Player-Seasonal Notation, 1946-2005

Last time, we used Player-Seasonal Notation as a means of illustrating the dramatic changes in run production conditions in major league baseball through the Second World War. Now, we take a look at what’s happened up to the present day.

Era 11, 1946-1954: The Postwar Home Run Derby

Following the war, with both leagues standardized on a lively ball. The trends that had appeared in the late 1930s and early 1940s – declining batting average, increasing home runs and strikeouts — reasserted themselves, in both leagues.

National League 1946-1954

Team              AB    R    H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  BB  SO  SB  CS   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
1953 Dodgers     597  106  170  30   7  23   99  73  76  10   5 .285 .362 .474 .836
1949 Dodgers     600   98  164  26   5  17   91  71  63  13   ? .274 .350 .419 .769
1950 Dodgers     596   94  162  27   5  22   86  67  70   9   ? .272 .346 .444 .790

1946-54 Average  588   77  154  25   5  13    ?  61  67   5   ? .261 .330 .389 .719

1952 Pirates     577   57  133  20   3  10   53  54  80   5   5 .231 .297 .331 .628
1946 Reds        588   58  140  23   4   7   53  55  67   9   ? .239 .303 .327 .630
1946 Pirates     578   61  144  22   6   7   56  66  62   5   ? .250 .327 .344 .671

American League 1946-1954

Team              AB    R    H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  BB  SO  SB  CS   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
1950 Red Sox     613  114  185  32   7  18  108  80  65   4   2 .302 .382 .464 .846
1950 Yankees     596  102  168  26   8  18   96  76  51   5   3 .282 .363 .441 .804
1948 Red Sox     596  101  163  31   4  13   95  91  61   4   2 .274 .371 .409 .780

1946-54 Average  586   77  153  25   5  11    ?  68  66   5   4 .261 .337 .377 .714

1954 Orioles     578   54  145  22   5   6   50  52  70   3   3 .251 .313 .338 .651
1947 Senators    568   55  137  21   5   5   51  58  59   6   6 .241 .312 .321 .633
1946 A's         578   59  146  24   6   4   54  54  66   4   3 .253 .317 .338 .655

Though the two leagues scored at equal rates, the distinctly different cultural character between them was clearly evident, with AL batters continuing to draw significantly more walks (as we explored here). In both leagues, the stolen base reached its nadir in this period.

Era 12, 1955-1962: The Rise of the Strikeout

With franchise shifts and expansion dramatically altering the scope of the sport, the prevailing trends in style of play only intensified. Home runs continued to fly at ever-greater rates, as batting averages dwindled. Strikeouts spiraled upward, dwarfing all previous rates.

One longstanding trend was reversed, as stolen bases, which had been declining since 1920, finally revived a bit.

National League 1955-1962

Team              AB    R    H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  BB   SO  SB  CS   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
1955 Dodgers     577   95  156  26   5  22   89  75   80   9   6 .271 .355 .448 .803
1962 Giants      621   98  172  26   4  23   90  58   91   8   6 .278 .340 .441 .781
1962 Dodgers     625   94  168  21   7  16   87  64   98  22   5 .268 .336 .400 .736

1955-62 Average  590   76  153  24   5  16    ?  56   88   6   4 .259 .324 .400 .724

1956 Giants      577   60  141  21   5  16   55  45   73   7   4 .244 .299 .382 .681
1960 Phillies    574   61  137  22   5  11   56  50  117   5   5 .239 .300 .351 .651
1962 Colt .45s   618   66  152  19   5  12   61  55   90   5   3 .246 .308 .351 .659

American League 1955-1962

Team              AB    R    H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  BB  SO  SB  CS   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
1956 Yankees     590   95  159  21   6  21   88  68  84   6   4 .270 .346 .434 .780
1961 Tigers      618   93  165  24   6  20   87  75  96  11   4 .266 .346 .421 .767
1956 Tigers      596   88  166  23   6  17   83  72  69   5   3 .279 .356 .420 .776

1955-62 Average  589   76  151  23   4  15    ?  63  84   5   4 .256 .327 .388 .715

1958 Orioles     568   58  137  22   2  12   55  54  81   4   4 .241 .307 .350 .657
1955 Orioles     584   60  140  20   4   6   56  62  82   4   5 .240 .313 .320 .633
1959 Orioles     579   61  138  20   3  12   57  60  77   4   3 .238 .309 .345 .654

The Baltimore Orioles of this period were a very interesting team. They played in a poor hitters’ park, and under manager Paul Richards, they compounded the effect by stressing pitching and defense over batting prowess. The result was, obviously, a consistently very-low-scoring lineup. But the team was nevertheless steadily improving, transforming itself from its former St. Louis Browns doormat status into a contender by 1960, and Richards, who had already been instrumental in turning the Chicago White Sox franchise around, earned tremendous respect.

