Greatest Seasons of All Time Baseball -
The history of the All Time Baseball league goes back 9 seasons, and started in the year 2000 using a software package that is no longer available today (Tony Larussa Baseball 3). League formats have changed through the years - we've had list drafts, live drafts, computer AI drafts as well as Free Form teams (select any player, dupes allowed), Greatest Real Life Teams, and the current version of the league that started with ATB VII.
Much like in the early years of MLB, the early years of ATB have been unkind to data retention and reliable stats have only been recorded only as far back as ATB IV. In prior years we only know bits and pieces of various statistics, such as:
Billy Hamilton's 105 SB in ATB II
Anecdotal evidence that Jim McCormick was the greatest pitcher of all time (think 30 wins and a sub-2.00 ERA in ATB I). On a lighter note, later analysis revealed that McCormick real life player record was incorrectly used in ATB I. In 1884 He was traded from the Cleveland Blues (19-22, 2.86 ERA) to the Cincinnati Outlaw Reds (21-3, 1.54 ERA) and only his Reds stats were used as the source line.
Since the 3rd year of the league however, player records have been retained in a more comprehensive manner. We may not know opponents batting average for pitchers or a players RC/27 score until more recent seasons, but we at least can obtain a glimpse at some of the more impressive performances witnessed.
What follows are a handful of these great performances - the 10 greatest seasons recorded in ATB history.
#10) 1991 Ricky Henderson, ATB VIII (Van Nest Phighting Philbins):
.299 / .388 / .522, .909 OPS, 31 HR, 150 R, 112 RBI, 65 SB
New owner Jeff Burns took the ATB world by surprise, storming his way to the best record in the league at 98-64. Henderson batted lead-off for the Phighting Philbins, and Jeff had 1957 Mickey Mantle (.342 / .463 / .547) batting clean-up to help Pad Henderson's runs scored totals. As a lead off hitter, there is not much more to ask for - high on base percentage, 65 steals, and enough pop to do plenty of damage when not leading off an inning.
#9) 1941 Ted Williams, ATB III (Florham Park Slap Hitters)
.350 / .470 / .681, 1.156 OPS, 57 HR, 163 R, 193 RBI
If you like counting stats look no further than Williams and his selection to the squad owned by the now MIA Bruce Nalepka. Nalepka's one foray into ATB was successful, compiling an 89-73 (.543 Wpct) record thanks in large part to his left fielder. Williams set a record that stands to this day - compiling a combined 356 Runs and RBI in a single season. No batter has compiled as many as 320 before or since, and 193 RBI is another record that hasn't been approached.
#8) 1995 Greg Maddux, ATB VI (North Dakota No Scorers)
18-5, 2.42 ERA, 241 IP, 223 H, 53 BB, 165 K, 1.14 WHIP
Maddux was the runner up for the Cy Young award this year but his 18-5 record was the best winning percentage recorded by a starter that season. Sean Seeley's No Scorers won the title this year thanks in part to Maddux prowess. Perhaps most remarkable was the fact that Maddux was able to do so well in 1944 Forbes Field, a park that yielded 12% more singles, 25% more doubles, and 30% more triples than average.
#7) 1932 Babe Ruth, ATB V (1932 Yankees)
.328 / .518 / .707, 1.226 OPS, 58 HR, 124 R, 137 RBI
ATB V was a season in which owners selected historical teams as opposed to historical players. Ruth was a shining star on one of the worst teams in the league, the 1932 Yankees, and recorded the highest OBP in the history of the ATB while smacking almost 60 home runs and keeping is batting average above .325.
#6) 2004 Randy Johnson, ATB VII (Franklin Lakes Pillpoppers)
21-4, 1.98 ERA, 237 IP, 183 H, 73 BB, 193 K, 1.08 WHIP
For the first time ATB went to a live draft and Justin Petronzi's Pillpoppers were a wrecking crew throughout the regular season, compiling a stellar 108 wins, a mark that was only duplicated in the very early versions of ATB leagues. As #1 starter and Cy Young Award winner, Johnson was virtually un-hittable all season and his 1.98 ERA remains the current record. The only mark against Johnson, and one that prevents a higher ranking, was his WHIP which a 1.08 doesn't quite match up against some other great pitcher seasons.
Also of note - this was the first year in which the 2004 version of Randy Johnson was used. While his real life 16-14 W-L record is no great feat, keep in mind in an astounding 10 of these losses Johnson gave up 3 runs or less. And 7 of these were 2 runs or less.
