Darrell Evans

During the early 1970s, Evans was considered to be the premier third baseman behind Mike Schmidt in the National League. The first player to hit 40 homers in each league, he is the oldest player to win a home run title, hitting 40 with the Tigers at the age of 38 in 1985.

Evans credits Ted Williams‘s book for teaching him how to hit; Eddie Mathews taught him how to pull. Originally drafted by the A’s in 1968, Evans began wearing contact lenses in 1971 and started hitting for power regularly. Hitting third in front of Hank Aaron, Evans saw plenty of good pitches and in 1973, was one of a record three Braves players to crack 40 homers: Aaron had 40, Evans 41, and Davey Johnson had 43. Even though he preceded Aaron in the lineup, he led the league in walks with 124, and again the following year with 126. He finished his career 10th all-time in walks. Evans was on first base when Aaron hit his record-breaking 715th home run on April 8, 1974. In June 1976, he was traded in a six-player deal to San Francisco. Although he was productive for seven years, Candlestick Park was not suited for his power. In 1983, Evans switched to first base. On June 15, he hit three homers in a game. After the season, he signed on as a free agent with the Tigers.

The Tigers got immediate dividends when Evans hit a three-run homer Opening Day to spark the Tigers to a 35-5 start as they coasted to the American League pennant and World Series championship, despite Evans’s 1-for-15 performance against the Padres. In 1985, he led the league in homers for the only time to begin the most productive power stretch of his career, hitting 29 homers in 1986 and 34 in 1987 at the age of 40. As a full-time DH in 1988, he managed 22 homers, but hit only .208, and was traded by the Tigers back to the Braves during the off-season. He saw considerable action in 1989 due to the demotion of third baseman Ron Gant and a season-ending injury to first baseman Gerald Perry, and continued to show good power while hitting for a low average.