Era 13, 1963-1968: The Swinging (and Missing) Sixties

In a monumentally ill-conceived action, the strike zone was expanded in 1963 (a circumstance we examined here and here). Strikeouts climbed beyond even their previous record-setting levels, walks plummeted, and hitting and scoring declined, eventually sinking to pre-1920 levels.

National League 1963-1968

Team              AB    R    H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  BB   SO  SB  CS   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
1965 Reds        629   92  172  30   7  20   86  60  111   9   4 .273 .336 .439 .775
1964 Braves      621   89  169  30   4  18   84  54   92   6   5 .272 .330 .418 .748
1966 Braves      624   87  164  24   4  23   82  57  101   7   5 .263 .324 .424 .748

1963-68 Average  613   70  153  23   5  13    ?  50  105   8   5 .249 .306 .367 .673

1963 Colt .45s   598   52  132  19   4   7   47  51  104   4   3 .220 .281 .301 .582
1968 Dodgers     595   52  137  22   4   7   48  49  109   6   5 .230 .289 .319 .608
1968 Mets        611   53  139  20   3   9   48  42  134   8   5 .228 .277 .315 .592

American League 1963-1968

Team              AB    R    H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  BB   SO  SB  CS   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
1965 Twins       610   86  155  29   5  17   79  62  108  10   4 .254 .323 .399 .722
1963 Twins       615   85  156  25   4  25   80  61  101   4   2 .255 .322 .430 .752
1966 Orioles     614   84  158  27   4  19   78  57  103   6   5 .258 .321 .409 .730

1963-68 Average  605   69  145  22   4  15    ?  56  107   7   4 .240 .305 .365 .670

1968 White Sox   601   51  137  19   4   8   48  44   93  10   6 .228 .281 .311 .592
1968 Angels      592   55  134  19   4   9   50  50  120   7   6 .227 .287 .318 .605
1967 Yankees     605   58  136  18   2  11   53  59  116   7   4 .225 .294 .317 .611

The differing character between the leagues remained as dramatic as ever, despite the fact that the two leagues scored at just about exactly the same rate overall. They manufactured their meager stock of runs in distinctly different ways: the average NL batter hit .249 while his AL counterpart hit just .240, with the American Leaguer producing fewer doubles, fewer triples, more homers, and over 10% more bases on balls.

In major league history, the place in which one was least likely to witness a single was the American League of 1963 through 1968.

Era 14, 1969-1976: The Bumptious Seventies

In the wake of the extremely low-scoring 1968, the strike zone in 1969 was returned to its pre-1963 dimensions, and the pitchers’ mound was lowered. Scoring revived, though not dramatically, as the other factors contributing to the long-term decline remained: new parks that consistently favored pitchers, ever-more night games, and ever-more sophisticated use of bullpens. In desperation, in 1973 the AL invoked the Designated Hitter.

National League 1969-1976

Team              AB    R    H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  BB   SO  SB  CS   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
1976 Reds        634   95  178  30   7  16   89  76  100  23   6 .280 .357 .424 .781
1975 Reds        620   93  168  31   4  14   87  77  102  19   4 .271 .352 .401 .753
1970 Giants      620   92  162  29   4  18   86  81  112   9   3 .262 .347 .409 .756

1969-76 Average  609   74  155  24   4  13    ?  60   97  10   6 .255 .321 .373 .695
 
1969 Padres      595   52  134  20   5  11   48  47  127   5   5 .225 .281 .329 .610
1971 Padres      596   54  139  20   3  11   50  49  107   8   5 .233 .291 .332 .623
1972 Padres      579   54  131  19   4  11   50  45  108   9   5 .227 .283 .332 .615

American League 1969-1976

Team              AB    R    H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  BB   SO  SB  CS   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
1975 Red Sox     605   88  167  32   5  15   84  63   82   7   6 .275 .343 .417 .760
1970 Orioles     616   88  158  24   3  20   83  80  106   9   4 .257 .342 .401 .743
1969 Twins       631   88  169  27   4  18   81  67  101  13   8 .268 .338 .408 .746

