15 Biggest Outfielder One-Year Wonders in MLB History

<> during the ninth inning at Fenway Park on September 16, 2016 in Boston, Massachusetts.

In the history of Major League Baseball, there have been players who have shone brightly for just a single season, known as “one-year wonders.” From rookies who burst onto the scene with record-breaking performances to seasoned veterans who experienced a career renaissance, baseball history is filled with these stories. In this article, we dive into the biggest MLB Outfielder One Year Wonders.

Do you remember the names of these MLB Outfielders who once shined in the majors?

Brady Anderson

4 Jul 1996: Outfielder Brady Anderson of the Baltimore Orioles stares into the outfield as he follows through on a swing after making contact during an at-bat in the Orioles 8-6 victory over the Boston Red Sox in Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore,
Brady Anderson had a 15-year career in the major leagues. During that time, he played most notably with the Baltimore Orioles but also had stints with the Boston Red Sox and Cleveland Indians. He is most notably known for his 1996 season when he set career highs with 50 home runs and 110 RBI. Anderson never topped over 24 home runs in any of his 14 other seasons.

Jackie Bradley Jr.

SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA – MAY 15: Jackie Bradley Jr. #41 of the Kansas City Royals catches a flyball hit by Rougned Odor #24 of the San Diego Padres during the sixth inning of a game at PETCO Park on May 15, 2023 in San Diego, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

Bradley Jr., nicknamed “JBJ,” has had an 11-year career in the MLB with 4 different teams, including an All-Star appearance. Well you guessed it, that All-Star appearance in 2016 saw career highs in home runs (26), RBIs (87), doubles (30), and walks (63). Bradley currently is playing in the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball as a member of the Long Island Ducks.

Domonic Brown

DUNEDIN, FL – FEBRUARY 27: Domonic Brown #81 of the Toronto Blue Jays poses for a photo during the Blue Jays’ photo day on February 27, 2016 in Dunedin, Florida. (Photo by Brian Blanco/Getty Images)

Brown was once touted as the top prospect in the Philadelphia Phillies organization. The MLB outfielder made his major league debut in 2010 and ended up having a 6-year career exclusively with the Phillies. Brown’s 2013 All-Star season turned out to be the best of his career as he belted 27 home runs, 83 RBIs, and had a career-high .272 batting average. However, in the other 5 years of his career, he hit a combined 27 home runs and 146 RBIs before washing out of the league.

Joe Charboneua

CLEVELAND, OH – OCTOBER 26: Former Cleveland Indians player Joe Charboneau and Cleveland Boys & Girls Clubs of America member Zaylianny Mojica Mendez pose prior to Game Two of the 2016 World Series between the Chicago Cubs and the Cleveland Indians at Progressive Field on October 26, 2016 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images)
Charboneau was a fan favorite who was known for dyeing his hair, as well as his unusual way of consuming beer which was through his nose. Other wild stories include how he did his own dental work and fixed a broken nose with a pair of pliers and a few shots of whiskey, as well as winning a bet by eating six lit cigarettes.

Charboneua’s career started off with a bang winning the 1980 AL Rookie of the Year with the Cleveland Indians.  That season Charboneua hit 23 home runs and had 87 RBIs while batting .289. Unfortunately, that would be his only successful season as his career lasted just three seasons due to back issues, which limited him to 70 games over the next two seasons.

David Dahl

CLEARWATER, FLORIDA – FEBRUARY 22: David Dahl #35 of the Philadelphia Phillies poses for a portrait during photo day at BayCare Ballpark on February 22, 2024 in Clearwater, Florida. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

While Dahl is still an active player in the league and has the possibility to squash his “one-hit wonder” label, his 2019 All-Star season appears to be an outlier. While playing for the Colorado Rockies, Dahl had a career-high .302 batting average, 113 hits, 28 doubles, and 61 RBIs. Since that time, Dahl has 5 home runs and 28 RBIs while washing out of the league for a couple of years and bouncing around in the minors.

Jacoby Ellsbury

BOSTON – JULY 04: Jacoby Ellsbury #46 of the Boston Red Sox is congratulated by teammates Mike Lowell #25 and Julio Lugo #23 after he scored against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays at Fenway Park July 4, 2007 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
When you look back at the 2011 AL MVP race, it came down to two names: Justin Verlander and Jacoby Ellsbury. Ultimately, Verlander won the award but Ellsbury posted numbers that he never came close to matching again. His 32 home runs, 46 doubles, 105 RBIs, .321 batting average, 212 hits, 119 runs, and .928 OPS were all career highs.

Cito Gaston

Cito Gaston’s 1970 season for the San Diego Padres proved to be an anomaly. His .318 batting average, 186 hits, 26 doubles, 29 home runs, and 93 RBIs were all career highs. The outfielder played 11 total MLB seasons, including stops with the Atlanta Braves and Pittsburgh Pirates, where he never touched numbers close to his 1970 outlier season. Gaston would have success outside of his playing career as a manager, where he led the Toronto Blue Jays to back-to-back World Series titles (1992 and ’93).

