In the 1930s, there were few sluggers better than Hal Trosky. Had he not been forced to retire due to chronic migraine headaches, he would have amassed higher homerun and RBI totals. The brawny slugger had a knack for driving in runs–he once posted 162 RBI in a single campaign.
A farmboy from Iowa, the Cleveland Indians summoned Hal to the Major Leagues in 1933. Cleveland used slap-hitting Harley Boss at first base during the ’33 season and he posed little threat for Hal in 1934. Trosky won the everyday first base job in ’34 and led the AL in games played as a rookie. The mighty first baseman was a rookie sensation. Hal hit .330 with 35 homers, 142 RBI and slugged at a .598 clip. But he had the misfortune of playing in the Age of Gehrig and finished behind The Iron Horse in offensive categories throughout his playing days.
Trosky again led the AL in games played in 1935 while driving in 113 runs and clubbing 26 long balls. 1935 was the second year of a six-year string in which he drove in at least 100 runs. Big Hal had his career year in 1936 when he led the American League with 162 RBI and 405 total bases. His 42 homeruns were good for second in the league and he led Major League first basemen with 216 safeties. The masher also hit at a .343 clip and posted a monstrous slugging average of .644 (2nd in the AL).
At the tender age of 24, it seemed that Hal would challenge some homerun and RBI records. He clubbed 32 homeruns in ’37 with 128 RBI and followed up that with a .334 BA, 110 RBI season in 1938. Still a heavy-hitter in 1939, Trosky drove in 104 runs on a .335 batting average. Then in 1940, Hal had his first full Major League campaign in which he failed to drive in 100 runs–he had to settle for 93 RBI.
His issues with migraine headaches intensified in 1941 which limited him to 89 games. Due to his ailment, Hal retired early from the game, and with his retirement, the possibility of chasing RBI records. He sat out the 1942 and 1943 seasons with his migraines worsening but made a comeback during the war depleted year of 1944 with the White Sox of Chicago. That year he led American League first basemen in doubles but his condition kept him off the field in 1945. Hal played one final year with the White Sox in 1946.
G 1,347/R 835/H 1,561/2B 331/HR 228/RBI 1,012/BB 545/SO 440/BA .302/SA .522