The Youngest Lineup Ever

If asked to name a team with a young starting lineup, you might think of last year’s Royals (with 2 first-year players, and no regulars over age 27); or one of the famous “fire-sale” remnants like the 1999 Marlins or 1917 Athletics (neither had a single PA by a nonpitcher who had seen his 30th birthday); or the 1950 Phillies‘ “Whiz Kids”; or maybe the ’78 Tigers, breaking in Alan Trammell (20), Lou Whitaker (21) and Lance Parrish (22) alongside veterans Jason Thompson and Steve Kemp (both 23).

But while there’s no official measure of lineup age, the 1973 Cleveland Indians get my vote for Youngest Lineup Ever. Here are their 12 regulars (300+ PAs), by age:

Pos  ▴ Age G PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI SB CS BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
3B Buddy Bell 21 156 689 631 86 169 23 7 14 59 7 15 49 47 .268 .325 .393 .718 100
LF Charlie Spikes 22 140 561 506 68 120 12 3 23 73 5 3 45 103 .237 .303 .409 .712 97
2B Jack Brohamer* 23 102 340 300 29 66 12 1 4 29 0 2 32 23 .220 .291 .307 .597 67
DH Oscar Gamble* 23 113 432 390 56 104 11 3 20 44 3 4 34 37 .267 .329 .464 .793 119
CF George Hendrick 23 113 473 440 64 118 18 0 21 61 7 6 25 71 .268 .308 .452 .760 110
RF Rusty Torres# 24 122 376 312 31 64 8 1 7 28 6 5 50 62 .205 .317 .304 .622 74
C/DH John Ellis 24 127 494 437 59 118 12 2 14 68 0 0 46 57 .270 .339 .403 .741 106
1B Chris Chambliss* 24 155 636 572 70 156 30 2 11 53 4 8 58 76 .273 .342 .390 .732 104
OF/2B John Lowenstein* 26 98 335 305 42 89 16 1 6 40 5 3 23 41 .292 .338 .410 .748 108
SS Frank Duffy 26 116 395 361 34 95 16 4 8 50 6 6 25 41 .263 .312 .396 .708 96
C Dave Duncan 27 95 383 344 43 80 11 1 17 43 3 3 35 86 .233 .309 .419 .728 101
OF/DH Walt Williams 29 104 371 350 43 101 15 1 8 38 9 4 14 29 .289 .316 .406 .722 100
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Original Table
Generated 2/29/2012.

Youthful Distinctions of the ’73 Indians

  • 11 players age 27 or under had 300+ PAs — 2 more than any other team in MLB history.
  • 8 players age 24 or under played 100+ games — also 2 more than any other team.
  • No one older than 24 got 400 PAs; no other team has done that in a full season (and just 2 in strike-shortened years).
  • The average age of an Indians hitter was 24.50 (weighted per PA).
  • Their most frequent 9-man lineup began the season with an average of 184 games of MLB experience. At season’s start, over 20 MLB players had more experience than those 9 Indians combined.

The average age of a 1973 Indians batter (weighted per PA*) was 24.50 years. By that standard, I’ve found just one younger team:

  • 1975 Expos, 24.37 years

But those ‘Spos, while chock-full of youngsters, also played 32-year-old Bob Bailey (106 G, 279 PAs) and 29-year-old Larry Biittner (121 G, 384 PAs). And their top 8 batsmen had a little more experience than Cleveland’s bunch, averaging 199 MLB games before ’75.

How Did We Get Here?

The Tribe entered 1973 mired in the first long dry patch in club history. Until 1962, Cleveland had never been under .500 for 3 straight seasons. But things began to sour when their 1959 pennant hopes fizzled in a stretch run that saw them drop 4 straight at home to Chicago in a battle for 1st place heading into September. Two days before the 1960 opener, GM Frank Lane traded fan favorite Rocky Colavito — the reigning HR champ, just 26 and with two straight 40-HR seasons — straight-up for 29-year-old batting champ Harvey Kuenn.

