Still using the wayback machine to compare past ROY winners to Sir Albert Pujols, and today we’ve made our way back to the 1960’s. Clearly, the farther back we go, the more hallowed some of these names become, as they’ve had time to become legendary and adorn plaques on the wall at Cooperstown (are they on the wall? I’ve actually never been there…)
And then there’s the sad story of Ken Hubbs. The Cubs’ second baseman was able to win a Gold Glove as a rookie, and paired his sterling defensive talent with a decent average and 90 runs scored to take the 1962 rookie of the year trophy. He had a slightly less impressive offensive season in ’63. Then, in 1964, in an attempt to get over his fear of flying, Hubbs decided to get his pilot’s license. A few days after earning his license, he celebrated by flying his plane to Utah to visit friends. The return flight only lasted five minutes, and the plane went down in the snow and ice of Provo. Who knows what could have been?
There’s a story behind each of these guys, but for now, let’s just look at the raw numbers.
|Albert Pujols||Saint Louis Cardinals||2001||1000|
|Tony Oliva||Minnesota Twins||1964||964|
|Dick Allen||Philadelphia Phillies||1964||958|
|Billy Williams||Chicago Cubs||1961||865|
|Tom Tresh||New York Yankees||1962||854|
|Tommie Agee||Chicago White Sox||1966||847|
|Curt Blefary||Baltimore Orioles||1965||833|
|Johnny Bench||Cincinnati Reds||1968||831|
|Frank Howard||Los Angeles Dodgers||1960||831|
|Rod Carew||Minnesota Twins||1967||826|
|Lou Piniella||Kansas City Royals||1969||818|
|Ron Hansen||Baltimore Orioles||1960||816|
|Tommy Helms||Cincinnati Reds||1966||803|
|Pete Rose||Cincinnati Reds||1963||795|
|Ted Sizemore||Los Angeles Dodgers||1969||771|
|Ken Hubbs||Chicago Cubs||1962||768|
|Jim Lefebvre||Los Angeles Dodgers||1965||767|
As I was typing in Tony Oliva’s stats, I won’t lie – I started to actually believe that someone might be cracking the Pujols barrier. He came really, really close. The thing that seems to derail the comparison every time is the fact that Pujols had over 100 runs scored and batted in. Most competitors had one or the other, but nobody has had both. Still, pretty amazing.
Next time up, I’ll probably finish this off by looking at the 50’s and tail end of the 40’s, which is as far back as the MLB website goes with the award. They start with Jack Robinson (who the award is named for), and so will I. After that, I’ll unveil the top rookie hitters historical leaderboard, with all of the 900 point-and-above contenders lined up for all to see.