1969-76 Average  604   73  153  24   4  14    ?  60   93  10   6 .253 .320 .372 .693

1972 Angels      574   50  139  19   3   9   47  40   94   6   4 .242 .291 .330 .621
1972 Rangers     559   51  121  18   2   6   47  56  103  14   8 .217 .288 .290 .578
1972 Indians     579   52  136  21   2  10   49  47   85   5   6 .234 .291 .330 .621

The DH certainly helped. But most significantly, in both leagues, the nature of offense changed, as for the first time in decades, strikeouts declined. Batting averages were up a bit, home runs down a bit (especially with a distinctly less lively Haiti-produced baseball in 1974 through 1976), and stolen bases strongly on the rise.

Era 15, 1977-1984: The Golden Mean

In 1977, with expansion and with a renewed liveliness to the ball, hitters enjoyed the highest home run rate since 1962, and the highest scoring rate since 1961. But base stealing rates continued to grow. MLB entered a period of exceptional balance: while home runs and stolen bases thrived, hitters didn’t dominate, as many historically outstanding pitching performances were achieved as well. Scoring stabilized at rates very close to the historical mean.

National League 1977-1984 

Team              AB    R    H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  BB   SO  SB  CS   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
1977 Phillies    616   94  172  30   6  21   88  64   90  15   8 .279 .347 .448 .795
1977 Reds        614   89  168  30   5  20   83  67  101  19   7 .274 .345 .436 .781
1979 Pirates     629   86  171  29   6  16   79  54   95  20   7 .272 .329 .416 .745

1977-84 Average  585   71  151  25   4  12    ?  55   91  15   7 .257 .321 .376 .698

1982 Reds        609   61  153  25   4   9   55  52   91  15   8 .251 .310 .350 .660
1982 Astros      604   63  149  26   5   8   59  48   92  16   7 .247 .302 .349 .651
1980 Giants      596   64  146  22   5   9   60  57   93  11   6 .244 .310 .342 .652

American League 1977-1984

Team              AB    R    H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  BB  SO  SB   CS   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
1982 Brewers     637   99  178  31   5  24   94  54  79   9    6 .279 .335 .455 .790
1977 Twins       627   96  176  30   7  14   89  63  84  12    7 .282 .347 .417 .764
1979 Angels      617   96  174  27   5  18   90  65  94  11    6 .282 .351 .429 .780

1977-84 Average  588   76  156  26   4  14    ?  55  82  11    6 .265 .327 .396 .724

1978 A's         591   59  145  22   3  11   55  48  89  16   13 .245 .302 .351 .653
1983 Mariners    593   62  142  27   3  12   60  51  93  16    9 .240 .300 .360 .660
1979 A's         594   64  142  21   4  12   60  54  83  12    8 .239 .302 .346 .648

All in all, it was a remarkable period. Within the span of 1977 through 1984, seasons of moderate scoring:

- A batter hit .390, and another hit .388.
- Two pitchers had more than 300 strikeouts.
- A batter hit over 50 home runs.
- Two pitchers won 25 games.
- A batter had 239 hits, the most since 1930.
- A pitcher threw 9 shutouts.
- A batter had 406 total bases, the most since 1948.
- A pitcher had a 342-inning season.
- A batter hit 54 doubles, the most since 1950.
- A pitcher had 28 complete games.
- A batter hit 20 triples, the most since 1957.
- Two pitchers had 90-game seasons.
- A baserunner stole 130 bases, the all-time record.
- Two pitchers had 45 saves.

Era 16, 1985-1987: A Hint of Things to Come

In 1985-86, in both leagues, walks suddenly increased significantly over early ’80s rates, and home runs and scoring ticked upward. The AL set a league home run rate record in ’85, and topped it in ’86. The NL in 1986 had its biggest scoring year since 1979, and biggest home run year since 1977. Then in 1987, both leagues spiked upward from the already-high 1986 rates.