That trade, which capped a complete roster turnover by “Trader” Lane in just a few years, left fans fuming (and staying home), and ultimately cost him his job. Five years later, Gabe Paul compounded the error by bringing Colavito back at the price of three good players — catcher John Romano (2-time All Star and 20-HR hitter), young power-speed CF Tommie Agee, and a 22-year-old lefty with a 2-11 record (but 100 ERA+) named Tommy John. Romano alone had more WAR than Colavito over the next 2 years; Agee became the 1966 Rookie of the Year; John would finish with 288 wins. And the Indians settled into the long darkness that became known as the Curse of Rocky Colavito.

They had 5 straight losing seasons from 1960-64, and after a modest revival, they collapsed in ’69 with 99 losses, their most since 1914. They would finish 6th or 5th for the first 5 years of the divisional era, tying the club record with 102 losses in ’71. They won 72 in ’72, with a moribund offense led by Graig Nettles (team highs of 17 HRs, 70 RBI, 65 Runs, and 57 walks).

Instant Makeover

In the fall of ’72, Gabe Paul made a string of deals that seemed to brighten the future, even though it cost them their best regular:

  • Nettles, liberated from Minnesota’s outfield 3 years ago (for a sore-armed Luis Tiant), quickly became the best hot-corner glove in the game and Cleveland’s best
    regular over 1970-72. In 1971 he was among the league’s all-around best, with a .350 OBP, 28 HRs, and defensive stats — 3.61 chances per game, 54 DPs(!) with just 16 errors — that rank 5th all-time in defensive runs saved at 3B. But his numbers fell off in1972, and even though some of that was just context, Bell was ready to take over at 3B after a solid rookie year in CF. So Nettles, who had just turned 28, went to the Yankees for a package of 21-year-old OF Charlie Spikes (who’d just led the Eastern League in OPS), 24 -year-old C/1B John Ellis (who’d batted .345/1.019 his last year in the minors), and 24-year-old OF Rusty
    Torres (one of the top hitters in AAA two years before).
  • George Hendrick, age 23, the 1st pick of the ’68 draft who had a 1.029 OPS at AAA two years before, was acquired from Oakland for Ray Fosse, whose promising career never got back on track after Pete Rose flattened him in the 1970 All-Star game. That deal also brought 27-year-old backstop Dave Duncan, who’d averaged 15 HRs and a 105 OPS+ in the past 3 years.
  • Oscar Gamble, still just 23 despite 3 disappointing half-years in Philly, was picked up for Del Unser, sent packing after one dreadful year in Cleveland (.238, 1 HR).

The new lineup had young talent from top to bottom. Duncan, at 27 with 509 games in the majors, would be the oldest regular; newcomer Ellis (24, 235) shared the catching duties while also backing up at 1B and DH. With Bell (age 21, 132 MLB games) moving from CF to 3B, the all-new outfield was LF Spikes (22, 14 games), CF Hendrick (23, 100) and RF Torres (24, 89), with Gamble (23, 278) mostly DHing. The holdovers were 1971 Rookie of the Year 1B Chris Chambliss (24, 232); sophomore 2B Jack Brohamer (23, 136); and SS Frank Duffy (26, 170), a bonus from the prior fall’s Sam McDowell-for-Gaylord Perry swindle. The top backups were home-grown John Lowenstein (26, 143), a solid bat in search of a position, and Walt (No-Neck) Williams, a veritable fossil at age 29.

