Saturday, February 13, 2010

Ken Williams, Not Willie Mays, Was The First Player To Have A 30/30 Season

Most of you probably know that Ken Williams, in 1922, was the first player to hit 30+ HRs and steal 30+ bases in a season. A book review last week in the Wall Street Journal said it was Mays. So I wrote a letter to the editor and it was printed in today's edition. You can read it at 'Say Hey' Guy Wasn't First to Achieve 30/30. I checked the book at Amazon and I think the author got it right, saying he was the first in the NL but I don't think the book mentions Ken Williams.

I also mentioned in my letter that Mays was the first player to get 300 HRs and 300 SBs in a career, a feat which has not been accomplished nearly as many times as the 30/30 season. Only 5 other players have reached 300/300 for a career while the 30/30 season has been done 54 times (twice by Mays) by 33 different players. The table below shows all the players with a 300/300 career and the year when they had first crossed both milestones.

Some player came close to a 300/300 career while a few others are still active and getting close. The next table shows them.

Rickey Henderson missed alot of games due to strikes (1981, 1994, 1995). Maybe over 100. He might have gotten 3 more HRs without the strikes.

Biggio missed about 60 games, so 9 more is not out of the question (although he hit only 6 in 114 games in 1994). I estimate the strikes cost him 6 HRs.

Eric Davis looked like he would do it early in his career. By age 28 he had 166 HRs and 233 SBs. But he had lots of injuries and cancer. He never once played 140+ games in a season and only played 130+ 5 times in a 18-year career. He played a total of 1,626 games. So he came close to averaging 30/30 per 162 games.

Sandberg only hit 5 HRs in 57 games in 1994. He retired for the first time then. He returned in 1996 and hit 25 HRs. It is very possible he could have 18 in 1995.

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