2009 trivia

Here are a few interesting tidbits from the 2009 season, courtesy of SABR’s Madison McEntire:

The Yankees became just the 13th team to have six or more players with 80 RBIs, and just the third to have at least seven players with 80 RBIs. The 1939 Yankees had seven and the 2003 Red Sox had eight.

The Phillies became the 12th team (with 11 of them coming since 1995) to have four players with at least 30 home runs.

Adam Dunn hit his 38th homer of the season on September 22 but did not homer again so his streak of 40+ homer seasons ended at five. The past four seasons he had exactly 40 homers.

After missing over a month to begin the season, Alex Rodriguez‘s 11-year streak of 30-homer and 100-RBI seasons appeared in jeopardy until he homered twice and drove in seven on the last day of the season to reach the marks exactly on the nose to extend it to twelve straight years. The record for consecutive 100-RBI season is 13, shared by Lou Gehrig and Jimmie Foxx, so he could tie that next year . Both of A-Rod’s homers came in the sixth inning, allowing him to join Willie McCovey, Andre Dawson, and Jeff King as the only players to homer twice in an inning twice in their career. However, his 13-year streak of scoring over 100 runs did end this season.

Ivan Rodriguez increased his career home run total to 305, making him (from my research) just the second player to hit 300 homers without ever leading his team in any season. He trails only Edgar Martinez, who hit 309 for the Mariners but never led them in any one season.

Vladimir Guerrero‘s streak of leading (ties included) his team in home runs ended at 11 years, tying him for second place with Hank Aaron, Jimmie Foxx and Sammy Sosa. The leader is Mel Ott, who either led or tied for the lead with the Giants for 18 consecutive seasons (1928 to 1945). The active leader is now Albert Pujols who has led the Cardinals for nine straight seasons.

Ryan Howard tied with Prince Fielder for the NL RBI crown. It was the third time in the last four years that Howard has led the NL in RBI. In the 2007 playoff game to determine the NL Wild Card, Matt Holliday picked up an RBI to break a tie with Howard that season. So the extra game, which counted in the regular season stats, prevented Howard from winning a fourth consecutive RBI title this season. No player since 1900 has led their league in RBIs for four consecutive seasons.

Baltimore’s Brian Roberts hit 56 doubles to become the ninth player since 1900 with back-to-back 50-double seasons. This was also his third season of 50+ double, tying him for second-most with Paul Waner and Stan Musial for second place behind Tris Speaker (5).

Ichiro Suzuki finished with 225 hits, setting a record with his fifth season of 220+ hits. He scored just 88 runs, the lowest ever by a player with at least 220 hits.

Adrian Gonzalez finished with 40 homers and 99 RBI, becoming the 14th player to hit at least 40 homers but not drive in 100 runs.

Richie Sexson did not appear in the majors in 2009. If he never plays again, he will be the only player (so far) to retire with six 100-RBI seasons, but finish with less than 1,000 career RBI.

Matt Holliday joined David Justice (2000), Carlos Beltran (2004), and Manny Ramirez (2008) as the only players to knock in at least 50 runs for two teams in one season.

Gary Sheffield‘s first homer of 2009 was the 500th of his career. It also made him just the third player (joining Cobb and Staub) to homer before age 20 and after age 40. And it also made him the third player (joining Palmeiro and Thomas) with 500 homers who never led his league in a season.

Eight players hit for the cycle in 2009, tying the record for the most in any one season. The only other season with eight cycles is 1933.

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Matt in Toledo
Matt in Toledo

Cool. All three players who homered before 20 and after 40 played for the Tigers. This is also cool because they asked this very question during a Tiger game and I missed the answer.

Jason B
Jason B

Will be interesting to see how Cooperstown handles the Thomases and Sheffields of the world – many years of very solid and consistent production, with not as much ‘black ink’ of leading the league in HR’s and other traditional counting stats. 

Of course, the issue will be inexorably intertwined with the steroid discussion and writers witholding votes from players who tested positive, showed up on some list, were rumored to have used, etc etc.