Unusual Extra-Base Feats

This article was written by Steve Krevisky

This article was published in 1989 Baseball Research Journal

It’s one thing to lead a league in doubles, triples, or homers, quite another to lead in two or three of these categories the same year. It’s truly remarkable-and rare-to hit 20 of each.

THREE HALL-OF-FAMERS, one active player who could make the Hall, and one old-timer who probably never will, share an unusual extra-base feat: Each one led his league in both home runs and triples in the same season.

The Hall-of-Famers are Jim Bottomley, Mickey Mantle, and Willie Mays. The possible entrant is Jim Rice. The old-timer is Harry Lumley, who played for Brooklyn in the first decade of this century.

Note that Mantle and Mays performed this feat in 1955. Mantle was not a big doubles hitter; only once did he exceed 30 (1952). In 1961, while Mantle and Roger Mans both chased Babe Ruth’s one-season home run record of 60, each hit only 16 doubles.

Mays hit only 18 doubles in 1955, although he substantially increased his doubles totals in San Francisco. He led the National League three times in triples but never in doubles or RBIs.

Bottomley had double figures in doubles, triples, and homers (the “triple double”) in six consecutive years (1924-29). He led the National League in hits and doubles in 1925, doubles and RBIs in 1926, and had 100 or more RBIs in each of the six years. Sunny Jim also holds the major-league record for most RBIs in one game, 12, set on Sept. 16, 1924.

In Rice’s big 1978 year, he also led the American League in three other categories (see table). Rice had three consecutive years of 100 runs, 100 RBIs, and 200 hits (1977-79) and two straight seasons of leading in home runs and slugging average (1977-78).

How about leaders in both doubles and triples in the same season? There are more of those.

Note Musial’s frequency. He’s also a member of the 50-20 club (50 2B, 20 3B). He did the triple double in seven consecutive years as well (1942-49, excluding 1945, when he was the service).

In 1948 Musial just missed leading the league in 2B, 3B, and HR (Mize beat him out by 1 HR); however, Musial also led the National League that season in runs, hits, RBIs, batting average, and slugging average. Not a bad year’s work.

Near misses: George Sisler (1920), with 49 2B, 18 3B, 19 HR, .407 BA, 257 H (the record); Lou Gehrig (1927), 52 2B, 18 3B, 47 HR, 175 RBI and .373 BA; Stan Musial (1948), with 46 2B, 18 3B, 39 HR, .376 BA.

Some unusual or fluky batting feats:

  1. Larry Bowa(1972), 11 2B, 1 HR, 13 3B(led league).
  2. Owen Wilson (1912), a record 36 3B; never led league or approached this total again.
  3. Earl Webb (1931), 67 2B; never more than 30 in any other season, 155 lifetime.
  4. Speaker (1920-23) and Wagner (1906-09) each led the league in 2B for four consecutive years. Crawford (1913-15) led in 3B for three consecutive seasons.
  5. Medwick had seven consecutive seasons of 40 or more doubles, leading the National League from 1936 through 1938 with totals of 64, 56, and 47.
  6. Paul Waner (1926, 1927) and Ival Goodman (1935, 1936) each led the league in 3B in each of their first two years. Waner then led in 2B in 1928 with 50, and also led in 1932 with 62.
  7. Billy Jurges (1935) 33 2B, 1 3B, 1 HR; (1937) 18 2B, 10 3B, 1 HR.
  8. Adam Comorosky (1930)47 2B, 23 3B, never again approached those numbers (it was a hitter’s year).
  9. Lou Boudreau (1941, 1944, 1947), led in 2B with 45 in each of those years. In 1940, when he hit 46 2B, Greenberg led with 50.

Some analogous feats in the 19th century: Tip O’Neill (1887) led in 2B, 3B, and HR, as well as H, R, BA, and SA. Harry Stovey (1884) led in 3B, HR, H, R, BA, and SA. Others who led in 2B and HR (not a complete list): Jimmy Ryan (1888), Dan Brouthers (1886), and Hugh Duffy (1884), who also batted .438 and won the Triple Crown.

STEVE KREVISKY teaches math at Middlesex (Ct.) Community College.