Darrell Evans

Darrell Evans

Darrell Wayne Evans (born May 26, 1947) is a former third baseman and first baseman in Major League Baseball who played from 1969 to 1989 with the Atlanta Braves (1969–76, 1989), San Francisco Giants (1976–83) and Detroit Tigers (1984–88). He is also the former manager and director of player personnel for the Victoria Seals of the Golden Baseball League.

Overshadowed in his prime by fellow National League third baseman Mike Schmidt, he has been described by author Bill James as “the most underrated player in baseball history, absolutely number one on the list”, primarily because his defensive skill, home run power, and ability to draw walks in a long career were offset by a low career batting average of .248. He remains one of the few players to have hit over 400 career home runs without being seriously considered for induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Evans became the first player to hit 40 home runs in a season in both leagues. He hit a career-high 41 for the 1973 Atlanta Braves, also posting a career-high .403 on-base percentage that season. At age 38, he became the oldest player ever to lead the American League in home runs, hitting 40 for the Detroit Tigers in 1985. Evans hit over 20 home runs in 10 different seasons and drew 100 or more walks five times, leading the major leagues with 124 walks in 1973 and a career-high 126 in 1974. He currently ranks 11th all-time in walks among major leaguers (1,605), ahead of the likes of Pete Rose, Willie Mays, Stan Musial and Hank Aaron.

Despite turning 40 years old early in the 1987 season, Evans hit 34 home runs and drove in 99, helping the Tigers to an AL East pennant and finishing 12th in the AL MVP voting. He hit his 400th home run during the 1988 season, becoming the 22nd player to reach that milestone. He retired after having joined Reggie Jackson in becoming only the second player to hit 100 home runs with three different teams, and ranking in 11th place among all-time walks leaders. Evans hit 60 home runs after reaching age 40, at the time a major league record. After returning to the Braves for the 1989 season, he then served as a coach with the New York Yankees in 1990.

A two-time All-Star (1973 and 1983), Evans was selected as the third baseman on the 1973 Sporting News National League All-Star team. He won the 1983 Willie Mac Award for his spirit and leadership. He earned a World Series ring with the 1984 Detroit Tigers.

A particularly memorable highlight of his career was being on base and scoring when Hank Aaron hit his 715th career home run on April 8, 1974 to break Babe Ruth’s record for most career home runs.



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