Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Best Seasons: Toby Harrah - 1985.

Number 37 in T.R. Sullivan's list of the Top 50 Seasons in Rangers History is Toby Harrah's 1985 effort. The Rangers traded Billy Sample to the Yankees in February of 1985 to get Harrah, shown here on card 159 of the 1986 Donruss set, back to Texas. Toby had been with the team from his debut in 1969 through the end of the 1978 season. At 36 years of age he was slowing down and his return was viewed by many as a swan song. Most expected him to fill a utility role in the last year or two he had left before retirement.

Harrah had other ideas though. He played in 126 games for Texas in 1985 and made 521 trips to the plate. His batting average rebounded to .270 and his on-base shot up over 100 points to .432. That was partially due to his career-high 113 walks. That's a franchise record for walks that still stands. Toby also knocked nine home runs, one triple, and 18 doubles. He got some speed out of his aging knees with 11 stolen bases while getting caught just four times.

Instead of being a utility player, Harrah nailed down the starting second baseman job. In 122 games he played 1021.2 innings at second. His six errors in 569 chances gave him a .989 fielding percentage, seven points higher than the league average.

While those numbers are good they didn't get Toby any accolades. Not even a trip to the All-Star game. They were a pleasant surprise for the Rangers and their fans though. An all-time favorite had returned home and proved he still had it.


James Crabtree said...

That was a great season by Harrah and few realized it. His .432 OBP was the third best in Major League Baseball that season behind only Boggs' .450 and Brett's .436. He would have been perfect on the Moneyball A's.

Ben Dover said...

Toby doesn't have a 1985 Donruss card?

Spiff said...

He might. But it's not in a Rangers uniform.

Ben Dover said...

Right, it would be for the 1984 year that he spent with the Yankees....just surprised there wasn't a card made. He has 1985 Topps and Fleer. I guess I just wasted an hour looking for a card that doesn't exist!

Spiff said...

That really surprises me. I would have thought there was one. Bummer to spend that much time on a wild goose chase.