David Pinto noted in a recent post about the most triples hit since the century began, and it made me wonder who leads in triples since I really got into baseball in 1982. That turns out to be 128 by Brett Butler, who’s possibly the most underrated leadoff man of the past 50 years.
If you go back to the start of the expansion era, the leader is Willie Wilson, with 147.
So I had to ask, “when was the last time anyone hit 150 triples?”
Turns out, it was Robert Clemente, on July 17, 1970 in a 4-3 Pirates victory over the Reds. It was a 1 out triple, and he scored on a sac fly to tie the game at 3. He finished his career with 166.
Here’s the last times anyone’s managed to reach the 150 triples plateau after the 1920’s—
- Roberto Clemente, on July 17, 1970
- Stan Musial, on Sept 10, 1954
- Kiki Cuyler, on April 30, 1938
- Lou Gehrig, on June 7, 1937
- Jim Bottomley, on Sept 3, 1936
- Heinie Manush, on May 19, 1936
- Paul Waner, on June 30, 1935
- Earl Combs, on June 23, 1934
- Pie Traynor, on Sept 1, 1933
- Goose Goslin, on August 23, 1933
- Harry Heilmann, on July 7, 1930
- Joe Judge, on June 28, 1930
As you can see, it was pretty common in the 1930’s, but after Cuyler in ’38, only two batters have reached 150.
Most of the time we ask if anyone will ever break this record or that record, but after seeing this, I gotta wonder if anyone will ever hit 150 triples, never mind ever breaking the all-time record…. of 309 triples.
I think Jose Reyes, with 111 triples and turning 31 years old in June, could reach the 150 mark—if he gets healthy & stays that way. As recently as last season, he hit 12, and he only needs 39 more.