Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Greatest Pairs of Sluggers

In an earlier entry I discussed the greatest outfields of all time and I may in future write about the best infields, but what are the greatest slugging partners in baseball history?

There have been a number of sluggers who have had no one else with a lot of pop to protect them in the lineup. Joe Jackson, Rogers Hornsby, Mel Ott, Ted Williams, Stan Musial, Bobby Bonds, and now Jose Batista come to mind. I'm sure readers can come up with others, but here are some of the most dynamic duos ever.

The most famous and probably most fearsome of course would be Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, who were teammates from 1923 through 1934 but really at their peak from ’25 to ’33.

Prior to them the Pirates had Fred Clarke supporting Honus Wagner and at the same time in the junior circuit the Tigers featured Ty Cobb and Sam Crawford. Neither Clarke nor Crawford hit too many homers but they had a helluva lotta doubles and triples many of which would have left the playing area in modern stadia.

In the ’30s slugging pairs included Gabby Hartnett and Hack Wilson of the Cubs, who combined for 93 homers in 1930, Al Simmons and Jimmie Foxx of the A’s, and Lou Gehrig and Joe Dimaggio.

In the ’40s there were Ken Keltner and Joe Gordon of the Indians.

In the ’50s there were Hank Aaron and Eddie Matthews of the Braves and Mantle and Berra of the Yankees.

In the 60s there were Mantle and Maris and Mays and McCovey and Bob Allison and Harmon Killebrew of the Twins.

In the ’70s there were Willie Stargell and Dave Parker in Pittsburgh and the Reds had a fearsome foursome of Johnny Bench, Tony Perez, George Foster, and Joe Morgan.

In the ’90s there were Jeff Bagwell and Craig Biggio of the Astros.

In the 2000s the Red Sox had David Ortiz and Manny Ramirez and later the Phillies had Ryan Howard and Chase Utley. I’m sure you can come up with a few other powerful pairs that I have omitted.

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