Dave Nelson, shown here on card number 241 of the 1971 Topps set, split the 1971 season between Triple A and Washington. He appeared in 50 games for the Triple A Denver Bears and in 85 for the Senators.
84 of Dave's 85 Major League appearances were at third base. In spite of his time in the minors he had more time at the hot corner than any other Senator. In the 714.1 innings he played there he saw 240 chances and muffed 14 of them for a fielding percentage of .938. That was 19 points lower than the league average.
At the plate things were starting to look up for Dave. His batting average jumped 121 points to .280. He also posted career highs in on base percentage (.328) and slugging percentage (.377). In his 358 plate appearances he would walk 23 times and strike out 29. He would also score 47 runs and tap in 41 RBI on the season. His eleven doubles were the first time in his four MLB seasons that he had broken double digits in that area. He also hit his first career home run plus four more.
All in all 1971 wasn't all that bad a season for Dave Nelson. He appeared to be establishing himself and learning how to handle Major League pitchers. Things were looking up for him and he was one of the few bright spots on the team. Now all he had to do was build on his success by bringing his defense up a bit.