When Steve Finley and Kenny Lofton retired after the 2007 season, America fell into what would be known (to nobody but myself) as the Dark Ages of Triples. Because for the first time in a long, long while, no active player in major league baseball had accrued at least 100 career triples. And that remains true today.
But with the advent of the 2010 season, there is hope for a Renaissance. Three guys are awfully close to a three-digit milestone of the most exciting play in baseball. Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins stands with 96, Tigers outfielder Johnny Damon has collected 95, and Rays outfielder Carl Crawford has 93.
A triple occurs about once every five games. Home runs are over five times more common. Through Sunday’s games this season, more people have intentionally walked (117) than tripled (107). There have also been 113 pinch hits. What I’m trying to say is that triples are rare.
Fortunately, baseball fans will soon no longer live in a world where nobody still playing baseball has at least 100 of them.
Crawford needs seven more, which is well within his ability. That would give him eight on the season, tying his total from 2009. The same with Rollins: he already has one this year, and four more would give him the full hundred and tie last year’s total. Then the aging Damon, while he’s only five away, but that’s also his maximum number of three-base hits in any of the last four seasons. Potentially Damon could get help from a portion of Comerica Park’s erratic right field wall, which helped Curtis Granderson scamper to third quite often.
Odds are that Crawford and Rollins — or at least one of them — will hustle to third enough times to finally unmanacle us from triple’s Dust Bowl. We can do this, people.