Hall of Fame voter Mark Zuckerman on the 2014 class
Conventional wisdom is that Chris Davis won’t be able to duplicate his magnificent 53 home run season. It’s natural for any slugger who has a breakout season to regress, isn’t it?
Before Davis, Brady Anderson was the single season Orioles home run leader. Anderson had 50 in 1996, a huge jump from 16 in 1995.
In 1997, Anderson dropped back to 18 homers and never hit more than 24 in his career.
Anderson broke Frank Robinson’s 30-year-old team record. In 1966, Robinson, who was one of the greatest power hitters in baseball history, hit 49 homers and won the Triple Crown.
Robinson was in his first season with the Orioles, and his 49 beat his previous best by 10. In 1967, Robinson hit 30 and never again hit more than 32.
Jim Gentile was the record holder before Robinson. In the home run happy year of 1961, Gentile hit 46 home runs, more than doubling his previous year’s total.
In 1962, Gentile hit just 33, and four years later finished his major league career.
Davis proved to be not only a home run hitter last year. His 138 RBIs, 42 doubles and 72 walks, were all impressive.
While a 35 homer and 100 RBI year may be more likely for Davis, it shouldn’t be looked upon as a regression. It would be considered another outstanding year.