The starting rotation was mostly intact from the ’72 staff that ranked 4th in AL run prevention. In ’72, Gaylord Perry won the Cy Young Award with one of the greatest seasons in live-ball history (10.5 WAR, 170 ERA+). Rookie Dick Tidrow had a 118 ERA+ in 237 IP, while 22-year-old Milt Wilcox (96 ERA+ in 156 IP) showed more than enough to justify the trade that brought him over from Cincinnati for on-the-way-out CF Ted Uhlaender. Steve Dunning, the #2 pick in the 1970 June draft, had been brought up in July and went 6-4 with a 100 ERA+ in 16 starts. Any rotation openings would likely go to swingman Ray Lamb or rookie Brent Strom, another high draft pick lifted from the Mets that fall for one-year-relief-wonder Phil Hennigan.

The Results

So how did it all work out? Mainly, it didn’t; Cleveland finished 71-91, last in the AL East. The baby-faced lineup was OK, scoring near the league average. Their AL-best 158 HRs (with Spikes, Hendrick and Gamble all reaching 20) was offset by a league-worst BB total (not surprising for a young team) that left them last in OBP. Bell handled the defensive chores about as well as Nettles had in ’72 and had a 100 OPS+, but was miscast as a leadoff man, with a .325 OBP (AL avg. was .332) and just 7 steals in 22 tries. Chambliss, the #1 overall pick in 1970, was in a holding pattern, repeating the 104 OPS+ from his ROY season. Torres was a disaster, with a 74 OPS+ and subpar defense; his first year of 300+ ABs would prove to be his last. Brohamer had a 67 OPS+, his second straight poor hitting year, but Duffy continued to be a pleasant surprise, producing 2.7 WAR between his glove and his stick.

But the pitching staff, backed by poor team defense, fell apart. Perry did match his ’72 endurance almost exactly, with 29 CG (his 19 wins were all CG, with just 23 runs allowed), but his ERA+ fell to 118. The rest of the rotation just didn’t come through. Tidrow saw his ERA+ fall to 90, and no other SP did even that well. Strom went 2-10 with an 87 ERA+, and would spend the next year back in the minors. Milt Wilcox saw his ERA+ plunge to 68. Dunning got off to a slow start and was traded for veteran Dick Bosman, the ’69 ERA champ whose career was unraveling; Bosman went 1-8, 6.22 in 17 starts. A parade of stopgaps all floundered, as only Perry and Tidrow made 20+ starts.

And the relief corps was awful, with a league-worst 4.38 ERA. Outside of journeyman Tom Hilgendorf (127 ERA+ in 95 IP) and a 2-month cameo by waiver pickup Ken Sanders, no other reliever had an ERA+ over 87. Jerry Johnson, the closer for the ’71 division-winning Giants, was Cleveland’s leader with 29 GF, but had a 6.18 ERA in 60 IP. The ‘pen was so bad that the club took a chance on Mike Kekich, owner of the greatest notoriety-to-performance ratio in MLB history; he was acquired from the Yanks in June and rang up a 7.02 in 50 IP. (Kekich, who debuted with the World Champion ’65 Dodgers at age 20 — and was pummeled — averaged 133 IP from 1968-72 without ever getting his ERA+ over 80, then capped that run by swapping families with teammate Fritz Peterson. His career 73 ERA+ in 861 innings is the worst in modern history with at least 500 IP, and his career WAR of -5.8 is the worst in the live-ball era. Cleveland released Kekich in March ’74; a month later, they traded Chambliss and Tidrow for a package fronted by … Fritz Peterson.)

Beyond ’73

The Nettles trade proved a big disappointment. Not one of Spikes, Ellis and Torres reached 3,000 career PAs, and their combined WAR from the time of that trade was 0.7. Nettles had that much in a typical month, topping 4 WAR for 6 straight years in the Bronx with an average of 5.3; for 1973-78, Nettles was 2nd only to Mike Schmidt in WAR by a 3B.

