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Good Right off the Bat
Tom Verducci
October 01, 2001
With their stellar seasons, the Cardinals' Albert Pujols (left) and the Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki—who at week's end was leading the American League in batting (.348) and who was eight hits away from the rookie record in that category—have joined a pantheon of players who broke into the majors with a bang. Here, listed chronologically, are some of baseball's best rookie years.
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October 01, 2001

Good Right Off The Bat

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With their stellar seasons, the Cardinals' Albert Pujols (left) and the Mariners' Ichiro Suzuki—who at week's end was leading the American League in batting (.348) and who was eight hits away from the rookie record in that category—have joined a pantheon of players who broke into the majors with a bang. Here, listed chronologically, are some of baseball's best rookie years.

GROVER C. ALEXANDER, RHP, 1911 Phillies
28-13, 2.57 ERA
Old Pete holds record for most wins by a rookie

JOE JACKSON, OF, '11 Indians
.408, 7 HRs 83 RBIs
Shoeless Joe's batting average and his 233 hits are rookie records

LLOYD WANER, OF, '27 Pirates
.355, 2 HRs, 27 RBIs
Little Poison holds rookie record for runs (133) and NL rookie record for hits (223)

WALLY BERGER, OF, '30 Braves
.310, 38 HRs, 119 RBIs
Tied with Frank Robinson for most homers by an NL rookie; his NL rookie RBI mark stood until Pujols (126 through Sunday) broke it

GEORGE WATKINS, OF, '30 Cardinals
.373, 17 HRs, 87 RBIs
In only 119 games, 30-year-old set NL rookie mark for slugging average (.621); went on to hit .288 in seven big league seasons

HAL TROSKY, 1B, '34 Indians
.330, 35 HRs, 142 RBIs
With 45 doubles and 9 triples, still holds record for most extra-base hits by a rookie (89) and is tied with Tony Oliva for most total bases (374)

JOE DiMAGGIO, OF, '36 Yankees
.323, 29 HRs, 125 RBIs
Scored AL rookie-record 132 runs; was fourth in league in total bases (367) and fifth in homers

TED WILLIAMS, OF, '39 Red Sox
.327, 31 HRs, 145 RBIs
Set rookie marks for RBIs and walks (107)

WALT DROPO, 1B, '50 Red Sox
.322, 34 HRs, 144 RBIs
Career year; in 11 subsequent seasons batted .263 and hit 118 home runs

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