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The 40–40 club is a baseball term, whose players have accumulated a total of 40 home runs and 40 stolen bases in a single season.

Becoming a member of the 40–40 club is an elusive achievement in modern American baseball, as players who possess the power to hit 40 home runs and the speed to steal 40 bases in a season are rare. Generally a player gifted with the strength to hit 40 will not have nearly the speed needed to steal 40 bases, and vice versa. This remains true even as statistical trends change in baseball — stolen base totals in the 1980s were unusually high, but very few players reached 40 home runs; home run totals were extremely high in the late 1990s, but stolen bases became more rare as the steal was a sparingly used tactic.

Only four professional players have achieved the requisite numbers for the 40–40 club, and none have done so more than once.

Year Player Team HR SB
1988 José Canseco Oakland Athletics 42 40
1996 Barry Bonds San Francisco Giants 42 40
1998 Alex Rodriguez Seattle Mariners 42 46
2006 Alfonso Soriano Washington Nationals 46 41

Contents

Near-misses

The first player to approach the mark was Ken Williams in 1922, with 39 home runs and 37 stolen bases, making him the first player to reach the 30-30 club. It would take another 30 years for anyone else to approach the mark, as Willie Mays did in 1957 with 36 home runs and 40 stolen bases. Bobby Bonds was one home run away from becoming the founding member of the club in 1973 with 39 home runs and 43 stolen bases, but failed to hit a home run in any of the final twenty-one games of the season. Eric Davis had a near-miss in 1987 when he stole 50 bases and hit 37 home runs (in only 129 games). Darryl Strawberry also had a near-miss that same year when he clubbed 39 home runs and had 36 stolen bases in 159 games.

After Canseco became the first member of the club, Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle was quoted as saying, "Hell, If I'd known 40-40 was going to be a big deal, I'd have done it every year!" [1]

More recently, the 40–40 club nearly gained two new members in the same year. In 2002, Vladimir Guerrero of the Montreal Expos and Alfonso Soriano of the New York Yankees were each just one home run short, with 39 homers each and 40 and 41 stolen bases, respectively. In 2004, Carlos Beltran was two home runs shy as he hit 38 and collected 43 steals, splitting the season between the Kansas City Royals and Houston Astros.

50–50 club

Given the rarity of the 40–40 club, a player reaching the 50–50 mark in home runs and stolen bases would break new ground in baseball history and establish a new high-water mark for power/speed talent. Since the 50-home run season became more common in the late 1990s and early 21st century — variously due to improvements in physical training, smaller field dimensions, and the use of performance enhancing drugs — the first part of the 50–50 plateau may be more easily attained. At the same time, stolen base totals are down leaguewide. As with most 30–30 and 40–40 seasons, a player would have to remain nearly injury-free during the year. Most such seasons have been attained with a minimum of 150 games played out of a typical 162-game schedule.

  • No member of the 30–30 or 40–40 clubs hit 50 home runs in their club-joining seasons. (Larry Walker fell one short in 1997 with 49 homers.)
  • Only Eric Davis (1987) and Barry Bonds (1990) stole at least 50 bases in their 30–30 seasons. (The player who has come closest to reaching 50–50 is Alex Rodriguez, noted above.)
  • Barry Bonds and Brady Anderson are the only players to record both a 50-homer season and a 50-steal season during their careers. Bonds had 52 steals in 1990 and hit 73 homers in 2001. Anderson had 53 steals in 1992 and 50 home runs in 1996.

During the 2006 season, Alfonso Soriano of the Washington Nationals was briefly being discussed as a potential 50–50 club candidate.[1] After slugging 12 home runs in May, Soriano was on pace to top 50; however, his stolen base totals were never high enough to merit serious consideration (although he did manage to steal 41 to go along with his 46 home runs).

The phrase "50–50 club" can also refer to two combinations which have been achieved:

Notes

  • Rodriguez is the only non-outfielder to have gone 40–40 (Soriano, once a second baseman, played left field in his 40–40 season).
  • Rodriguez's 40–40 season was the only season he had over 40 stolen bases.
  • Soriano's 40–40 season was the only season he had over 40 home runs.
  • Soriano is the only 40–40 member not to have won a League MVP Award (Canseco 1, Bonds 7, Rodriguez 3).
  • Canseco is the only 40-40 member to win the League MVP Award during his 40-40 season.
    • Bonds (.308 AVG, 122 R, 42 HR, 129 RBI, 40 SB) lost out to Ken Caminiti (.326 AVG, 109 R, 40 HR, 130 RBI, 11 SB) for the 1996 NL MVP Award
    • Rodriguez (.310 AVG, 123 R, 42 HR, 124 RBI, 46 SB) lost out to Juan Gonzalez (.318 AVG, 110 R, 45 HR, 157 RBI, 2 SB) for the 1998 AL MVP Award
    • Soriano (.277 AVG, 119 R, 46 HR, 95 RBI, 41 SB) lost out to Ryan Howard (.313 AVG, 104 R, 58 HR, 149 RBI, 0 SB) for the 2006 NL MVP Award
  • Soriano's 2006 season had 46 home runs, 41 stolen bases, and 41 doubles, thus making him the sole member of the 40–40–40 club.[2][3] He is also the only member to record 20 outfield assists in the same season.

See also

References

External links

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