Williams has 12 seasons in the Top 35, but wanting to avoid taking up more than a third of the entries with one player, I combined eight similar seasons into two groupings. Williams’ remarkable consistency as a hitter makes this easier. These five were Williams’ third-tier seasons, the level right behind the three seasons that were just off the four monster years we’ll see in the Top 20. Got that? Combining the worst of Williams’ rate stats of these seasons, he put up no worse than a .318/.436/.556, while topping out at a combined-best line of .345/.479/.609. He hit no fewer than 23 and no more than 31 home runs. His OPS+ bottoms out at 160 (1939) and tops out at 179 (1958).
Essentially, these seasons are the two leading up to his peak, and the final years as he came back down. Williams was an All-Star every year but 1939, he led the league in OBP every year but 1939, batting in 1958, slugging in 1951, OPS in 1951 and 1968, total bases in 1951, RBI in 1939, walks in 1951, OPS+ in 1951, extra-base hits in 1939, times on base in 1951 and intentional walks in 1956. Not bad, for Williams’ “bad” years.