The Boston Red Sox are on a pace to break the MLB record for doubles in a season. Now for a quick look at the team and MLB doubles history.
The Boston Red Sox are on a pace to set a team and major league record for doubles in a season. Fenway Park is well recognized as a doubles paradise for both left and right-handed hitters and that is shown this season, but the team also hits them on the road as well.
After 41 games Boston has hit 105 doubles and at that pace, they will obliterate the current record and have 415 doubles. In second place in MLB is the Astros at a distant 86 doubles. The Red Sox have assembled a unique combination of power hitters who can hit the alleys and go to all fields. The Red Sox also lead the American League in triples with 12.
The team record for doubles is 376 by the 2008 Texas Rangers and second place is a tie held by the 1930 St. Louis Cardinals and matched by the 1997 Boston Red Sox at 373. The 1930 season could have an asterisk attached since that was the year of the hitter, but it was also a 154 game schedule and not 162. The fewest team doubles is the 110 by the 1908 Brooklyn Superbas.
The Red Sox tied the 373 team record in 2004 and also hold the next two highest MLB totals with 371 in 2003 and 363 in 2013. The 2007 team led the league with 352 so if one believes that doubles equate with playoffs or championships the prognosis is favorable for 2016. No surprise that the Red Sox are usually among the league leaders in team doubles.
David Ortiz recently hit his 600th double and that is a rare feat in major league baseball achieved by only 14 other players. Within reach is the possibility of Ortiz becoming a top ten in career doubles if Papi can pass Henry Aaron at 624, but despite his prolific doubles total Ortiz has never led the league in that department despite having 52 doubles in 2007. Ortiz has topped 30 doubles in 12 seasons – another impressive total.
Ortiz is not the only power performer to not lead the league in doubles as two of the greatest all-time long ball threats were Mickey Mantle and Willie Mays – neither ever led the league in doubles and one year (1955) Mays registered only 18. Mantle topped 30 only once, but both Mantle and Mays led the league in triples during their careers.
Earl Webb holds the distinction of holding both the team and the major league record for doubles in a season with 67and breaking the record of 64 set in 1926 by George Burns of Cleveland – I have no idea if Gracie Allen had any doubles?
Webb was a left-handed hitter and the rumor was that as Webb neared the record several potential triples became doubles in a season in which Webb slashed .333/.404/.528 in 151 games. One would suspect Webb was a doubles machine, but his next highest total was a mere 30.
The previous team record of 53 was held by the current all-time career leader in doubles – Tris Speaker – who notched 792 among his 3,514 career hits. Speaker’s Boston total was 241 in seven full seasons. Speaker is also tied with Stan Musial at the number of times leading the league in doubles as Speaker and “The Man” both had eight.
The Red Sox have had 14 different players lead the American League in doubles with several multiple winners including Carl Yastrzemski, who capture the doubles title three times and holds the team career record of 645 – well ahead of the 525 registered by Ted Williams. Williams twice led the AL in doubles with back-to-back titles in 1948 and 1949.
The Red Sox and MLB record for doubles in a game is four and the Red Sox honor was first achieved by Billy Werber in 1935 and four others have followed – Al Zarilla, Orlando Cepeda, Victor Martinez and Rick Miller. Two players – Gavvy Cravath and Albert Belle – both hit four doubles in a game twice. No player has ever swatted five doubles in a game.
Napoleon Lajoie and Ed Delahanty are the only players to lead both leagues in doubles and Lajoie is also the only player to lead the league in doubles with three different teams.
One unusual statistic belongs to Larry Bowa, who hit only 11 doubles in 1972 yet led the National league in triples with 13. For quirky Red Sox double figures, just look at Hanley Ramirez, who hit only 12 in 2015 and has eight so far this season. Ramirez has three times broken through the 40+ doubles a season barrier.
As the season moves forward watch the doubles totals as the Red Sox will undoubtedly have several players among the league leaders and as a team, they are fast becoming a lock to set a new record.