National League 1985-1987 

Team              AB    R    H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  BB   SO  SB  CS   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
1987 Mets        622   91  167  32   4  21   86  66  112  18   5 .268 .338 .434 .772
1987 Cardinals   611   89  161  28   5  10   83  72  104  28   8 .263 .341 .378 .719
1987 Reds        618   87  164  29   3  21   83  57  103  19   5 .266 .328 .427 .755

1985-87 Average  611   76  156  28   4  15    ?  60  105  16   7 .255 .322 .386 .708

1985 Giants      602   62  140  24   3  13   57  54  107  11   6 .233 .296 .348 .644
1985 Pirates    604   63  149  28   3   9   59  57   94  12   7 .247 .312 .347 .659
1986 Cardinals   598   67  141  24   5   6   61  63  101  29   9 .236 .309 .327 .636

American League 1985-1987 

Team              AB    R    H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  BB   SO  SB  CS   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
1987 Tigers      628  100  171  30   4  25   93  73  101  12   6 .272 .347 .451 .798
1987 Brewers     625   96  172  30   5  18   92  66  116  20   8 .276 .345 .428 .773
1987 Blue Jays   626   94  168  31   4  24   88  62  108  14   6 .269 .334 .446 .780

1985-87 Average  615   84  161  28   4  19    ?  61  101  12   6 .263 .329 .413 .742

1985 Rangers     596   69  151  24   5  14   64  59   91  14   8 .253 .321 .381 .702
1986 White Sox   601   72  148  22   4  13   67  54  104  13   6 .247 .309 .363 .672
1986 Royals      618   73  156  29   5  15   69  53  102  11   5 .252 .311 .390 .701

It was a mode of baseball never quite seen before. Home runs, walks, strikeouts, and stolen bases were all at or near historical highs. There was rampant speculation that the ball had suddenly been “juiced” in 1987, but there’s little evidence to support that claim, especially in light of what quickly followed.

Era 17, 1988-1992: The Suspension of the Trend

In response to the record home run rates of 1987, and with a broader sense that umpires had been increasingly neglecting to enforce the rule book strike zone — the de facto strike zone had appeared to have moved low and outside — MLB instituted strict new requirements to call the high strike. The impacts were immediate and dramatic, though perhaps surprising: strikeouts didn’t increase, but walks declined, as did home runs and scoring.

National League 1988-1992

Team              AB    R    H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  BB   SO  SB  CS   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
1990 Mets        612   86  157  31   2  19   82  60   95  12   4 .256 .322 .408 .730
1991 Pirates     605   85  159  29   6  14   81  69  100  14   5 .263 .338 .398 .736
1991 Braves      606   83  156  28   3  16   78  63  101  18   8 .258 .327 .393 .720

1988-92 Average  608   72  152  27   4  13    ?  56  104  15   7 .250 .314 .370 .685

1992 Dodgers     596   61  148  22   4   8   55  56  100  16   9 .248 .313 .339 .652
1989 Dodgers     607   62  146  27   2  10   57  56   98   9   6 .240 .305 .339 .644
1988 Braves      604   62  147  25   3  11   59  48   94  11   8 .242 .298 .348 .646

American League 1988-1992

Team              AB    R    H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  BB   SO  SB  CS   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
1991 Rangers     634   92  171  32   3  20   86  66  115  11   6 .270 .339 .424 .763
1991 Tigers      616   91  152  29   3  23   86  78  132  12   5 .247 .332 .416 .748
1988 Red Sox     616   90  174  34   4  14   84  69   81   7   4 .283 .355 .420 .775

1988-92 Average  612   78  159  28   3  15    ?  60   99  12   6 .260 .326 .389 .714

1988 Orioles     595   61  142  22   2  15   57  56   97   8   5 .238 .303 .359 .662
1991 Indians     608   64  154  26   3   9   61  50   99   9   6 .254 .311 .350 .661
1992 Angels      596   64  145  22   2  10   60  46   98  18  11 .243 .298 .338 .636

Overall, the offensive profile was quite close to that of the early 1980s. The sudden 1985-87 ramp-up in power hitting had been thwarted, simply by enforcement of the rule-book strike zone. But clouds were gathering on the horizon.

Era 18, 1993-2000: The Perfect Storm

Beginning in 1993, a potent brew of conditions swirled together:

1. Expansions had always coincided with short-term spikes in scoring before, and two expansions were undertaken in a six-year span.
2. A wave of new hitter-friendly ballparks was introduced (including the hitter-friendliest location in major league history, Denver).
3. Batters avidly embraced weight-training (often likely steroid-enhanced) and were significantly stronger than ever before, buggy-whipping light, thin-handled bats, generating a commonplace demonstration of bat speed and opposite-field power never seen before.
4. Rules restricted pitchers’ capacity to pitch inside, and batters crowded the plate as never before, “diving in” to hit the outside pitch with power.
5. Increasingly willful and belligerent umpires relapsed in their willingness to call the high strike.

