Top 50 Sox Seasons #37: Rico Petrocelli, 1969

.297/.403/.589, .992 OPS, 643 PA, 159 H, 98 BB, 40 HR, 97 RBI, 315 TB, 74 XBH, 167 OPS+
All-Star, MVP – 7

No, Petrocelli didn’t lead the league in any significant category, though he finished second in extra-base hits. All he did in 1969 was set an AL record for home runs by a shortstop that stood for 29 years, shortstop OPS that stood for 27 years, and OPS+ by an AL shortstop that still stands.

Petrocelli actually was better than his final line let on – his OPS was below 1.000 at the end of just seven games all season; unfortunately, they were within the final eight games of the year. Likewise, his batting average dropped below .300 for the first time on Sept. 23 and his slugging below .600 on Sept. 22. A “bad” September in which Petrocelli’s OPS was just .840 marred a line at the end of August that stood at .304/.418/.615.

Key game:
Sept. 5. In a game in which the Red Sox fell behind 7-0, Petrocelli’s three-run, two-out, seventh-inning homer gives Boston an 8-7 lead over Washington, then with the game tied in the bottom of the ninth, Petrocelli draws a bases-loaded walk to win it.

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