Bell remained a good player year after year with Cleveland, but never advanced beyond his ’73 total of 3.6 WAR. In December ’78 he was sent to Texas in a challenge trade for 3B Toby Harrah. Bell’s first 3 years in Texas would be his career peak — no surprise, for ages 27-29 — with 6+ WAR each year and an average of 6.4. In 1979, he tied Nettles’ stellar 1971 mark in defensive runs saved. For 1979-84 combined, the 3B WAR leaders went Schmidt, Bell, Brett, and a steep drop to the rest of the field. Harrah, who was 3 years older at the time of the deal, averaged 3.4 WAR in 5 years with Cleveland.

Hendrick spent 3 more years with Cleveland, averaging 23 HRs and a 118 OPS+, and was twice an All-Star. But his defense lagged — he averaged -0.8 dWAR in his 4 full years there — and in the fall of ’76, the 26-year-old Hendrick was shipped to San Diego for a trio of role players. Hendrick immediately had his best offensive season, and for 1977-83 combined he had a 129 OPS+, helping St. Louis win it all in ’82.

Oscar Gamble had a 140 OPS+ in ’74, his 3.6 WAR ranking #2 among DHs. Before the year was out, Cleveland dealt for the #1 DH, Frank Robinson. Gamble played the outfield in ’75, badly, and his offense slipped a little. So he was traded — before his 26th birthday — for an almost-done Pat Dobson. Over the next 7 years, Gamble would average a 146 OPS+ and 2.5 WAR in part-time play, a rate of 5.0 WAR/700 PAs.

And it would be 20 years before Cleveland got back in contention.

____________

Some other young lineups, by weighted average age:*

  • 1915 Indians, 24.70
  • 1920 A’s, 24.71
  • 1976 Expos, 24.73
  • 1911 Red Sox, 24.83 (WS champs the next year)
  • 1966 Red Sox, 24.87 (AL champs the next year)
  • 1967 A’s, 24.92
  • 1968 A’s, 24.89
  • 1956 Pirates, 24.95
  • 1921 A’s, 24.99
  • 1972 Padres 24.99
  • 1967 Red Sox, 25.08 (AL Champs; regular lineup all 27 or under)
  • 1973 Padres, 25.11
  • 1978 Braves, 25.11
  • 1999 Marlins, 25.11 (the “fire sale” was now complete)
  • 1974 Giants, 25.15
  • 1911 Giants, 25.16 (NL Champs)
  • 1915 White Sox, 25.18
  • 1982 Twins, 25.24
  • 1950 Orioles, 25.28
  • 1972 Giants, 25.28
  • 1910 Dodgers (Superbas), 25.32
  • 1917 Cardinals, 25.35
  • 1913 Athletics, 25.36 (WS Champs)
  • 1923 Cubs, 25.36
  • 1993 Expos, 25.36 (94 wins, 3 GB)
  • 1966 Astros, 25.37
  • 1949 Phillies, 25.41 (NL champs the next year)
  • 1998 Marlins, 25.41
  • 2006 Marlins, 25.44
  • 1968 Astros, 25.51
  • 1973 Giants, 25.53
  • 1977 Padres, 25.53
  • 2011 Royals, 25.82

____________

* Baseball-Reference posts average ages for each team’s hitters, based on a combination of (as B-R says) “AB + Games.” My averages are based strictly on PAs. Also, I exclude all PAs by those who were primarily pitchers; I can’t tell if B-R has done the same.

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Michael
Michael
11 years ago

If memory serves, didn’t the 1963 Colt 45’s have a line-up that wasn’t even shaving yet?

Hartvig
Hartvig
11 years ago
Reply to  Michael

The had a 19 y/o Rusty Staub, a 21 y/o Jimmy Wynn, a 19 y/o Joe Morgan, a 20 y/o Jerry Grote, a 18 y/o Sonny Jackson and a 18 y/o John Paciorek and some others but only Staub played as many as 100 games, a mark also surpassed by a 35 y/o Johnny Temple, a 35 y/o Pete Runnels and a 33 y/o Bob Lillis. It didn’t change much the following year either, when only Jimmy Wynn managed to play as many as 100 games. It wasn’t until 1965 that Staub, Wynn & Morgan were all starters but they… Read more »

Lawrence Azrin
Lawrence Azrin
11 years ago
Reply to  Hartvig

The 1963 Colt 45’s weren’t the youngest overall, but weren’t there a couple games at the very end of the season where their entire line-up was 21 years or younger? I think that it included all the young players mentioned in #2 above.

