Friday, September 01, 2006

Fruits of Your Labor Day

Thanks for all of your responses to the trivia question. The answer is...

The five switch hitters to have hit 40 home runs in a season in Major League Baseball history are:
Mickey Mantle, NY Yankees, 52 HRs, 1956; 42 HRs, 1958; 40 HRs, 1960; 54 HRs, 1961
Todd Hundley, NY Mets, 41 HRs, 1996
Ken Caminiti, San Diego Padres, 40 HRs, 1996
Chipper Jones, Atlanta Braves, 41 HRs, 1997; 41 HRs, 1999
Lance Berkman, Houston Astros, 42 Hrs, 2002

I don't have a particularly good reason why three of the four players happened to have accomplished the feat in 1996 and 1997. Well, Caminiti admitted to using steroids during that time, but still, it seems like just a statistical quirk that they were bunched together. Mantle (1956), Caminiti and Jones (1999) all won MVP awards during those seasons, while Hundley finished 18th, tied with teammate Lance Johnson. How three members of the 1996 Mets (Bernard Gilkey was 14th) finished in the top 18 in the MVP race, when the team finished in fourth place, 25 games out, is beyond me. Though pointing these things out is certainly not beneath me.

Bonus Answer: The Mets' Carlos Beltran, with 39 home runs, should become the 6th player to enter this group sometime this month, and Lance Berkman will repeat.


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