Major League Right Fielders – Who Were the Best of the 1960s?

January 4, 2011

It would be hard to imagine any decade having a better collections of right fielders than the ones that played during the 1960s. Dominating in the batter’s box and in the field, the players in this list strung together one productive season after another during the 1960s.

Here are the 10 best right fielders from the 1960s. They would have been stars in any decade.

1. Hank Aaron -  Aaron’s performance in the 1960s was as outstanding and consistent as any period in his career. He hit over .300 in 8 different seasons during the decade, and scored at least 100 runs in 9 out of the 10 years. Aaron retired with more home runs (755), RBIs (2,297), extra-base hits (1,477) and total bases (6,856) than anyone else who ever played the game.

2. Roberto Clemente – Clemente won his first batting title in 1961 with a .351 average, and followed up with batting titles in 1964 (.339), 1965 (.329) and 1967 (.357). Never considered a power hitter, Clemente’s highest single-season home run total came in 1966 when he belted 29 home runs and drove in 119 runs. He was voted National League Most Valuable Player that year.

3. Frank Robinson – Robinson was the first player to win the MVP in each league. In 1961, he batted .323 with 37 home runs and 124 RBIs to win the National League Most Valuable Player award. His offensive numbers were even better the next year: 39 home runs, 136 RBIs and a .342 batting average. Robinson had a monster year in 1966, winning the American League Triple Crown with a .316 batting average, 49 home runs (tops in the majors) and 122 RBIs for his second MVP.

4. Roger Maris – A dead-pull hitter, Maris launched 39 home runs in 1960, batting .283 and leading the American League in RBIs (112) and slugging percentage (.581). His performance earned him the American League Most Valuable Player award. Beyond his 61 home runs in 1961, Maris led the majors in runs (132 – tied with Mantle), RBIs (142) and total bases (366). That performance earned him his second MVP.

5. Al Kaline – During the 1960s, you could count on Kaline for 20+ home runs, 80+ RBIs and a batting average around .300 year in and year out. His best season during the 1960s came in 1963, when he batted .312 with 27 home runs and 101 RBIs. A superb outfielder, Kaline won 7 consecutive Gold Gloves from 1961 to 1967, and earned 10 overall in his career.

6. Tony Oliva – His outstanding rookie year of 1964 saw Oliva lead the American League in 5 different offensive categories: hits (217), runs (109), doubles (43), total bases (374) and batting average (.323).  Oliva followed by repeating as batting champion in 1965 with a .321 average. He also led the league again in hits, as he would do 2 more times in his career. Oliva won his 3rd batting title in 1971, with a career-best .337 average.

7. Tony Conigliaro – As Boston’s starting right fielder in 1964, Conigliaro hit .290 with 54 RBIs and set major league records for a teenager with 24 home runs and a .530 slugging average. In 1965, His 32 home runs in 1965 were tops in the American League, and he followed in 1966 with 28 home runs and 93 RBIs. By mid-August of 1967, he already had 20 home runs and 67 RBIs when he was struck in the face by a pitched ball. Because of persisting problems with his vision, Conigliaro didn’t play again until his “Comeback Player of the Year” season in 1969, when he hit 20 home runs with 82 RBIs.

8. Rusty Staub – Rusty Staub played outfield and first base for the Houston Astros and Montreal Expos. His best year for the Astros was 1967 when he hit .333 and led the majors with 44 doubles. Traded to Montreal in 1969, Staub hit .302 for the Expos that year. He was a .279 lifetime hitter over a 23-year career, collecting 2,716 hits.

9. Johnny Callison – Callison’s best season was 1964, when he hit .274 with 31 home runs and 104 RBIs, finishing second in the MVP balloting that year. He followed up in 1965 with 32 home runs and 101 RBIs, leading the league in triples with 16. His 40 doubles in 1966 were a league best. Callison also twice led the National League in outfielder assists.

10. Bob Allison – A Minnesota Twins outfielder, Allison hit 256 home runs in a 13-year major league career. In 1963, he led the American League in runs scored with 99. Between 1961 and 1964, he averaged 31 home runs and 96 RBIs per season.

A life-long baseball fan, Carroll Conklin (aka Hardball Bob) is the founder of 1960s Baseball, dedicated to celebrating the players and teams that made the 1960s baseball’s real golden age.

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