Top 50 Sox Seasons #36: Bobby Doerr, 1944

.325/.399/.528, .927 OPS, 536 PA, 152 H, 58 BB, 15 HR, 81 RBI, 95 R, 165 OPS+
All-Star starter, MVP – 7

Undoubtedly helped by the diluted competition he faced as more and more of the league’s ballplayers fought in World War II, Doerr nevertheless took full advantage, posting the best season ever by a Red Sox second baseman, relative to his era. Though leading only in slugging, Doerr finished in the top three of each major rate stat, and second in OPS.

Never mind that, Doerr’s 165 remains the 20th best OPS+ posted by a second sacker in the history of baseball, and those 19 seasons were put up by four players – Hornsby, Lajoie, Morgan and Collins. In fact, since Collins in 1915, Doerr in 1944 has been the only American League second baseman to post a single-season OPS+ of at least 165. Bobby Grich in 1981 is the only other to come close. The Sporting News named Doerr the AL MVP and AL Player of the Year for the season (the BBWAA voted him seventh).

Key game:
April 26. Doerr smacks three doubles, including one in the top of the 14th of a 4-4 game against Washington. He scores the winning run on Roy Partee’s sacrifice fly.

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