#5) 2000 Pedro Martinez, ATB VI (Phoenix Coyotes - PC Led)
21-8, 2.31 ERA, 253 IP, 197 H, 54 BB, 270 K, 0.99 WHIP
ATB VI, among most other seasons, contained a handful of PC led teams. This squad was one of the more successful ones, narrowly missing the playoffs despite a pretty good 89-73 record. Martinez, the star of the team and eventual Cy Young award winner, is one of the few starting pitchers in ATB history to amass more strikeouts that innings pitched. This year his K/BB ratio was an incredible 5-1 and one wonders how he lost 8 games.
#4) 1920 Babe Ruth, ATB VIII (St. Louis Perfectos - PC Led)
.324 / .453 / .744, 1.197 OPS, 63 HR, 144 R, 159 RBI
In the first true monster offensive season, Ruth climbed into the pantheon of rare .700 sluggers (35 all time in real life) thanks to the 111 extra base hits he amassed (38 2B, 10 3B, 63 HR). His 159 RBI are 4th all time and 144 R are 5th. One oft debated item is which Ruth year is best - 1920 or 1921? In the earlier year Ruth had his best 'rate stat season' (.376 / .533 / .849) but the later year was the one were he recorded 177 R and 171 RBI. In evaluating players, Diamond Mind focuses on statistics the batter can control and lets the quality of team take care of how many runners are driven in and scored. Ruth was also named the MVP of ATB VIII.
#3) 1927 Lou Gehrig, ATB V (1927 Yankees)
.331 / .453 / .771, 1.224 OPS, 55 HR, 151 R, 162 RBI
If you recall, ATB V was the season in which historical teams were selected. TJ's choice for the 1927 Yankees was really a no-brainer, even if he did lose in the Division Series to the eventual World Champion 1941 Brooklyn Dodgers. The '27 Yanks featured "murderers row" of course, and Gehrig was second in the MVP voting behind a teammate and and a season yet to be mentioned in this space. His season totals for OPS, R, and RBI are each 3rd best of all time
#2) 2000 Pedro Martinez, ATB VII (Mendham Maulers)
17-4, 2.29 ERA, 232 IP, 153 H, 50 BB, 238 K, 0.87 WHIP
The best individual pitching performance of all time was another 2000 Pedro Martinez campaign, this time he recorded a most impressive WHIP score below 0.90 while continuing to strike out more than a better per inning. Martinez lost only 4 times all season long and his win total would no doubt be higher had Mike S's squad been able to win more than 81 games. In what can only be considered a travesty (as bad a things can get in Fantasy Sports) Martinez, with the best performance ever, was maligned in the Cy Young award voting finishing second to Randy Johnson (#6 all time above). Yes Johnson had more wins and a better ERA, but it is clear Martinez was the more dominant pitcher:
Martinez- 2.04 RCERA, 9.2 K/9, 5.9 H/9, 4.8 K/BB
Johnson - 2.52 RCERA, 7.4 K/9, 7.0 H/9, 2.9 K/BB
It is also clear the voter (the Commissioner) only took into account Wins and ERA and for that he wholeheartedly apologizes.
#1) 1927 Babe Ruth, ATB V (1927 Yankees)
.327 / .487 /.837, 1.323 OPS, 79 HR, 153 R, 165 RBI
Another ATB V player makes to the top 10 list and Ruth's fantasy accomplishments even exceeded his actual "bigger than life" status enjoyed with the New York Yankees. Ruth belted an unheard of 79 HR, a mark that hasn't been challenged before or since (Mark McGwire is second all time with 64 in ATB VI). He also doubled 35 times and is one of just 4 players to reach over 300 R+RBI's in a season.
'27 Ruth and '27 Lou Gehrig (#3 on this list) make the best 3-4 combination in ATB history - with 134 HR, 304 R, 327 RBI between them. Unfortunately for TJ only one other starter had an OPS over .800 and three were at .700 or below, so the 1927 Yankees were ousted in the 1st round of the playoffs. '27 Ruth also holds the ATB record for SLG and OPS, and the latter is almost 100 points better than 2nd place - the '32 version of Ruth.
It is not easy for a reliever to crack the top 10 seasons of all time, but Mariano Rivera of the West Village Tank Toppers in ATB IV almost did so. In the best relief pitching season in ATB history, Rivera compiled a 1.06 ERA and 29 Saves, while walking 12 and striking out 45 in 68 innings of work. His WHIP was just 0.84.