.333/423/.637, 1.059 OPS, 622 PA, 177 H, 82 BB, 39 HR, 122 RBI, 116 R, 82 XBH, 176 OPS+
All-Star, Gold Glove, MVP – 4
Fred Lynn’s other season wasn’t too shabby – a Triple Crown of sorts, as he led the league in the three principal rate stats (a rarer feat than you’d expect) in what would prove to be his final healthy season in Boston. Lynn also set career highs in pretty much every offensive category in 1979 – hits, homers, RBI, walks, average, OBP, slugging, total bases. Lynn’s 1979 was the best season by a Sox center fielder since Fenway Park’s opening year.
Lynn began the season with a bang – a seventh-inning home run that helped fuel an Opening Day win. Then, already having a fine season as July wound to a close (.325/.415/.618), Lynn got hot. He would collect a hit in each of the next 20 games, his second such streak in his career. But this wasn’t just a hitting streak. Between Aug. 5 and Aug. 17 (12 days), Lynn homered 10 times. He strung together a seven-game two-hit streak. Before finally going 0-for-3 on Aug. 19, his averages sat at .346/.434/.678. His OPS had increased by .074. His .451/.530/.972 line over those 20 games marks the fourth-highest OPS in a hitting streak of at least 20 games over the past 50 years. Not until Larry Walker (him again) 20 years later did someone — anyone — better it.
Key game: Aug. 14. Lynn accounts for half the Red Sox’ 12 runs and four home runs by smacking two dingers and driving in six in a 12-1 romp over Minnesota. Lynn’s first-inning solo home run is the second of three in the inning for the Sox – a Jim Rice strikeout all that keeps Fisk, Lynn, Rice and Yastrzemski from hitting four straight homers.