Many suspected that the ball was livelier than ever before as well, though this is far less clear. In any case, the result was a home run derby dwarfing all others, and despite record-high strikeout rates, scoring that approached the highest levels ever seen: the 2000 season, in fact, was the highest-scoring for the two leagues combined since 1930.

National League 1993-2000

Team             AB    R    H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  BB   SO  SB  CS   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
2000 Rockies    629  108  185  36   6  18  101  67  101  15   7 .294 .362 .455 .817
1996 Rockies    621  107  179  33   4  25  101  59  123  22   7 .287 .349 .472 .821
2000 Astros     619  104  172  32   4  28  100  75  125  13   6 .278 .361 .477 .838

1993-2000 Avg.  585   80  155  29   4  17    ?  58  112  13   6 .264 .331 .414 .745

1993 Marlins    608   65  151  22   3  10   60  55  117  13   6 .248 .310 .346 .656
1995 Cardinals  531   63  131  26   3  12   59  48  102   9   5 .247 .310 .374 .684
1998 Expos      602   72  150  31   4  16   67  49  118  10   5 .249 .305 .394 .699

American League 1993-2000

Team             AB    R    H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  BB   SO  SB  CS   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
1999 Indians    626  112  181  34   4  23  107  83  122  16   6 .289 .372 .467 .839
1996 Mariners   630  110  181  38   2  27  106  74  117  10   4 .287 .362 .484 .846
2000 White Sox  627  109  179  36   4  24  103  66  107  13   5 .286 .356 .470 .826

1993-2000 Avg.  590   87  161  31   3  19    ?  62  105  11   5 .273 .342 .432 .774

1998 Devil Rays 617   69  161  30   5  12   64  53  123  13   8 .261 .319 .385 .704
1997 Blue Jays  608   73  148  31   5  16   70  54  126  15   6 .244 .305 .389 .694
1993 Royals     614   75  162  33   4  14   71  48  104  11   8 .263 .316 .397 .713

Thus, MLB muscled its way through a period of bitter labor strife with a power-centric mode of play that the ticket-buying public generally appreciated. But there were some voices of complaint amid the “arena ball” din: those who decried the suspected widespread steroid use, those who despaired that umpires were fashioning their own individualized rule book, and those who found the endless round of raucous slugfests to deliver little of the sport’s nuance, elegance, and tension.

Era 19, 2001-2005: In Quest(ec) of Moderation

Beginning in 2001, as part of MLB’s reassertion of authority over umpires, another crackdown on enforcement of the rule book strike zone began. This time it incorporated deployment of a laser/computer program of tracking pitches, provided by a firm called QuesTec. Whatever the validity of the QuesTec system, the impact of the effort was undeniable: walks were reduced (by 15% from 2000 to 2001), strikeouts slightly increased, and scoring rates tempered (from 4.96 runs per team/game in 1996-2000, to 4.71 over past five seasons). Still, MLB in 2001-2005 remains in a distinctly high-scoring mode, with, interestingly, doubles at record rates in both leagues.

National League 2001-2005

Team             AB    R    H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  BB   SO  SB  CS   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
2001 Rockies    632  103  185  36   7  24   97  57  114  15   6 .292 .354 .483 .837
2003 Braves     630  101  179  36   3  26   97  61  104   8   2 .284 .349 .475 .824
2003 Cardinals  630   97  176  38   4  22   92  64  106   9   4 .279 .350 .454 .804

2001-05 Avg.    613   82  160  32   3  19    ?  60  120  10   4 .261 .328 .418 .746

2003 Dodgers    606   64  148  29   3  14   60  45  109   9   4 .243 .303 .368 .671
2004 D-backs    616   68  156  33   4  15   65  49  114   6   4 .253 .310 .393 .703
2002 Brewers    602   70  152  30   3  15   66  56  125  10   6 .253 .320 .390 .710

American League 2001-2005

Team             AB    R    H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  BB   SO  SB  CS   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
2003 Red Sox    641  107  185  41   4  26  104  69  105  10   4 .289 .360 .491 .851
2004 Red Sox    636  105  179  41   3  25  101  73  132   8   3 .282 .360 .472 .832
2001 Mariners   631  103  182  34   4  19   98  68  110  19   5 .288 .360 .445 .805

2001-2005 Avg.  621   87  166  33   3  20    ?  57  112  11   5 .267 .330 .428 .757

