There's still time to take an advance look at my piece in the upcoming Sun Magazine about Brady Anderson's career and the road that brought him back into the Orioles organization as Assistant to the Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations, but here's another bit of bonus material from the interviews I did for the article.
Anderson hit 50 home runs in 1996 and remains the only Orioles player ever to reach the half-century mark, but the anomalous nature of that performance, which more than doubled his home run total from any other season, raised some eyebrows -- coming as it did in the middle of baseball's infamous steroid era.
Creatine before it was in widespread use, but he was never implicated in the steroid scandal and he can demonstrate with a few simple examples why his big season wasn't such an unusual event in baseball history.
"The game is replete with players who have had big jumps in home runs,’’ Anderson said. “It’s not hard to go look. I played with Wade Boggs. Talk about percentage-wise, he went from eight to 24 (in 1987) and back to four or five the next year without the rest of his numbers varying. Davey Johnson. Roger Maris. If you look at Davey Johnson’s 1973 season, his was actually more dramatic. When he hit 43, he never hit more than 15 the rest of his career and didn’t hit many home runs at all.”
Johnson, in fact, only hit 136 home runs in his entire 13-year career. Maris hit a total of 100 homers in a two-season span that included his record 61 in 1961, but only hit 175 over the other 10 years of his career.
“I always thought it was interesting, there have been – in the history of baseball – only a few players who have hit 50 homers twice,’’ Anderson said. It’s not unusual to do that one time. What I mean, as hard as it is to do, to have it be curious to someone to not do that twice seems a little bit strange to me.”
Beyond the Mag: Brady puts his 50-homer season in perspective
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