Time with Dodgers: 1944-1947
Stats: .263/.405/.336/.741, 4 HR, 144 RBI, 488 H, 355 R, 432 BB, 105 OPS+
Baseball Reference WAR: 16.0
FanGraphs WAR: 14.6
Combined WAR: 15.3
Eddie Stanky had a four-year stint with the Dodgers in the mid 1940’s. Though his offensive numbers were nothing special, there is something that really stands out about his production. His ability to get on base.
Stanky played in over 530 games while with Brooklyn. He hit only .263 with an OPS of .741. He also had only four home runs. Luckily for Stanky, he didn’t need power to be one of the more crucial bats in the lineup. What made him a difference maker was his eye at the plate. His on-base percentage with the Dodgers was .405, almost 150 points higher than his average.
Among the 151 players in franchise history with at least 1,500 plate appearances, Stanky’s .405 on-base percentage is the fifth best. The four players in front of him all hit over .300. If he would’ve just hit .282 with the Dodgers, he’d have the highest on-base percentage in franchise history.
During the 1944 season, Stanky was traded from the Cubs to the Dodgers. He played in 89 games that year, hitting .276 (the highest he’d hit with the Dodgers) and had an OBP of .382. He walked 44 times compared to 13 strikeouts.
The following year was when he really took the league by storm. He played in 153 games, and led the majors with 725 plate appearances. Stanky had 143 hits, and also led the majors in runs scored with 128. In addition, he led the majors with 148 walks. Stanky is one of nine players in major-league history to have at least 148 walks in a single season. For reference, the last Dodgers player with just 100 walks in a season was Gary Sheffield back in 2001, who walked 101 times.
Stanky finished 33rd in MVP voting that year.
In 1946 he’d appear in 144 games, and yet again led the majors in walks. He walked 137 times, which he is still only one of 19 players to ever do so in a single season. Stanky’s on-base percentage of .436 led the National League.
Here’s a fun fact for you. 11 times in franchise history, a Dodgers player has finished the season with an on-base percentage of at least .436. Stanky’s batting average of .273 is the lowest among the group by 35 points.
Stanky finished seventh in MVP voting that season.
In his final year with the Dodgers, his numbers took a bit of a hit. He hit .252, and only walked 103 times and had an on-base percentage of .373. Yet, he was still an All-Star for the first time in his career and finished 13th in MVP voting.
Stanky was traded the following year to the Boston Braves.
We’ll likely never see a Dodgers player draw walks at the frequency of Eddie Stanky ever again.