2002 Tigers     601   64  149  29   4  14   61  40  115   7   5 .248 .300 .379 .679
2003 Tigers     607   66  146  22   4  17   61  49  122  11   7 .240 .300 .375 .675
2002 Orioles    610   74  150  35   3  18   71  50  110  12   5 .246 .309 .403 .712

1893-2005 At a Glance

Three Highest-Scoring Lineups, National League:

Period      AB    R    H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  BB   SO  SB  CS   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
1893-1897  547  131  187  29  14   7  111  57   26  31   ? .341 .403 .481 .884
1898-1903  575  102  172  21  10   3   84  53   34  27   ? .298 .358 .382 .740
1904-1910  572   84  153  20   9   4   67  51    ?  28   ? .268 .328 .355 .684
1911-1913  565   87  155  26  10   5   73  61   64  26   ? .274 .346 .385 .731
1914-1919  576   73  149  22   7   4   62  49   60  20   ? .259 .317 .342 .659
1920-1928  604   98  185  31  11   9   88  51   41  14   7 .305 .359 .437 .796
1929-1930  613  111  189  37   8  15  104  61   63   9   ? .308 .371 .468 .839
1931-1936  609   93  175  34   7  11   86  49   57   8   ? .288 .341 .421 .761
1937-1941  604   90  168  30   8  10   83  63   56   7   ? .279 .346 .405 .751
1942-1945  607   86  166  29   6   8   79  63   52   6   ? .273 .341 .383 .724
1946-1954  598   99  165  28   6  21   92  70   70  11   ? .277 .353 .446 .799
1955-1962  608   95  165  24   5  20   88  66   90  13   6 .272 .343 .429 .772
1963-1968  625   89  168  28   5  20   84  57  102   7   5 .269 .330 .427 .757
1969-1976  624   94  169  30   5  16   87  78  105  17   4 .271 .352 .412 .764
1977-1984  620   90  170  30   6  19   84  61   95  18   7 .275 .340 .433 .773
1985-1987  617   89  164  30   4  18   84  65  106  21   6 .266 .335 .413 .749
1988-1992  608   85  157  29   4  16   80  64   98  15   6 .259 .329 .400 .729
1993-2000  623  106  178  34   5  23  101  67  116  17   7 .286 .355 .468 .823
2001-2005  631  100  180  37   5  24   95  61  108  10   4 .285 .347 .471 .818

1893-2005  601   95  169  29   7  13   86  60   75  16   6 .282 .347 .419 .766

Three Highest-Scoring Lineups, American League:

Period      AB    R    H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  BB   SO  SB  CS   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
1901-1903  532   89  151  24   9   4   74  41   36  24   ? .284 .336 .385 .721
1904-1910  570   76  151  21   9   2   61  44    ?  24   ? .264 .317 .345 .662
1911-1913  576   92  166  27  10   3   74  54    ?  25   ? .288 .349 .389 .738
1914-1919  553   81  152  22   9   3   68  61   52  23   ? .275 .347 .363 .710
1920-1928  592  105  181  34  10  12   97  68   57   8   6 .305 .377 .461 .838
1929-1930  607  109  182  35  10  14  101  65   59   9   6 .301 .369 .464 .833
1931-1936  618  116  182  32   9  18  109  82   62  11   6 .294 .377 .465 .842
1937-1941  600  108  169  31   7  19  102  80   65   8   4 .281 .366 .451 .817
1942-1945  591   85  161  28   6  10   79  63   58   7   5 .272 .342 .392 .734
1946-1954  601  105  172  30   6  16  100  83   59   4   2 .286 .372 .438 .810
1955-1962  601   92  163  23   6  19   86  72   83   7   4 .271 .349 .425 .774
1963-1968  613   85  157  27   4  20   79  60  104   7   3 .256 .322 .413 .734
1969-1976  617   88  165  28   4  18   83  70   96  10   6 .267 .341 .409 .750
1977-1984  627   97  176  29   5  19   91  61   86  11   6 .281 .344 .434 .778
1985-1987  626   96  170  30   4  22   91  67  108  15   6 .272 .342 .441 .784
1988-1992  622   91  166  32   4  19   86  71  109  10   5 .267 .342 .420 .762
1993-2000  628  110  180  36   3  25  105  74  115  13   5 .287 .363 .473 .836
2001-2005  636  105  182  39   4  23  101  70  116  12   4 .286 .357 .470 .827

