The countdown ends with the #1 most productive player of the 1984 season – Cal Ripken Junior.
When you think of Cal, you immediately think of his consecutive games played streak.
But what might be forgotten is that he was an All-Star selection for 19 straight season, only missing out in the ’81 season (when he only played 23 games) and the ’82 season when he won Rookie of the Year.
Ripken won the MVP award in ’83 and ’91, so he was one of the front-runners for the ’84 season.
Somehow he only finished 27th in AL MVP voting, which speaks largely to voters tendency to vote based on the player’s team more so than the player himself.
True, Ripken did not lead the AL in any major offensive categories in 1984.
However, he finished in the top 10 in batting average (.304), slugging percentage (.510), OPS (.884), runs (103), hits (195), total bases (327), doubles (37), triples (7) and extra base hits (71).
He hit 27 home runs in an era before shortstops did that sort of thing.
Oh, and he finished with a league-best 5.5 range factor / 9 innings at shortstop while also finishing 5th in fielding percentage.
Do his offensive number hold up against teammate Eddie Murray? Probably not.
But if we adjust those numbers for their position? There weren’t other shortstops doing what Ripken did in 1984.
Add in the fact that Ripken was playing a vital defensive position while Murray (a Gold Glove winner) was holding down first base and I still give the nod to Cal as 1984’s top player.