Wednesday, May 29, 2024

Baseball Trivia: El Dulce De Leche

Since the 2000 Major League Baseball season became statistically official, there have been exactly five seasons in the National League wherein a batter hit 40+ doubles, 30+ homers, scored 100+ runs and committed larceny of pillows 30+ times.

It is my sincere confidence that Alfonso Soriano’s 2006 season with the Washington Nationals comes to mind for you. It is one of only four 40-40 seasons ever, making it even more unique and noteworthy. And “Captain America” – a nickname I never fully understood – aka David Wright had the highest batting average (.325) of any of these five seasons, as well as the most stellar bWAR (8.3) on this list, back in 2007.


Then you have a 26-year-old Vladimir Guerrero playing out of his mind while in Montreal with the Expos; the season right before he narrowly missed joining Soriano on the 40-40 list by one stinkin’ homer. All of these great players, dwarfed on this list by their only compatriot to achieve a 100 run-30 homer-40 double-30 steal season twice in that timeframe.

A two-time All-Star, as well as being a Gold Glove recipient and Silver Slugger Award winner, this right fielder played 18 total seasons with six different teams (two AL and 4 NL teams). In his third-through-ninth seasons, he produced 41.6 bWAR – an average of 5.9 a season. – and his two 100-40-30-30 seasons. That really rolls off the tongue, doesn’t it?

This left-handed hitter, who threw right-handed, had a nickname that translates roughly into “He eats sweet.” He finished 16th and 23rd in MVP voting the two years he had 100-40-30-30 seasons, fairly low in my estimation, but then the NL was ridiculously stacked at the time (dudes named Barry Bonds and Albert Pujols come to mind).

Of these four, the sweet eater has the most career bWAR (a 0.7 edge over Vladdy and huge gaps thereafter), second-most hits (120 less than The Impaler), second-most RBIs (133 behind Guerrero), and fares very well with third-best wRC+ at 129 (Soriano is at 111, Wright 133, and Vlad 136).

His final career hit, a single, fell in front of Robbie Grossman and came on a 91 mph four-seam fastball from Nick Tropeano. He received an ovation and then was summarily pinch-run for by Eric Young, Jr. Lastly, he had a slash line of at least .300/.400/.500 in 10 different ballparks in his career. Can you pick out the sweet tooth? Bonus points if you can name the two seasons he achieved the feat.

Yarrr, beware there be SPOILERS HERE!!!

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