1901-2005  601   96  168  29   7  15   88  66   79  13   5 .280 .351 .426 .777

Average Lineup, National League:

Period      AB    R    H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  BB   SO  SB  CS   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
1893-1897  524   95  154  22  10   4    ?  49   32  27   ? .293 .354 .397 .751
1898-1903  551   77  149  19   8   3    ?  42    ?  21   ? .271 .323 .349 .672
1904-1910  561   64  139  18   7   2    ?  47    ?  21   ? .247 .305 .319 .624
1911-1913  572   75  151  23   9   4    ?  54   65  22   ? .265 .328 .360 .688
1914-1919  545   60  137  19   8   3    ?  42   58  17   ? .251 .305 .331 .636
1920-1928  591   79  168  26   8   7    ?  47   48  10   ? .284 .336 .392 .728
1929-1930  602   95  180  32   8  11    ?  53   51   8   ? .299 .356 .437 .793
1931-1936  601   77  166  29   6   8    ?  46   55   6   ? .276 .327 .386 .713
1937-1941  592   75  158  27   6   9    ?  53   60   6   ? .267 .327 .376 .703
1942-1945  590   71  152  25   5   7    ?  56   56   6   ? .258 .323 .354 .677
1946-1954  588   77  154  25   5  13    ?  61   67   5   ? .261 .330 .389 .719
1955-1962  590   76  153  24   5  16    ?  56   88   6   4 .259 .324 .400 .724
1963-1968  613   70  153  23   5  13    ?  50  105   8   5 .249 .306 .367 .673
1969-1976  609   74  155  24   4  13    ?  60   97  10   6 .255 .321 .373 .695
1977-1984  585   71  151  25   4  12    ?  55   91  15   7 .257 .321 .376 .698
1985-1987  611   76  156  28   4  15    ?  60  105  16   7 .255 .322 .386 .708
1988-1992  608   72  152  27   4  13    ?  56  104  15   7 .250 .314 .370 .685
1993-2000  585   80  155  29   4  17    ?  58  112  13   6 .264 .331 .414 .745
2001-2005  613   82  160  32   3  19    ?  60  120  10   4 .261 .328 .418 .746

1893-2005  586   76  155  25   6  10    ?  53   77  13   6 .264 .325 .379 .704

Average Lineup, American League:

Period      AB    R    H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  BB   SO  SB  CS   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
1901-1903  526   73  141  22   9   3    ?  36   45  18   ? .252 .307 .324 .630
1904-1910  565   62  138  19   7   2    ?  40    ?  20   ? .244 .294 .313 .607
1911-1913  565   74  149  22   9   2    ?  51    ?  24   ? .265 .326 .347 .673
1914-1919  540   62  136  20   8   2    ?  52   59  18   ? .252 .318 .329 .647
1920-1928  586   84  168  30   8   6    ?  56   49  10   8 .286 .348 .397 .745
1929-1930  591   89  169  32   9   9    ?  56   53   9   6 .286 .348 .414 .762
1931-1936  601   89  168  31   7   9    ?  62   56   7   5 .279 .347 .402 .749
1937-1941  596   88  164  30   7  11    ?  66   62   7   5 .276 .347 .407 .754
1942-1945  585   69  149  24   5   7    ?  58   59   7   5 .255 .323 .349 .672
1946-1954  586   77  153  25   5  11    ?  68   66   5   4 .261 .337 .377 .714
1955-1962  589   76  151  23   4  15    ?  63   84   5   4 .256 .327 .388 .715
1963-1968  605   69  145  22   4  15    ?  56  107   7   4 .240 .305 .365 .670
1969-1976  604   73  153  24   4  14    ?  60   93  10   6 .253 .320 .372 .693
1977-1984  588   76  156  26   4  14    ?  55   82  11   6 .265 .327 .396 .724
1985-1987  615   84  161  28   4  19    ?  61  101  12   6 .263 .329 .413 .742
1988-1992  612   78  159  28   3  15    ?  60   99  12   6 .260 .326 .389 .714
1993-2000  590   87  161  31   3  19    ?  62  105  11   5 .273 .342 .432 .774
2001-2005  621   87  166  33   3  20    ?  57  112  11   5 .267 .330 .428 .757
                
1901-2005  587   78  155  26   6  11    ?  57   77  11   5 .264 .329 .383 .712

Three Lowest-Scoring Lineups, National League:

