You Are Here > Baseball-Reference.com > Blog >

SITE NEWS: We are moving all of our site and company news into a single blog for Sports-Reference.com. We'll tag all B-R content, so you can quickly and easily find the content you want.

Also, our existing B-R blog rss feed will be redirected to the new site's feed.

Baseball-Reference.com » Sports Reference

For more from Andy and the gang, check out their new site High Heat Stats.

Teenage Big Leaguers With 100+ Games In A Season

Posted by Steve Lombardi on February 17, 2011

I was just looking at all the players, since 1901, to play 100+ games in a big league season as a teenager.

Here's the list:

Rk Player OPS+ G Year 5 Age Tm Lg PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IBB SO HBP SH SF GDP SB CS BA OBP SLG OPS Pos
1 Mike McCormick 57 105 1904 19 BRO NL 398 347 28 64 5 4 0 27 43 0 0 2 6 0 0 22 0 .184 .278 .222 .500 *5/4
2 Johnny Lush 118 106 1904 18 PHI NL 408 369 39 102 22 3 2 42 27 0 0 6 6 0 0 12 0 .276 .336 .369 .704 *39/1
3 Freddie Lindstrom 96 104 1925 19 NYG NL 385 356 43 102 15 12 4 33 22 0 20 2 5 0 0 5 9 .287 .332 .430 .761 *5/64
4 Mel Ott 139 124 1928 19 NYG NL 499 435 69 140 26 4 18 77 52 0 36 2 10 0 0 3 0 .322 .397 .524 .921 *9/4785
5 Phil Cavarretta 93 146 1935 18 CHC NL 636 589 85 162 28 12 8 82 39 0 61 2 6 0 9 4 0 .275 .322 .404 .726 *3
6 Phil Cavarretta 80 124 1936 19 CHC NL 486 458 55 125 18 1 9 56 17 0 36 5 6 0 8 8 0 .273 .306 .376 .682 *3
7 Buddy Lewis 88 143 1936 19 WSH AL 657 601 100 175 21 13 6 67 47 0 46 4 5 0 0 6 6 .291 .347 .399 .746 *5
8 Bob Kennedy 59 154 1940 19 CHW AL 655 606 74 153 23 3 3 52 42 0 58 0 7 0 17 3 7 .252 .301 .315 .616 *5
9 Sibby Sisti 87 123 1940 19 BSN NL 507 459 73 115 19 5 6 34 36 0 64 4 8 0 4 4 0 .251 .311 .353 .664 *54
10 Cass Michaels 78 129 1945 19 CHW AL 499 445 47 109 8 5 2 54 37 0 28 3 14 0 13 8 7 .245 .307 .299 .606 *6/4
11 Al Kaline 80 138 1954 19 DET AL 535 504 42 139 18 3 4 43 22 0 45 0 7 2 21 9 5 .276 .305 .347 .652 *9
12 Rusty Staub 84 150 1963 19 HOU NL 585 513 43 115 17 4 6 45 59 8 58 5 6 2 10 0 0 .224 .309 .308 .617 *39/8
13 Ed Kranepool 100 119 1964 19 NYM NL 461 420 47 108 19 4 10 45 32 2 50 2 3 4 9 0 1 .257 .310 .393 .703 *3/98
14 Tony Conigliaro 137 111 1964 19 BOS AL 444 404 69 117 21 2 24 52 35 1 78 5 0 0 11 2 4 .290 .354 .530 .883 *78/9
15 Robin Yount 79 107 1974 18 MIL AL 364 344 48 86 14 5 3 26 12 0 46 1 5 2 4 7 7 .250 .276 .346 .622 *6
16 Robin Yount 90 147 1975 19 MIL AL 607 558 67 149 28 2 8 52 33 3 69 1 10 5 8 12 4 .267 .307 .367 .674 *6
17 Jose Oquendo 42 120 1983 19 NYM NL 353 328 29 70 7 0 1 17 19 2 60 2 3 1 10 8 9 .213 .260 .244 .504 *6
18 Ken Griffey 108 127 1989 19 SEA AL 506 455 61 120 23 0 16 61 44 8 83 2 1 4 4 16 7 .264 .329 .420 .748 *8
19 Edgar Renteria 103 106 1996 19 FLA NL 471 431 68 133 18 3 5 31 33 0 68 2 2 3 12 16 2 .309 .358 .399 .757 *6
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 2/17/2011.