Luis Gonzalez

PHOENIX, AZ – AUGUST 31: Former Arizona Diamondback outfielder Luis Gonzalez #20, a member of the 2001 World Series Championship team, smiles with his teammates during the 2nd Annual Alumni game which followed the Giants-Diamondbacks game at Chase Field on August 31, 2013 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
It is probably not fair to call Luis Gonzalez a “one-year wonder,” considering he played 19 seasons and was an All-Star in five of them. However, his 2001 season statistically was never matched again and appears to be an outlier season. In that season, Gonzalez hit a career-high 57 home runs and 142 RBIs while finishing third in the National League Most Valuable Player voting. The 57 home runs nearly doubled his previous high of 31.

Bill Hall

TEMPE, AZ – FEBRUARY 24: Bill Hall #0 of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim fields during the game against the Oakland Athletics on February 24, 2013 at Tempe Diablo Stadium in Tempe, Arizona. The Athletics defeated the Angels 7-5. (Photo by Rich Pilling/Getty Images)

Much like Luis Gonzalez, Hall had a long career in the major leagues spanning over 11 seasons.  Hall played for a total of 6 teams including the Brewers, Mariners, Red Sox, Astros, Giants, and Orioles. However, one season wasn’t like the rest for Hall; his 2006 season with the Brewers consisted of 35 homers, basically double any other power output that he turned in throughout his career. He also led his team in runs scored (101), doubles (39), triples (4), total bases (297), and walks (63).

Bryan LaHair

CHICAGO, IL – OCTOBER 03: Bryan LaHair #6 of the Chicago Cubs hits a game winning RBI single against the Houston Astros on October 3, 2012 at Wrigley Field in Chicago, Illinois. The Chicago Cubs defeated the Houston Astros 5-4 on a walk off single in the ninth inning. (Photo by David Banks/Getty Images)
Most likely, everyone has forgotten the name Bryan LaHair. LaHair played for three MLB seasons with the Seattle Mariners and the Chicago Cubs. His most notable season was his 2012 season with the Cubs, during which he was named an NL All-Star as a reserve. During his first two MLB seasons, the outfielder totaled five home runs and 16 RBIs. His 2012 season saw LaHair hit 16 home runs and 40 RBIs before fizzling out of the league.

Daniel Palka

CLEVELAND, OH – SEPTEMBER 04: Daniel Palka #18 of the Chicago White Sox reacts after striking out against starting pitcher Shane Bieber #57 of the Cleveland Indians during the second inning at Progressive Field on September 4, 2019 in Cleveland, Ohio. (Photo by Ron Schwane/Getty Images)
Palka’s MLB career was short as it only lasted two seasons with the Chicago White Sox. In 2018, the right fielder burst onto the scene as a 26-year-old rookie hitting 27 home runs and 67 RBIs, finishing fifth in American League Rookie of the Year voting. Unfortunately, his sophomore season was not as productive where Palka was limited to 30 games and hitting just 2 home runs before being sent down to the minor leagues.

Phil Plantier

CHICAGO – APRIL 14: Phil Plantier of the Oakland Athletics bats during the game against the Chicago White Sox at Comiskey Park on April 14, 1996 in Chicago, Illinois. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
Plantier looked to be an up-and-coming rookie prospect for the Boston Red Sox in 1991 batting. 331 in just 53 games but struggled the following year before being traded to the Padres. San Diego looked like geniuses when Plantier set career highs with 34 home runs and 100 RBI. However, Plantier was hit with the injury bug and never came close to that 1993 season leaving fans to wonder what could have been with Plantier.

Michael Saunders

NEW YORK, NY – SEPTEMBER 29: Michael Saunders #21 of the Toronto Blue Jays grounds a ball in the first inning against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on September 29, 2017 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images)
A less-known name to most, Saunders had a 9 year MLB career with 3 different baseball clubs as an outfielder. While mostly an average player at best, Saunders did have an outlier season where he was an All-Star for the Toronto Blue Jays. His 2016 campaign saw him hit a career-high 24 home runs and a career-high .253 batting average. Saunders was never able to duplicate that success and was out of the league just one year later.

Jerome Walton

Jerome Walton of the Chicago Cubs slides into a base during a game.
In 1989, Walton burst onto the scene winning the NL Rookie of the Year for the Chicago Cubs. The award was justified as Walton had 23 doubles, 46 RBIs, and a .293 average. Unfortunately, those doubles and RBI numbers would be career highs and while Walton played 10 seasons, he was never able to duplicate his rookie year. Walton compiled a .269 batting average with 25 home runs, 132 RBIs, and 58 stolen bases.

Tyler White

HOUSTON, TEXAS – JUNE 30: Tyler White #13 of the Houston Astros throws his bat after striking out in the fifth inning against the Seattle Mariners at Minute Maid Park on June 30, 2019 in Houston, Texas. (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Our final name on the list is Brian “Tyler” White. Nicknamed “Big Puddin” by Astros fans, White’s career numbers include 26 home runs and 103 RBIs in 4 MLB seasons. Nearly half of those totals came in White’s 2018 season, where he also saw a career-high 888 OPS. White would go on to just hit 6 more home runs over the next two seasons. White officially retired from baseball in June of 2023.


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