Doug
Doug
11 years ago
Reply to  Michael

That Houston team had 7 teenagers, two 20 year-olds and two 21 year-olds, but only Rusty Staub among these 11 had 300 PAs. Ernie Fazio and Jim Wynn, both 21, had over 250 PAs, but all the rest had fewer than 100 PAs.

In contrast, three Astros 30-somethings (Bob Lillis, 33, and Pete Runnels and Johnny Temple, both 35) compiled over 1300 PAs among them.

topper009
topper009
11 years ago

Dick Tidrow led the league in mustache above replacement (with replacement level mustache defined as Craig Counsell) for 10 straight years from 1974 to ’83

Ed
Ed
11 years ago
Reply to  John Autin

The competition for “best mustache,70s closer” is a brutal one what with Fingers, Gossage, Hrabosky, Marshall among others. That’s four first ballot HOF mustaches right there.

Smithyy
Smithyy
11 years ago
Reply to  Ed

Sparky Lyle as 1 of the others

Ed
Ed
11 years ago
Reply to  Smithyy

I considered mentioning Lyle but I think he falls a bit short of the others. Still great stache!

bstar
11 years ago
Reply to  topper009

I nominate Derek Holland for the replacement level ‘stache. It looks like the facial hair of a 15 year old:

http://www.joesportsfan.com/st-louis-cardinals/joesportsfan-world-series-recap-game-4/

Hartvig
Hartvig
11 years ago
Reply to  bstar

We can probably safely assume he’s not using anabolic steroids with that ‘stash.

bstar
11 years ago

LOL! What team would be the all-time leader in M.A.R. (mustache above replacement)? The early 80s Brewers with Fingers and Stormin’ Gorman?

bstar
11 years ago
Reply to  bstar

….and Pete Vuckovich.

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
11 years ago
Reply to  bstar

And Robin Yount. And Ben Oglivie. And Roy Howell. And Cecil Cooper. Plus Charlie Moore and Bob McClure. And that’s just the regulars on the pennant team (1982). There were almost as many backups with mustaches. It was a great era for looking like an adult-film star.

Lawrence Azrin
Lawrence Azrin
11 years ago
Reply to  bstar

bstar,

I nominate the 1984 Red Sox, with Buckner, Remy, Boggs, Dwight Evans, Tony Armas, Rice, and Eckersley*. Actually, it’s harder to think of Red Sox players of this era who _didn’t_ have mustaches…

* I am aware Buckner and Eck were traded for each other

Doug
Doug
11 years ago

Looking at pitchers.

Most pitchers with 100+ IP

– 22 and under: 5 – BAL 1960, 4 – PHA 1915, 3 – 19 teams, FLA 2006 most recent
– 23 and under: 5 – BAL 1960, WSH 1914, PHA 1914, 4 – 17 teams, FLA 2006 most recent
– 24 and under: 6 – PHA 1915, 5 – 11 teams, FLA 2006 most recent
– 25 and under: 6 – CIN 1972, KCA 1967, PHA 1915, 5 – 42 teams, FLA 2006 most recent

Doug
Doug
11 years ago

There have been 38 teams since 1901 with no players aged 30 or older having 200+ PAs. Most recent was the 2010 Pirates.

Montreal (1993-95) did it 3 years running (two were strike years), and Cincinnati (1967-70) did it 3 years out of 4.

Ed
Ed
11 years ago

BTW, as someone who was born in NE Ohio in 1969, I couldn’t root for the Indians when I was a kid. They were just so poorly managed. I fully admit to bandwagon jumping in the mid-90s but I have stayed on the bandwagon, even after the fun ended.

