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Touch 'em all

Gonzalez joins elite club of total base fiends

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Posted: Tuesday October 02, 2001 2:26 AM

  Arizona's Luis Gonzalez leads a group of sluggers toward 400 total bases. AP

By Jacob Luft, CNNSI.com

Ted Williams never did it. Neither did Willie Mays, Frank Robinson or Reggie Jackson.

Luis Gonzalez did, and with six games left in the season no less.

"It" is 400 total bases in a season. Total bases only can be accumulated by singles, doubles, triples and home runs. Walks and stolen bases do not count, hence the rarity of the 400-total base feat. When Mark McGwire hit his record 70 home runs in 1998, he fell 17 bases shy.

With 403 total bases as of Oct. 1, Gonzalez became the 18th player in baseball history to surpass the 400-total base mark. Sammy Sosa, Barry Bonds and Todd Helton followed suit to increase the all-time number of 400 seasons to 29 (see chart, below).

Base Instincts
Players close to or beyond 400 total bases this season:
Player  Team  TB 
Sammy Sosa  CHC  425 
Luis Gonzalez  ARI  419 
Barry Bonds  SF  411 
Todd Helton  COL  402 
Alex Rodriguez  TEX  393 
Note: Through Oct. 2, 2001
 
 

This was a banner season for the category, with four players joining the 400 club, matching the high set in 1930. There were two in 1927, '29, '32, '36 and '37.

This isn't anything new for Sosa and Helton, who became the the sixth and seventh players in history with more than one 400 season. Lou Gehrig has the most with an amazing five, followed by Chuck Klein (3), Babe Ruth (2), Jimmie Foxx (2) and Rogers Hornsby (2).

Rodriguez took over the single-season shortstop record from Ernie Banks in 1998 with 384 and easily eclipsed that total this season. He threatened to become the first AL player to reach the mark since Jim Rice in 1978. Bonds had never had more than 365 in a season (1993), and Gonzalez's career-high was 337 in '99.

Historically, the total base race has impacted MVP selections. League leaders in total bases have compiled 43 MVP awards, including Sosa in 1998 and Ken Griffey Jr. in '97.

400 Total Bases in a Season
American League 
Year  Player  Team  1B  2B  3B  HR  TB 
1921  Babe Ruth  NYY  85  44  16  59  457 
1927  Lou Gehrig  NYY  101  52  18  47  447 
1932  Jimmie Foxx  PHI  113  33  58  438 
1930  Lou Gehrig  NYY  120  42  17  41  419 
1937  Joe DiMaggio  NYY  119  35  15  46  418 
1927  Babe Ruth  NYY  95  29  60  417 
1931  Lou Gehrig  NYY  119  31  15  46  410 
1934  Lou Gehrig  NYY  115  40  49  409 
1978  Jim Rice  BOS  127  25  15  46  406 
1936  Hal Trotsky  CLE  120  45  42  405 
1933  Jimmie Foxx  PHI  110  37  48  403 
1936  Lou Gehrig  NYY  112  37  49  403 
National League 
Year  Player  Team  1B  2B  3B  HR  TB 
1922  Rogers Hornsby  STL  148  46  14  42  450 
1930  Chuck Klein  PHI  143  59  40  445 
1948  Stan Musial  STL  127  46  18  39  429 
2001  Sammy Sosa  CHI  86  34  64  425 
1930  Hack Wilson  CHI  111  35  56  423 
1932  Chuck Klein  PHI  123  50  15  38  420 
2001  Luis Gonzalez  ARI  98  36  57  419 
1930  Babe Herman  BKN  147  48  11  35  416 
1998  Sammy Sosa  CHI  112  20  66  416 
2001  Barry Bonds  SF  49  32  73  411 
1929  Rogers Hornsby  CHI  135  47  39  409 
1997  Larry Walker  COL  109  46  49  409 
1937  Joe Medwick  STL  140  56  10  31  406 
1929  Chuck Klein  PHI  125  45  43  405 
2000  Todd Helton  COL  113  59  42  405 
2001  Todd Helton  COL  92  54  49  402 
1959  Hank Aaron  MIL  131  46  39  400 
 


 
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