The Bronze Medal in Baseball Records

Paul Swaney@@PaulSwaneySenior Analyst IJune 5, 2009

SAN FRANCISCO - MAY 28:  Barry Bonds #25 of the San Francisco Giants hits his 715th career home run, passing Babe Ruth for second place on the all time home run list, in the fourth inning of the game against the Colorado Rockies on May 28, 2006 at AT&T Park in San Francisco, California. (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)

They are records many of us know well. We know who holds the record, and we know who they passed, or who came in second. But let's test your knowledge. Do you know who is third place for these career stats?

Hits, RBI, wins, saves, and stolen bases. See how many you can get before you read ahead in the article...

While you think about it and before I move on, let's reflect on the most famous bronze medalist in baseballโ€”Mr. George Herman Ruth.

Asterisks or not, Babe Ruth moved down to No. 3 when Barry Bonds belted career homer No. 715.


Pete Rose passed Ty Cobb with career hit No. 4190 on Sept. 11, 1985 at Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati. Rose went on to play one more season as a player/manager in 1986. He retired with 4,256 hits.

The third place career finisher is Hank Aaron. His home runs and RBI often get him overlooked for his ability to get hits and hit for average (.305 for his career). Aaron's 3,771 hits put him comfortably ahead of fourth place finisher Stan Musial.

The active leader, by the way, is more than 1,000 hits behind Aaron. Ken Griffey Jr. has 2,711 entering play on Thursday.


Not surprisingly, Aaron and Ruth occupy the top two slots for career RBI. My guess for third place was Lou Gehrig, and you may have thought the same. Gehrig however, is in fifth place, one behind Bonds with 1,995 career RBI. The only other member of the 2,000 RBI club besides Aaron and Ruth was the Chicago Cubs' Cap Anson.

Anson had 2,076 career RBI, and did so while only hitting a career 97 home runs. He led the league in that category eight times, with a high mark of 147 in 1886.


Young's 511 wins is perhaps the most memorable number in baseball. Right up there with 406, 56, and 755.

The second name on the list is well known, Walter Johnson had 417 wins.

In this case we have two bronze medal winners as Pete Alexander and Christy Mathewson each finished their baseball playing days with 373 wins. If you got one of those names, give yourself credit for a correct answer.


Trevor Hoffman became the all-time saves leader in 2006, so it shouldn't be that hard to remember who he passed. I didn't remember, did you?

Hoffman currently stands at 568 career saves and is flourishing in Milwaukee when many said he was washed up.

Mariano Rivera stands in second place, chasing the 500 save milestone. Rivera got his 494th save on Thursday against the Rangers.

Did you remember the third place fireman yet? It's Lee Smith, the Louisiana-born giant who ended his career with 478 game saving appearances.

Stolen Bases

Not only was I unable to come up with this name, I had no idea who this guy was until I read up on him on baseball-reference.com.

We all remember when Rickey Henderson stole third base, and then removed the base from the dirt and held it above his head upon passing Lou Brock in the record books. Brock's career total was 938. Henderson, and his seemingly never-ending career, totalled 1,406.

That number, 1406, is rarely referenced among the elite baseball numbers or the unbreakable records, but when you think about it, only Young's 511 may be more untouchable.

If you guessed Ty Cobb for this bronze medal you would be wrong. The third place man in this case is Billy Hamilton. Hamilton played 14 seasons with the Kansas City Cowboys, Phillies, and Boston Beaneaters.

Yeah, that was a long time ago. Hamilton stole over 100 bases in a season three times, and led the league five times during his career.

So there it is. You can now go one name deeper the next time you get quizzed. Got any other famous third place finishers?


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