.

In terms of the modern guys, it's easy to recall Yount and Griffey for playing MLB as a semi- or full-time regular while still a teen.  But, I never would think of Renteria and Oquendo in the same way. But, there they are...

In any event, it may be somewhat commonplace to think that anyone who is good enough to play major league baseball at 19 or younger will go on to become a Hall of Famer.  But, that's just conventional wisdom - as this list proves.

This entry was posted on Thursday, February 17th, 2011 at 11:08 pm and is filed under Season Finders. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

24 Responses to “Teenage Big Leaguers With 100+ Games In A Season”

  1. Well, they may not go on to the Hall of Fame, but most of them went on to nice careers (or World War II).

  2. So that would make Tony Conigliaro the only teenager in MLB history to hit more HR's than years he'd been alive.

  3. For whatever reason, I have no idea what happened to Jose Oqeundo- was it an injury? did Torre think Alicia was just better? was he in someone's doghouse? I just don't remember which is kind of odd because with 2 or 3 exceptions I could give a reasonably accurate description of the careers of every one else on that list and I saw Oqeundo play far more often than all but 3 of the players.

  4. "In any event, it may be somewhat commonplace to think that anyone who is good enough to play major league baseball at 19 or younger will go on to become a Hall of Famer. But, that's just conventional wisdom - as this list proves."

    I never heard that. I see prospects disappear all the time. The fact is that 5 out of 15 players since 1920 are Hall-of-Famers and they were found using a single stat from before they turned 20. Another few were just a notch below the Hall. Almost all the remaining players turned in productive careers. I'm sorry Steve but I think you dismissed the significance way too quickly.

  5. I felt like Pudge belonged on this list, but he only managed 88 games in his 19 year old season. Notable though, since 88 games at catcher is comparable to 100+ games at other positions.

    Arod had a huge season at age 20, one year late for this, despite getting 48 games of action at 19 and 17 games in at age18.

  6. How about Monte Ward, another just miss. He played 83 games at age 19, with 70 of them being at pitcher!

    He threw 587 innings at age 19, leading the league with 47 wins and 239 strikeouts. He also had a 113 OPS+ in 371 plate appearances. 587 innings pitched and he himself batted for 104 hits.

    He did about as much as you can possibly do without playing 100+ games.

  7. So true, Jimbo. Monte Ward did just about as much as you can possibly do in baseball... period.

  8. How about Ty Cobb, who just misses this list as he played in 98 games in 1906, when he was 19 years old.

  9. Is there a similar chart for pitchers, say 100 IP in a season as a teenager? According to the PI, there are 31 such seasons since 1901, with Bob Feller and Larry Dierker being the only guys to have two each.

    Feller was an all-star and led the league with 240 strikeouts when he was 19. At 19, I was attending boring lectures and trying to get girls to watch DVDs in my dorm room with me. I guess Bob was the real deal.

  10. Ed Kranepool is on this list because of his 3rd season in the Majors. After 3 games (getting 1 hit) during his 17-year-old season in 1962 with the expansion Mets, he played 86 games in 1963 as an 18-year-old.

    Growing up in the 1970's in NJ and getting to watch Met games, I tend to think of Ed Kranepool and Rusty Staub similarly in that they both came up very young for expansion teams, and both played a lot of time with the Mets including several seasons as Pinch Hitters. Obviously when you look at the overall careers statistically, they are not they are not that similar, with Rusty being a near HOF and Ed being more of a local legend.

  11. I'll note the declining occurence of teenage players over time, as teams refuse to "chance" putting a young phenom in at very early ages (ostensibly to make sure their peak years occur under team control, but it's more than that). In any event the concept of letting a young player develop in the majors (as opposed to the minors) is pretty much extinct.

  12. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    #8/ StephenH... Sherry Magee also comes close, with 96 games played in 1904
    #11/ John DiFrool... also , the days of clubs leaving extremely young players on major league rosters to soak up MLB experience,such as with Mel Ott and Jimmy Foxx, are also long gone. THis is due to the very defined roles of minor leagues.

