Monday, March 28, 2011

Will the Orioles have a 20-20 player for the first time in more than a decade?

The Orioles should have a 30 home run season from a player this year for the first time since Aubrey Huff stroked 32 homers in 2008. They may even match or - dare to dream - exceed the club record for number of players with 30 or more homers in the same season, which sits at two (Brady Anderson and Rafael Palmeiro, '96; Larry Sheets and Eddie Murray, '87; Boog Powell and Frank Robinson '66 and '69).

It's unlikely, however, that the O's will have their first member of the 30-30 club, or even the 20-20 club for that matter in 2011.

Baltimore is one of three teams in the American League East - Boston and Tampa are the others - to never have had a player in their lineup hit 30 home runs and steal 30 bases in the same season. Toronto's had two (Shawn Green '98, Jose Cruz Jr. '01) and New York's had three (Bobby Bonds '75 and Alfonso Soriano '02, '03). It's a much more common accomplishment in the National League where it has happened 38 times, compared to 15 times in the American League.

The Birds' best - albeit still unlikely - candidate for a 30-30 season may be Mark Reynolds, who hit 44 homers and stole 24 bases in 2009. While those numbers would fall short of the 30-30 club, they would give the Orioles their first 20-20 player in more than a decade.
20-20 vision?

Brady Anderson was the last Oriole to post a 20-20 season when he hit 24 home runs and stole 36 bases in 1999. Brian Roberts (16 home runs, 30 stolen bases in 2009), Nick Markakis (23 home runs, 18 stolen bases in 2007), and Corey Patterson (16 home runs, 45 stolen bases in 2006) have come closest to 20-20 since then.

Anderson sits alongside Barry Bonds as the only players to record a 50-homer season as well as a 50-steal season during their careers. Anderson had 53 steals in 1992 and 50 home runs in 1996. Bonds had 52 steals in 1990 and hit 73 homers in 2001.

On the face of it Anderson would seem to have been the O's most likely candidate in recent memory for a 30-30 season; however, he was never closer than that 24-36 season in '99. Anderson stole more than 30 bases only  three times in his career (53 in '92, 31 in '94, 36 in '99); he hit more than 30 home runs just once (50 in '96).

Nevertheless, he is still the last Orioles player to post a 20-20 season. Chances are things will stay that way through 2011.

Of Note

-There are four members of the 40-40 Club: Jose Canseco (1988), Barry Bonds (1996), Alex Rodriguez (1998), and Alfonso Soriano (2006).

-Former Oriole Albert Belle is the only player in major league history to have 50 homers and 50 doubles in the same season. He did so in 1995.

-Brian Roberts had four consecutive seasons (2006-2009) with 30 doubles and 30 stolen bases. The 50 stolen bases-50 doubles club has two members: Tris Speaker (1912) and Craig Biggio (1998).

Orioles Stolen Bases Leaders since 2000

2010: Corey Patterson 21
2009: Brian Roberts 30
2008: Brian Roberts 40
2007: Brian Roberts 50, Corey Patterson 37
2006: Corey Patterson 45, Brian Roberts 36
2005: Brian Roberts 27
2004: Brian Roberts 29
2003: Brian Roberts 23
2002: Jerry Hairston 21, Chris Singleton 20
2001: Jerry Hairston 29
2000: Delino DeShields 37

Related Reading:

Powerball in Baltimore (Roar from 34)

Thirty homers used to mean something. It still should. (Roar from 34)


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