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Best Seasons Ever Versus One Team

Rob Joyce
August 14, 2019 - 2:08 pm

The Yankees are going for a four-game sweep of the lowly Orioles Wednesday night at Yankee Stadium, trying to continue a stretch of utter dominance against the AL East basement dwellers. A New York victory tonight would give the Bombers 15 straight wins against the O’s, in large part thanks to a budding young star.

Gleyber Torres hit three home runs in Monday’s doubleheader sweep, giving him an absurd 13 this season against Baltimore alone. As a team the Yankees have a single-season record for home runs against one team, smashing 59 long balls with a game still to go. Torres’ overall numbers are in rarified air, as he’ll go down as having one of the best seasons in baseball history against one team. Here’s the list:

Gleyber Torres vs. the Orioles (2019):

With a game still to go, here are Torres’ numbers against Baltimore this season in 16 games: a .414 average (24-of-58) with 13 homers, 20 RBIs, a .485 on-base and a 1.138 OPS. For context, the career leader in OPS is Babe Ruth (1.164). Torres is literally Ruthian against the Orioles.

Pete Rose vs. the Braves (1973):

Credit: Ezra O. Shaw /Allsport

In his lone MVP season Rose tormented the entire National League with 230 hits and a .338 average, but he was particularly fearsome against Atlanta. In 18 games he batted .481 against the Braves, and though he only hit a single home run, still managed to boast a 1.218 OPS thanks to seven doubles, three triples and nine walks in 89 plate appearances (not to mention six stolen bases).

Lou Gehrig vs. the Indians (1936):

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A home run tonight by Torres would mean he ties the Major League record for most home runs against a single team in one season, tying the legendary Gehrig. Though before the divisional era (1969) teams would play opponents more often, it doesn’t take away from the Iron Horse’s prowess against Cleveland. In 23 games against the Tribe in 1936 he hit .379 with 22 extra base hits: 14 homers, 15 doubles and four triples. He had a 1.390 OPS in that span, while also stealing three of his six bases on the year against the Indians.

Joe DiMaggio vs. the Browns (1936):

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The same year Gehrig dominated Cleveland, the 21-year-old rookie owned the lowly St. Louis Browns. In 22 games the future Hall of Famer hit .525 against the Browns, setting a Major League record that still stands today by collecting 52 hits. He homered 10 times, added 12 doubles and three triples and had a slugging percentage of 1.010. His OPS for the year against St. Louis: 1.567.

Hank Greenberg vs. the Browns (1937):

(Photo: Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports)

The Browns... well... they weren’t very good. A season after DiMaggio rocked the pitching staff, fellow Hall of Famer Hank Greenberg did the same for Detroit. In 22 games he hit .427 (41-for-96) with 12 walks, had 22 extra base hits (8 homers, 12 doubles, 2 triples) with a 1.334 OPS and owns the Major League record with 43 RBIs against St. Louis. For the year he’d finish with 184 driven in, so the Browns shouldn’t feel too bad about it.

Harmon Killebrew vs. the Athletics (1969):

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In the Hall of Famer’s only MVP season he was a near-impossible out against the Oakland staff. In 18 games the slugger hit .435 (30-for-69) with a .541 on-base percentage thanks largely to 16 walks. He also drove in 34 – the most ever against a single team in the divisional era – and had a 1.483 OPS with 11 home runs.

Randy Johnson vs. the Padres (2001):

(Photo: Ezra Shaw /Allsport)

In Arizona’s championship season it was the future Hall of Famer and co-World Series MVP that was in midst of winning four straight Cy Young awards. In particular, he owned the Padres. In five games against San Diego he went 3-0 with a 1.60 earned run average, striking out 68 batters in 33.2 innings, walking only 10. The Padres hit just .155 off the lefty, with just three extra base hits.