Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Best Seasons: Aaron Sele - 1998.

The World Series starts tonight. Cardinals versus Red Sox. Still not focused on it but since I grew up with the Cardinals as my National League team at least there's some interest. Seems like a good time for the next installment in TR Sullivan's list of the top 50 seasons in Rangers history.

Showing up at number 31 on the list is Aaron Sele's 1998 season. Arriving in an off-season trade with Boston Sele, shown here on card 430 of the 1999 Pacific set, was a starter brought in to bolster the Rangers rotation. Depending on your definition of bolster, he did just that.

Aaron made 33 starts for Texas in 1998 and posted a 19-11 record. He also pitched 212.2 innings over the course of the season. If those were the only numbers involved I would be tempted to agree with TR's assessment of the season as "excellent". However, take into account Sele's 4.23 ERA and 1.519 WHIP and the excellence of his season becomes a whole lot more debatable.

All things must be viewed in context though. Sele's ERA was the lowest among Rangers starters in 1998. While baseball purists might blanch at a staff ace with an ERA north of four, the times have to be considered. 1998 was the height of the steroids era and only a select few hurlers managed to keep their numbers reasonable. For the time Aaron must have looked somewhat decent, he was named to the All-Star team that year.

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