Brandon
11 years ago

Great research and topic.
Also love Mustache Above Replacement.
I think Tim Blackwell may have taken some MAR titles in his career. Especially if factored by MAR/PA.
http://1983toppsblog.blogspot.com/2011/12/57-tim-blackwell.html?m=1

Ed
Ed
11 years ago

BTW, I think it’s hysterical that John wrote this long post about the youngest lineup ever, but mostly people want to talk about mustaches.

topper009
topper009
11 years ago
Reply to  Ed

Sorry but I have been waiting for a Dick Tidrow reference for a while on this site and its predecessor.

Mike L
Mike L
11 years ago
Reply to  John Autin

For a Yankee fan, Tidrow brings back thoughts of Munson, because of a bizarre chain of coincidences that ended up doing a lot of damage to the Yankees. In 1978, Tidrow was a swing man and, with Hunter and other pitchers hurt started 25 games for the Yankees. Gossage had replaced Lyle as the closer, so Lyle was traded to Texas. In 79, Tidrow went back to the bullpen, but didn’t have it, and was shipped off in May for Ray Buriss (more injuries to starting pitching). Buriss was terrible, and when Cliff Johnson got into a fight in the… Read more »

bstar
11 years ago
Reply to  Ed

I felt bad about that, expounding on the mustache thing but not commenting on the great article. I was going to type something profound about how the Braves were going to start 3 22-year olds in their lineup this year(Pastornicky, F Freeman, and Heyward) and also have very young pitching but having the Old Man starting at 3B at age 40 kinda blew my “young Braves” theory out of the water. So I chose topper’s hilarious M.A.R. instead.

Brandon
11 years ago

I found it quite interesting the number of teams that were successful with a very young lineup. I’ll have to check out the ’67 Red Sox, I never realized how young they were

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
11 years ago

Great post, JA. So thorough. My first thought had actually been those 70s Expos or the 60s Colt .45s, but I guess I was wrong. Great stuff, as always.

Steven
Steven
11 years ago

Great book covering the Indians from the late fifties through the early ninties: “The Curse of Rocky Colavito,” by Terry Pluto.

Hub Kid
Hub Kid
11 years ago

This is pretty nifty work, as always: John makes note of several famous young teams (or infamous, in the Marlins example): 1917 Athletics, 1950 Phillies, 1978 Tigers, 1999 Marlins, and 2011 Royals. Of those famous young teams, only last year’s Royals and two years of Marlins post 1997 World Series fire sales (1998 and 1999) make it onto John’s Weighted Average Age list. The 1950 Phillies Whiz Kids must get extra credit for being on the list in 1949… The 1917 Braves and the 1978 Cardinals are both on the list. If they weren’t each in the exact opposite league… Read more »

Hub Kid
Hub Kid
11 years ago

Oh, crud, I forgot to ask: John, did you cut the list off at a certain point? It looks like it is cut off near or below age 26…

It’s not a “Top X” list, as far as I can tell, since I counted to 30 and stopped a few teams before getting to the end.

Dr. Doom
Dr. Doom
11 years ago
Reply to  John Autin

It’s probably really not surprising that they parlayed that into a great run for about a decade thereafter. That kind of commitment to continually finding young players will inevitably lead to only keeping them around when they’re actually good.

Paul E
Paul E
11 years ago
Reply to  John Autin

JA-
Just recently on the Hardball Times website, one of the authors gave a snapshot of the ’60’s in a “what could have been” scenario. If I rememeber correctly, the Reds won like 5 pennants, the Giants 3, and I don’t even know if the 3-time NL champion Cards won a single pennant in the revised format. And I believe the Reds won 100 games in three of those seasons

RJ
RJ
11 years ago

Great article John, really good read.

charliewatts
charliewatts
11 years ago

The 79 Tigers also deserve a special mention. Maybe not as young overall as the 78 team, but added a couple key players to create a U24 “core 6” of Trammell, Whitaker, Gibson, Parrish, Morris and Petry, that would stay together through 86.