  13. just based on casual observation, it seemed to me super young players were more common in the 19th century, especially pitchers, and most of them didn't last long. maybe a decades split of under 20 players and a pitcher/position player split of under 20 players will show something interesting.

  14. Andrew Jones hit .400 in the World Series including a 2 HR game when he was 19, although he only played 31 regular reason games that year

  15. @#12: I'd hazard a guess that young players don't soak up experience at the major league level because it starts their arbitration/free agency clock ticking. If a player can't contribute much, it doesn't make sense to waste his first couple, cheapest years -- especially if you think he's going to be something special.

  16. Um, this list illustrates clearly that playing 100+ games in a big-league season as a teenager is, indeed, a HUGE marker towards an outstanding career. Out of the 17 players on this list:

    -- 5 made the Hall of Fame (Griffey, Ott, Kaline, Yount, Lindstrom).

    -- Rusty Staub played in 2,951 games (12th all-time), had 2,716 hits and 1,466 RBI (54th), a career 124 OPS+, and made 6 All-Star teams.

    -- Edgar Renteria is the 16th modern player with over 2,000 games at SS, and ranks 17th in hits by a career SS.

    -- Phil Cavaretta played over 2,000 games in 22 seasons (17 as a regular), had a career 118 OPS+, and won the batting title & MVP in 1945.

    -- Buddy Lewis was a very good player who racked up almost 900 games through age 24, with a .304 BA and 112 runs scored per 162 games. He lost 3 years to WWII, returned with 1-1/2 good years, then an off year; he still had 1,500 hits through age 30. But he hurt his back at 31, which pretty much ended his career.

    -- Tony Conigliaro's first 4 years were consistent with a HOF career, before the beaning from which he never fully recovered. Despite missing almost 1-1/2 years from the injury, Conigliaro came back with seasons of 20 HRs and 36 HRs. His 160 HRs through age 25 ranks 18th all-time and 10th in the pre-steroid era.

    So out of 17 players, that's 8 long, outstanding careers, 1 good 10-year career, and 1 meteor cut down by an errant pitch. Try getting that kind of success rate from any other group you can define by age.

  17. @John Autin.

    No doubt. (although Griffey isn't technically in yet).

    4/17 in the hall now, 1 more to come.

    5/17 in any group of players to make the Hall is freaking amazing.

    Obviously conventional wisdom isn't always wrong.

  18. Teenage Big Leaguers With 100+ Games In A Season » Baseball ......

    [...]He played 83 games at age 19, with 70 of them being at pitcher! He threw 587 innings at age 19, leading the league with 47 wins and 239 strikeouts. He also had a 113 OPS+ in 371 plate appearances. 587 innings pitched and he himself ...[...]...

  19. I have a 25 man roster I compiled of the best teenage players in MLB history:

    Starting Lineup:
    1. DH Cesar Cedeno, R
    2. 3B Buddy Lewis, L
    3. CF Ty Cobb, R
    4. LF Mel Ott, L
    5. RF Al Kaline, R
    6. 1B Phil Cavarretta, L
    7. 2B Freddie Lindstrom, R
    8. C Del Crandall, R
    9. SS Robin Yount, R

    Bench:
    C/1B Jimmie Foxx, R
    3B/SS Travis Jackson, R
    SS Stuffy McInnis, R
    OF Ken Griffey Jr., L
    OF Mickey Mantle, S
    OF Claudell Washington, L

    Rotation:
    RHP Dwight Gooden
    RHP Bob Feller
    RHP Wally Bunker
    RHP Gary Nolan
    RHP Joe Wood

    Bullpen:
    LHP Bob Miller
    LHP Don Gullett
    RHP Art Houtteman
    LHP Terry Forster
    RHP Rick Wise

    I actually have over 100 rosters like this, but this one fits the thread. Obviously it's only based on how they did as a teenager which is why Foxx is a backup catcher.

  20. @19, Depstein -- That's a fun list there; thanks.

    Did you based it on cumulative performance as a teenager, or best single season?

