MLB’s One-Season Wonders: Chase Headley and 2012
Anomalies are rampant throughout sports, primarily Major League Baseball. It’s so hard to consistently be good that there are a number of players who had one epic season and were never able to replicate it. This brings us to former Padre third baseman Chase Headley and his almost improbable 2012 season.
Headley Prior to 2012
Headley wasn’t necessarily a household name in sports in the early 2010s. He was a very solid player for San Diego, replacing Kevin Kouzmanoff as their primary third baseman. He posted good enough numbers to play every day in his first five seasons, slashing .267/.343/.392 and an above-average OPS+ of 105.
When 2012 rolled around, the Padres once again weren’t projected to be a solid team. The previous season’s record of 71-91 placed them last in the National League West. San Diego needed some sort of excitement. Headley came to the rescue and put it on full display.
Headley really found it in 2012 and practically shocked the baseball world. Chase batted .286/.376/.498 with 31 home runs and 115 runs batted in (leading the league). He even earned award recognition at the end of the season placing fifth in MVP voting while earning a gold glove and silver slugger.
The season was a dream for him and Padres fans alike. It gave San Diego something to smile about in regards to their dismal team, finishing below .500 again and placing fourth in their division. Too bad Headley’s success was short-lived.
The following season, Headley fell back to earth. Once again, he wasn’t bad but definitely wasn’t his 2012 self. This included a slash of .250/.347/.400 with only 13 home runs. Sadly, his career took a turn for the worst when the Padres traded him to the New York Yankees.
It seemed New York wanted to capture his 2012 success once again and he signed a four-year, $52 million deal. What followed were lost seasons, injury, and hatred from the New York faithful. Headley’s numbers in pinstripes were sub-par slashing .262/.337/.387 with 43 home runs in 501 games.
Funny enough, Chase Headley was once again traded back to San Diego for the 2018 season. However, he decided to call it quits after going a horrendous 1-for-28 and the Padres designating him for assignment.
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