Doug
Doug
11 years ago

Great read, John. As usual. 🙂 “Two days before the 1960 opener, GM Frank Lane traded fan favorite Rocky Colavito — the reigning HR champ, just 26 and with two straight 40-HR seasons — straight-up for 29-year-old batting champ Harvey Kuenn.” This reminded me of something I remember from one of Bill James Abstracts. James was talking about “challenge” trades, where teams would trade their top players for each other, such as in this case with trading “my star RFer for your star RFer”. Apparently, there were a number of such trades in the late 50s and early 60s. Hard… Read more »

John Nacca
John Nacca
11 years ago
Reply to  Doug

The reference you made to Bill James/”challenge trades” was (I believe) how the Washington Senators of 1933 and Cincinnati Reds of 1961 were built, although it has been about 25 years since that edition came out (mine was pretty dog-eared).

Paul E
Paul E
11 years ago

JA: Great subject-great research. The 1971 Phillies opened Veterans Stadium with some raw, inexperienced “talent”. Their outfield consisted of Willie Montanez, Mike Anderson, Oscar Gamble, Greg Luzinski, and Roger Freed. The infield featured Bowa, Deny Doyle, and Don Money. Only Deron Johnson was a true “veteran”. Most of these guys were either young or inexperienced, or young and inexpoerienced. The team was not competetive, to say the least. In the off season, they trade Rick Wise (who had debuted in 1964 at age 18) for Steve Carlton. In 1972 Carlton wins 27 games and they still don’t win 60 games… Read more »

Hartvig
Hartvig
11 years ago
Reply to  Paul E

Also on that team, at least for part of the season, was a 24 year old Larry Hisle who had been a starter the previous 2 seasons before being demoted to the minors and then resurrecting his career in Minnesota & Milwaukee.

Doug
Doug
11 years ago

This came up in a recent post, but is apropos here also.

Teams with zero starts in consecutive seasons by pitchers in age 30 season or older.
– 4 seasosn: Rays 2008-11 (AL champs), Expos 1971-74
– 3 seasons: Senators 1956-58
– 2 seasons: Orioles, 2004-05, Expos 2003-04, Marlins 2002-03 (WS champs), Blue Jays 1981-82, Cardinals 1978-79 (also 1976), Astros 1971-72, Royals 1969-70, As 1968-69, Senators 1914-15

Dr. Remulak
Dr. Remulak
11 years ago

Oscar Gamble, best afro in baseball history.

Steven
Steven
11 years ago
Reply to  Dr. Remulak

Jose Cardenal, honorable mention.

Lawrence Azrin
Lawrence Azrin
11 years ago
Reply to  Dr. Remulak

Also Bake McBride and Eddie Murray, honorable mention.

Tmckelv
Tmckelv
11 years ago
Reply to  Lawrence Azrin

Overall Afro champ was definitely Oscar Gamble. But Bake had the best ratio of hair to body mass.

Ed
Ed
11 years ago
Reply to  John Autin

Best sports hair ever HAS to be soccer player Carlos Valderrama. He was simply in a different league than everyone else.

Lawrence Azrin
Lawrence Azrin
11 years ago
Reply to  John Autin

A bit off-tangent, but there was a Boston-area local indie-rock group in the late 90s called Bake McBride.

Coco Crisp had a pretty awsome Afro with the A’s last year. Gamble is still The Champ, though.

Steven
Steven
11 years ago

Bake, Reggie Smith and Luis Melendez on the ’74 Cards: an All-Fro Outfield.

Steven
Steven
11 years ago
Reply to  John Autin

I’d think the wind would be a factor. Re: Bake McBride-I think his legs began at his armpits.