With the blistering pace of Ian Kinsler leading the AL this year with 134 hits, it brings the question to mind, “How difficult is it to get 200 hits in a season?”
Ichiro has accomplished the feat seven years in a row; Michael Young, the last five. Jeter has done it 6 times in his career. Ty Cobb did it 9 times, Joe Dimaggio only twice. Babe Ruth had 3 years of 200 hits or more. And Ted Williams?
Can that be true? Some consider Ted Williams to be greatest hitter who ever lived, but he never had a 200 hit season? Although this is true, it is somewhat deceptive. Teddy Ballgame was also one of the most patient hitters in history with an unheard of walk to strikeout ratio of 3 to 1 and sometimes 5 to 1 during his career. He has a career .482 on base percentage.
Clearly it is not an easy task to get 200 hits in a season.
What does it tell us when one of the best hitters to play the game never had a 200 hit season? Is it that it just doesn’t happen that often? The 1990 and 1995 seasons did not produce a single player with 200 hits. If it’s so difficult to reach this milestone even once in a career, when was the last time two players achieved this mark on the same team?
Polanco and Ordonez did it with Detroit in 2007. Bernie Williams and Derek Jeter did it in 1999. Boggs and Rice did it with Boston in 1986. In fact, it has occurred a number of times through the history of baseball.
But what about 3 on the same team? Has it ever been done? If so, what year? It’s possible that Michael Young, Ian Kinsler and Josh Hamilton could all end up with 200 hits at the end of the 2008 season. Kinsler is on pace to have over 200, while Hamilton and Young are sitting right around the 200 mark when you figure their average hits per game.
So who was the last team to have 3 hitters with 200 hits or more in the same season? The first guess that comes to mind to many people is one of the great Yankees teams from their 26 World Championship years, or maybe even earlier in the dead-ball era when a player’s only goal was to put the ball in play rather swinging for the fences. Neither of these is correct. Any guesses? Here’s your hint. The franchise has only won one playoff game in its history.
The 1991 Texas Rangers. Ruben Sierra racked up 203 hits while batting .307, Rafael Palmeiro had 203 while batting .322 and Julio Franco had 201 winning the AL batting title with a .341 average for the year. Although this was not a dream team by any stretch of the imagination, finishing in third place in the West, this was still quite an accomplishment. Hopefully in 2008, the same franchise can do it again. If things fall in to place, we may get to see something that hasn’t been done in the last 17 years in Major League Baseball.
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