Hit the Peak for One Year

Smokey Burgess-Many sportswriters have called this left hand batter a hitting prodigy, with good reason.  In spite of his super slow running,  Burgess for his career hit 126 home runs, drove in 673, and batted .295.  He may never have gotten on base by running out an infield hit.  Burgess hit in the .290s for the Philadelphia Phillies in both 1952 and 1953.  But in 1954 came his greatest year, at least in batting average.

Smokey was in 108 games in 1954,  88 as a starter  and 20 as a pinch hitter.   He did not have enough plate appearances to qualify for the batting  title. Even so,  Burgess hit a rousing .368 going 127 for 345. (4 home runs and 46 runs batted in.)

The Phillies foolishly traded Smokey to the Cincinnati Redlegs  after the 1954 season.   In  1955 for the Reds, he  batted .301 with 21 home runs and 78 runs batted in.

Here are Smokey Burgess statistics for Pittsburgh Pirates.  At Pittsburgh, Smokey finally got recognition for his  fielding.  Smokey was the first string for all of these season except 1960, when he split the chores with Hal Smith.  After 1954, the highest he ever hit was .328 in 1962.

1959- HR 11 RBI 59 BA .297

1960- HR 7 RBI 39 BA  .294

1961-HR 12 RBI 52 BA  .303

1962-HR 13 RBI 57 BA .328


Roy Face was the relief picture for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 1956 to 1969.  The most familiar site in Pittsburgh sports history was Face in the bullpen or coming in to put out fire with guys on base.  Three times Roy was elected to the National League All Star Team and three times led the league in saves.

Even during the 1959 season we all knew this great  performance  would never happen.  All through the year Roy came in and saved or won games.   On the coast against Los Angeles, Roy Face lost a game after 17 wins.  His 18-1  finish may still stand as the best winning  percentage ever. (.947)


Norm Cash was one of the great Detroit Tigers.   During his career,  Cash scored 1,027 runs,  got 1,793 hits, hit 373 home runs, and drove in 1,088 runs.  His career batting average was .271.  However,  after a great 1, 961 season, he never reach that level again.  Here are the biggest example;

batting average a league leading  .361 in 1961; fell to a whopping .243 in 1962;   highest batting average after that was .280.

runs batted in was 132 in 1961; fell to 89 in 1961; never went over 100 thereafter.