If you follow me on Twitter, you know that I like to throw out cool stats that I come across from time to time. But occasionally I come across a really cool stat, one that I think deserves its own column. This is one of those occasions.
Over the weekend I was looking at the Royals’ stats, and something stuck out at me. Jeff Francoeur, who continues to defy his detractors, has 44 doubles – tying Jermaine Dye’s franchise record for doubles hit by an outfielder.
Behind Francoeur and Dye on the all-time list of doubles hit by a Royals outfielder is Carlos Beltran, with 41 – a place he now shares with Alex Gordon. And not far behind them is Melky Cabrera, who has 39 doubles this season, ranking him among the Royals’ top ten outfielders for doubles in a season.
And it’s still Labor Day.
All three members of the Royals’ outfield have hit 39 or more doubles. In the history of baseball, only two teams have ever had all three of their outfielders hit 39 doubles.
The 1998 Angels did it with Darin Erstad (39), Jim Edmonds (42), and Garret Anderson (41).
The 1932 Philadelphia Phillies did it with Kiddo Davis (39), Chuck Klein (50), and Hal Lee (42).
You might notice that both of those teams had one outfielder who stopped at 39 doubles. So let me put this bluntly: with Melky Cabrera’s next double, the Kansas City Royals will be the first team in major-league history to have all three outfielders hit 40 doubles. We’ve already seen an outfield of .400 hitters – the 1894 Philadelphia Phillies – but never an outfield of 40-double hitters. We’re one two-bagger away.
But that’s not it. Because you see Billy Butler has also hit 38 doubles this year. Which means the Royals are a couple of doubles away from having four different players each hit 40 doubles this year.
Only three teams in major-league history have accomplished that feat. They are:
- The 2006 Texas Rangers, with Mark Teixeira (45), Michael Young (52), Gary Matthews (44), and Mark DeRosa (40).
- The 1929 Detroit Tigers, with Dale Alexander (43), Charlie Gehringer (45), Harry Heilman (41), and Roy Johnson (45).
- And the aforementioned 1932 Philadelphia Phillies, who along with Klein and Lee also had Dick Bartell (48) and Don Hurst (41). Kiddo Davis was one double short of giving the Phillies five separate 40-double hitters, but before you’re too impressed remember that the Phillies played in the Baker Bowl, where it was about 280 feet to right field, and the wall was about 45 feet high – it was the Green Monster on steroids. That year the Phillies hit 204 doubles at home – and just 126 doubles on the road.
The Royals are about to become the fourth team in major-league history to have four different players hit 40 or more doubles. What’s more, with Alex Gordon hitting his 42nd double of the season in Oakland this afternoon, the Royals need three more doubles from Cabrera, and four more doubles from Butler, to become the first team in major-league history with four players that hit 42 or more doubles.
The thing about naming your team the “Royals” is that it leaves unsaid what kind of Royals they are. The 1985 team were Kings, obviously; the 2005 team were Court Jesters, or possibly (with a nod to Mel Brooks) the Pissboys.
It’s pretty clear who the 2011 Kansas City Royals are. They’re the Earls of Doublin’.