 RBI, 108 R, 1.168 OPS
Todd Helton, 1B: .320, 35 HR, 113 RBI, 114 R
May as well add Vinny Castilla and Dante Bichette, who combined for 67 homers and 135 RBI, but this was another team done in by poor pitching.
Put it this way, they had four pitchers make 20-plus starts. Pedro Astacio was the only one with an ERA under six. And his ERA was over five. Their team ERA was 6.01.
Los Angeles Dodgers: Gary Sheffield and Eric Karros, 2000
2000 Los Angeles Dodgers, second in NL West
Eric Karros, 1B: .250, 31 HR. 106 RBI, 84 R
Gary Sheffield, OF: .325, 43 HR, 109 RBI, 105 R
In Sheffield's 509-home run career, he never hit more in a season than in 2000 with the Dodgers. The team was pleasantly surprised by 20 homers and 85 RBI from a 21-year-old Adrian Beltre, but Karros and Sheffield made runs happen in LA.
The 35-year-old Kevin Brown had a 2.58 ERA over 230 innings in 2000, and a 24-year-old power pitcher named Eric Gagne made 19 starts.
San Francisco Giants: WIllie McCovey and Willie Mays, 1963
1963 San Francisco Giants, third in National League
Willie McCovey, OF: .280, 44 HR, 102 RBI, 103 R
Willie Mays, OF: .314, 38 HR, 103 RBI, 115 R
How about that duo? What else needs to be said? Hall of Fame first baseman Orlando Cepeda added a line of .316/34/97.
The 25-year-old Juan Marichal won 25 games with a 2.41 ERA over 321.1 innings. There was also a 24-year-old Gaylord Perry just getting started.
San Diego Padres: Ryan Klesko and Phil Nevin, 2001
2001 San Diego Padres, fourth in NL West
Ryan Klesko, 1B: .286, 30 HR, 113 RBI, 105 R
Phil Nevin, 3B: .306, 41 HR, 126 RBI, 97 R
This is a team that had 42-year-old Rickey Henderson play 123 games, and 41-year-old Tony Gwynn play 71. Beyond Klesko and Nevin, the team didn't have much on offense.
There wasn't much to be excited about on the mound, either. Even Trevor Hoffman was off, with an uncharacteristic 3.43 ERA, with 43 saves. It was a rough year for the Padres.
Arizona Diamondbacks, Luis Gonzalez and Reggie Sanders, 2001
2001 Arizona Diamondbacks, World Series champions
Luis Gonzalez, OF: .325, 57 HR, 142 RBI, 128 R, 1.117 OPS
Reggie Sanders, OF: .263, 33 HR, 90 RBI, 84 R, 14 SB
This was a bit of a scrappy team. Guys like Mark Grace and Matt Williams "played the game right" as the old-timers would say.
It doesn't hurt to have Curt Schilling win 22 with a 2.98 ERA and Randy Johnson win 21 with a 2.49 ERA. That team was solid, and ultimately it was Luis Gonzalez at the plate to decide Game 7 of the World Series.