I was reading an article by Tim Kurkjian yesterday in which he mentioned that Ted Williams’ career average OPS is higher than any active player’s highest single season OPS. This is true, but Ted Williams does not have the highest career OPS—Babe Ruth does; Williams is #2.
Top 4 career OPS: Babe Ruth at 1.1636, Ted Williams at 1.1155, Lou Gehrig at 1.0798, Barry Bonds at 1.0512. The highest career OPS by an active player is Mike Trout at 1.0000, 8th all time.
Of the 12 highest single season OPS’s, 4 are by Bonds—he holds the record at 1.4217 in 2004, and he also has the second, fourth, and 8th highest seasons. Babe Ruth has 6 of the 12–3rd, 5th, 6th, 9th, 11th, and 12th. The other two—7th and 10th were both by Williams. The highest single season by any active player is Albert Pujols with 1.1145 in 2008 (#73 all time), followed by Bryce Harper with 1.1090 in 2015 (#79 all time).
As stated above, and as is obvious looking at the numbers, Ruth’s and Williams’ average OPS are higher than any active players’ single best season. So, how many active players have had seasons better than Gehrig’s average or Bonds’ average? For Gehrig it’s 4: Pujols (4 times), Harper, Christian Yelich, and Mike Trout (2 times). For Bonds, it’s 6: once more each by Pujols and Trout, Harper and Yelich of course, plus once each by Miguel Cabrera and Mookie Betts.
It probably comes as no surprise that as a kid I avidly read the backs of baseball cards.