Period      AB    R    H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  BB   SO  SB  CS   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
1893-1897  509   68  135  16   8   4   55  39   39  20   ? .264 .317 .351 .668
1898-1903  536   52  132  15   5   1   44  33   48  16   ? .246 .290 .296 .587
1904-1910  547   43  121  14   6   2   35  36    ?  13   ? .221 .268 .281 .549
1911-1913  563   62  142  18   8   3   52  46   67  20   ? .252 .308 .331 .638
1914-1919  570   53  137  17   8   2   45  41   68  19   ? .241 .291 .310 .602
1920-1928  582   58  150  19   8   2   51  41   50  13  10 .258 .307 .333 .640
1929-1930  585   74  164  29   8   5   68  47   47   9   ? .281 .334 .385 .718
1931-1936  581   59  146  24   6   5   54  39   45   4   ? .252 .299 .336 .634
1937-1941  576   57  141  22   4   7   53  48   60   5   ? .245 .304 .332 .636
1942-1945  568   51  133  21   3   6   47  49   59   5   ? .235 .296 .314 .611
1946-1954  581   59  139  22   4   8   54  58   70   6   ? .240 .309 .334 .643
1955-1962  590   62  143  21   5  13   57  50   93   6   4 .243 .302 .361 .663
1963-1968  602   52  136  20   4   8   48  47  116   6   4 .226 .282 .312 .594
1969-1976  590   53  135  20   4  11   49  47  114   7   5 .228 .285 .331 .616
1977-1984  603   62  149  25   5   9   58  52   92  14   7 .247 .307 .347 .654
1985-1987  601   64  143  25   4   9   59  58  100  17   7 .239 .306 .341 .646
1988-1992  603   61  147  25   3  10   57  53   97  12   7 .244 .305 .342 .647
1993-2000  580   66  144  26   3  13   62  51  112  11   5 .248 .309 .371 .680
2001-2005  608   67  152  31   3  15   64  50  116   8   4 .250 .307 .384 .690
                              
1893-2005  578   59  142  22   5   7   53  47   77  11   6 .245 .302 .337 .638

Three Lowest-Scoring Lineups, American League:

Period      AB    R    H  2B  3B  HR  RBI  BB   SO  SB  CS   BA  OBP  SLG  OPS
1901-1903  516   54  124  19   7   2   45  32   57  15   ? .241 .285 .314 .599
1904-1910  559   47  127  16   5   1   37  35    ?  16   ? .227 .272 .281 .553
1911-1913  546   57  129  18   7   2   47  51   72  21   ? .237 .302 .305 .608
1914-1919  547   52  132  19   8   3   43  43   67  16   ? .242 .297 .319 .616
1920-1928  579   63  148  27   6   4   56  45   56   6   8 .256 .310 .344 .653
1929-1930  581   68  155  29   8   4   62  44   55   9   7 .266 .318 .364 .682
1931-1936  596   68  155  31   6   5   63  50   58   8   6 .261 .318 .357 .675
1937-1941  595   73  155  28   7   7   66  55   59   9   5 .260 .323 .370 .693
1942-1945  587   56  144  20   5   4   51  48   53   5   4 .245 .302 .313 .615
1946-1954  575   56  143  22   5   5   52  55   65   5   4 .249 .314 .332 .646
1955-1962  577   60  138  21   3  10   56  58   80   4   4 .240 .310 .338 .648
1963-1968  599   55  136  19   3   9   50  51  110   8   5 .227 .287 .315 .602
1969-1976  570   51  132  19   2   8   48  47   94   9   6 .231 .290 .317 .607
1977-1984  593   62  143  24   3  12   58  51   89  15  10 .241 .301 .352 .654
1985-1987  605   71  152  25   4  14   67  55   99  13   7 .251 .314 .378 .692
1988-1992  600   63  147  24   2  11   59  51   98  12   8 .245 .304 .349 .653
1993-2000  613   72  157  31   4  14   68  51  118  13   7 .256 .314 .390 .704
2001-2005  606   68  148  29   4  16   64  47  116  10   6 .245 .299 .386 .685

1901-2005  580   61  143  23   5   7   55  48   79  11   6 .246 .304 .341 .645

References & Resources
A brilliant exploration of the various elements fueling MLB’s offensive boom of the 1990s/2000s is Howard Bryant’s Juicing the Game: Drugs, Power, and the Fight for the Soul of Major League Baseball, New York: Viking, 2005.

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