    If it's single season, I'd put Griffey in the starting 9. He's one of only 3 teenage outfielders with a season WAR over 2 (Ott 3.5, Griffey 2.8, Cobb 2.6).

    And Edgar Renteria had the highest season WAR of any teenage infielder, 3.0.

    And since you've got a DH, I'd put Tony Conigliaro (age 19: 24 HRs, 137 OPS+ in 111 games) in place of Cedeno.

    But it's your list, of course.

  21. There's never been a good teenage 2B in all of major-league history, back to 1871.

    -- Only 3 teenagers ever got as many as 200 PAs in a season while playing at least half their games at 2B. All 3 had negative WAR: Bill Mazeroski (-0.1, 1956), Sibby Sisti (-0.5, 1939) and Lew Malone (-1.1, 1915).

    -- Only 3 teenagers played as many as 50 total games at 2B in their teens: Sisti, Maz, and Clete Boyer. None of those 3 batted over .243, nor reached .300 in either OBP or SLG in their combined teenage years.

    -- The highest WAR season by a teenage 2B in modern history was 0.3 by Joe Cronin in 1926 (27 games at 2B).

    BW, Freddie Lindstrom played just 24 games at 2B in his teens; he played almost exclusively 3B at age 19, when he logged 104 games for the 1925 Giants.

  22. One of the most intriguing teenagers on this list is Johnny Lush, a teammate of young Sherry Magee on the 1904 Phillies.
    http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/l/lushjo01.shtml

    At age 18, Lush played 63 games at 1B, 33 in the OF and 7 as a pitcher. He hit about the same as Magee: 118 OPS+ for Lush, 121 for Magee.

    In 1905, Lush held out for more money and wound up spending most of the year in the minors. He played just 6 games for the Phils, two of them mound starts; he won both games, allowing 3 ER in 17 IP.

    In 1906, Lush was in the Philly rotation all year, and also played 24 games in the field. He went 18-15 on the bump (including a no-hitter), with a 2.54 ERA, 111 ERA+, while batting .264 in 226 PAs (20 points above the league BA).

    In June of 1907, Lush was traded to the Cardinals for Buster Brown, who would finish his career with a .331 W% (51-103), the worst mark of any pitcher with at least 150 decisions. Lush pitched well for the Cards in 1907-08, but the team was the doormat of the NL, losing over 100 games each year; in 1908 Lush had a 2.12 ERA (111 ERA+) but went just 11-18. (Staff ace Bugs Raymond went 15-25, 2.03.)

    After 3-1/2 years, Lush had had enough of losing with the Cardinals, who never got above 7th place. Though he was just 24 and had gone 14-13 in the previous year, he signed to pitch in the American Association, where he would spend the last 6 years of his pro career.

    P.S. Besides Sherry Magee, the 1904 Phils outfield featured two other notable dead-ball batting stars:

    -- Roy Thomas, who led the NL in walks 5 straight years (1900-04) and also in '06, with over 100 walks each time. Thomas had an OBP of at least .416 for 7 straight seasons (1899-05), with a combined .435 OBP (and .310 BA). Thomas also had as little power as any player of the day, averaging 8 doubles, 4 triples and 1 HR in those 7 years. His .413 career OBP is 28th all-time.

    -- John Titus didn't reach the majors until age 27, but for the next 11 years he was a consistently strong hitter, with an OPS+ of at least 119 in 10 of 11 years and a career mark of 127. In his 10th year, the Phils traded him to the Braves, and he was still going strong at age 37 (137 OPS+) when, according to the B-R Bullpen, "he suffered a broken leg in mid-1913," and then was sold to KC in the American Association. While Titus was hitting .343 in the minors, the 1914 Braves were pulling off their "miracle" championship. The next year, the Phillies won their only pennant before 1950. (Magee's luck was even worse than that of Titus; he played for the Phils through 1914, and was traded to the Braves in 1915, just missing the only pennant for each team in a 50-year stretch.

  23. @20 thanks for the compliment. This is based on cumulative performance as a teenager.

  24. [...] is a very good chance he could see some significant time in the majors next year at the age of 19. According to Baseball Reference, only 17 position players have ever played 100 or more games in a season as a teenager (Yount and [...]