MLB All-Time Triples Leaders: Triple Your Pleasure with These Fun Facts

SportsLifer@sportsliferCorrespondent IIJuly 9, 2011

John Owen “Chief” Wilson hit 36 triples with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1912 to set a single-season record that hasn’t been approached since.
John Owen “Chief” Wilson hit 36 triples with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1912 to set a single-season record that hasn’t been approached since.

Before Jose Reyes injured his hamstring last week and went on the DL, he was on pace to accomplish something that hasn’t been done in 99 years—hit 30 triples in a season. Reyes has 15 with nearly half a season to go, but right now it’s unclear when he will return to the Mets lineup.

The triple is one of the most exciting plays in baseball, a combination of power and speed. Here are 10 things you may not know about baseball’s three-base hit.

1. John Owen “Chief” Wilson of the Pittsburgh Pirates hit 36 triples in 1912 to lead the National League and set the all-time record for a single season. Nobody has come within 10 triples of that total since. Wilson, a native of Austin, Texas who also played for the St. Louis Cardinals, never hit more than 14 in any season of his nine-year career.

2. Only two other players have ever hit 30 triples in a season. Dave Orr with the New York Metropolitans of the American Association in 1886 and Heinie Reitz with the Baltimore Orioles of the National League in 1894 each finished with 31 triples.

3. Wahoo Sam Crawford (below, right) of the Detroit Tigers is the all-time career leader in triples with 309. The Hall of Famer broke in with the Cincinnati Reds, but played most of his career—and hit most of his triples—for the Detroit Tigers.

4. Three other Hall of Famers—Crawford’s teammate Ty Cobb (297), Honus Wagner (252) and Jake  Beckley (244)—rank second, third and fourth in career triples. Cobb is the all-time American League leader in triples and Wagner the all-time NL leader.

5. In the past 60 years, no player has hit more triples than Curtis Granderson, who had 23 with the 2007 Tigers. The last player to hit more than 23 was Hall of Famer Kiki Cuyler with 26 triples in 1925 for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

6. Miguel Tejada of the Oakland A’s holds the record for most at-bats in a season without a triple, 662 in 2002. Sammy Sosa of the Cubs holds the National League record with 643, during a season in which he hit 66 home runs.

7. Four players—including Hall of Famer Willie McCovey of the San Francisco Giants in 1959—share the record with two triples in their first major league games. Ed Irvin, Ray Weatherly and John Sipin also accomplished the feat.

8. Only two players have hit four triples in a game. George Strief with the Philadelphia Athletics of the American Association in 1885 and Bill Joyce with the New York Giants of the NL in 1897.

9. Sam Crawford and Willie Wilson of the Kansas City Royals each led the AL in triples five times and Stan Musial of the Cardinals had five triples crowns to lead the NL. Crawford also led the NL in triples once, with the Reds.

10. Shano Collins, who played for the White Sox and Red Sox between 1910 and 1925, holds the record with eight bases-loaded triples. Hall of Famer Stan Musial of the Cardinals hit seven for the NL record.