Sheffield’s .250 average in 1997 was the only time he hit below .290 in the past 12 seasons, but the Marlins won the World Series.
Gary Sheffield 1996 6.5 WAR, 6th in the MVP
Sheffield in 1996 was a victim of his environment, playing in spacious Pro Player Stadium having to face Maddux, Smoltz and Glavine in the division and playing the peak of the steroids era and with the Blake Street Bombers in full effect in Colorado. Here are the players that finished ahead of Sheffield in the NL MVP voting in 1996:
- Ken Caminiti, who has admitted to steroid use.
- Barry Bonds, a heavily speculated steroids users. (Bonds has never tested positive for steroids or failed a drug test.) His lawyer said Bonds did admit to steroids use in his career.
- Mike Piazza who has been surrounded by suspicion.
- Ellis Burks and Andres Galarraga that combined for 87 HR that year playing at Coors Field
- Chipper Jones at the peak of his powers in a year that the Braves made it to the World Series.
It would be fair to say that an argument could be made that Gary Sheffield in 1996 all considered had one of the best offensive seasons of the 1990s. 42 HR and .310 ISO are a great start, a 1.089 OPS and 185 wRC+, which are just silly numbers. Not to mention a 21.0/9.7 BB/K ratio. Just insane.