## Wednesday, July 22, 2015

### A Case For The 1967 American League Being The Best Season Ever

It was a close four team race for about the 2nd half of the season and two Hall of Famers on the two teams that played each other the last two games to decided the pennant both had outstanding Septembers.

This is from a couple items I posted to the SABR list:

Has anyone done a study of the best pennant races? Maybe you would take into account how many teams were in the race, how close the teams were to each other and for how long were they close. There could be some mathematical way of quantifying it. Not sure how exactly.

But in 1967, the AL had a close 4 team race and they were all in it for about the whole 2nd half. Here is what I see looking at Baseball Reference :

Red Sox: Last day more than 5 games out was July 14. After Aug. 31 they were never ahead or behind by more than 1 game

Tigers: Last day more than 5 games out was July 1. After Aug. 31 they were never ahead by more than 1 game or behind by more than 2.5 games

Twins: Last day more than 5 games out was July 1. After Aug. 31 they were never ahead or behind by more than 1 game

White Sox: Never were behind by more than 3 games. Their biggest lead of the season was 5.5 games and they only had that 4 times and the last one was July 1. From Sept. 15 to Sept. 24 they were never more than 2 games out.

With 3 games left, the White Sox were still in it (not mathematically eliminated). Tigers with 4 games and Twins and Red Sox with 2.

What makes this all even more amazing is what Harmon Killebrew and Carl Yastrzemski did in September (actually some Octobers games so I should say after Aug. 31).

Using the Baseball Reference Play Index, I called up the best Septembers ever based on sOPS+ (actually Sept/Oct). As far as I can tell, that is OPS adjusted for the league average and park effects.

The PA minimum was 90 and sOPS+ had to be at least 250. Both Yastrzemski (294, 5th best since 1914, I think that is when it starts) & Killebrew (250, 47th best) made the list.

There were three other years where two guys from the same league & year made the list but there was not much of a pennant race in those years (1923 AL, 1933 AL, 1946 AL).

After Aug. 31, Yaz batted .417 with a .504 OBP and a .760 SLG. He had 9 HRs and 26 RBIs in in 27 games. He grounded into just 1 DP.

After Aug. 31, Killebrew batted .333 with a .438 OBP and a .685 SLG. He had 10 HRs and 23 RBIs in 30 games. He grounded into just 2 DPs.

Given how close the pennant race was, that it went down to the last two games between the Red Sox and Twins and that two Hall of Famers hit so well, this has to be one of the greatest months or seasons ever.

Oh, yah, Yaz was 7 for 8 in those last 2 games with 6 RBIs, 1 HR and 1 2B. Killebrew was 4 for 6 with 3 BBs, 2 RBIs, 1 HR, 1 2B.