John “Rocky” Stone is best remembered as the guy the Tigers traded to the Senators to acquire Hall of Famer Goose Goslin. The Goose became a World Series hero with Detroit shortly after the deal while Stone never played in a postseason contest. Stone, a left-handed hitter, had a knack for the three-bagger–he failed to reach ten triples in just four of his Major League seasons.
With the Tigers in 1928, Stone, who was called up from the minors that year, led Detroit with a .354 batting average. Despite his terrific showing, the Tigers weren’t quite convinced he was ready for full-time duty, so they shipped him back to the bushes in 1929. Rocky wasn’t in the lower regions long as he was summoned back to Motown for 51 games. He was in the Majors for good that moment on.
Stone played regularly in 1930 but his breakout year came the following season. He hit .327 and banged out a career high 191 base hits–seventh in the American League. Rocky legged out eleven triples in 1930 and had an identical total in ’31. A coming star, he was given some MVP votes, but showed more run production the next year. In what was arguably his finest season, Rocky eclipsed 100 in both runs scored and RBI in 1932 and also posted double-digit totals in every extra base hit category.
When Rocky’s batting average fell to .280 in 1933, the Tigers swapped him even up to Washington for future Hall of Famer Goose Goslin. Washington got the younger outfielder in the deal, but the Tigers captured back-to-back AL flags after the trade. With that “W” on his cap, Stone returned to the .300 regions in batting average in 1934–he was the only .300 hitting right fielder in the American League.
Playing in spacious Griffith Park had a negative effect on Rocky’s power numbers. After three years of double-digit dingers in Detroit, he only swatted seven his first year in Washington and just one in 1935. Although his homerun total went the way of the dodo, his triples spiked. He tallied 18 triples in 1935–second in the league. But his power came back in 1936.
After slugging just one homerun in 1935, Stone blasted 15 long balls in ’36. He posted career highs in batting average (.341–tops among AL left fielders), on-base percentage (.421) and slugging average (.545). He kept his torrid hitting in 1937 when he hit .330 and finished tied for second in the triples department. But his career came to a halt in 1938 when he contracted tuberculosis at the age of 32.
G 1,200/R 739/H 1,391/2B 268/3B 105/HR 77/RBI 707/SB 45/BB 463/SO 352/BA .310/SA .467/OBP. 376