Another poor picture today on card number 223 of the 1974 Topps set. Jeff Burroughs' face is so obscured by shadow that it's hard to make out his features. Not that getting a good shot should have been hard, by the looks of things this was a day game.
Despite his poor cardboard showing, Jeff had an awesome year in 1974. The Rangers' first-string right fielder played in 152 games that year. And what a 152 games they were.
Burroughs destroyed American League pitching. In 662 plate appearances he posted a .301 batting average (8th in the league) and a .397 on-base percentage (3rd in the league). His slugging percentage was .504 (3rd in the league). Jeff drew 91 walks (3rd in the league) and hit 25 home runs (4th in the league) and 33 doubles (5th in the league). His 118 RBI led the American League. Perhaps the 12 intentional walks he drew that season were an indicator of what opposing managers thought of his offensive skills. Only four players were intentionally walked more.
As a result of this performance Burroughs won the American League MVP award by an overwhelming majority. He was the only player mentioned on every ballot and beat second place Joe Rudi by 86.5 points in the voting. Other top vote getters included Sal Bando, Reggie Jackson, Catfish Hunter, and Fergie Jenkins. Pretty impressive company and stiff competition for the MVP award. This award was historic stuff. No other player from an expansion team had ever won the MVP award. In just his second full season in the majors Jeff Burroughs appeared to have broken out in a big way.