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Carl Crawford Is Making History With Every Triple

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Ever woken up and wondered where Carl Crawford ranks amongst the all time triples leaders? If you have then this is just for you, if not take a seat and enjoy the ride. I went back and searched from 1901-2008 for the most triples hit by a player through age 26 with a minimum of 3000 plate appearances. Here is the list:

1901-2008

3B

PA

T. Cobb

125

4844

J. Jackson

115

3745

S. Crawford

105

3628

R. Hornsby

104

4281

S. Magee

101

4605

T. Speaker

94

3899

G. Goslin

93

3766

C.Crawford

84

4054

A.Vaughan

83

4362

D. Hoblitzel

80

4307

Note that there are six Hall of Famers, one player who isn't in the Hall of Fame but has had movies and books dedicated to his greatness, two pretty good players and Carl Crawford. Mr. "Three Dog" is right at home amongst some of the games greatest hitters. The one thing that really separates CC from the rest of this list is he turned 26 after 1938 which something nobody else on this list did.

Another thing that stood out to me was the variation in plate appearances. As you can see Ty Cobb had 18 more triples than Joe Jackson, but had over 1,200 more plate appearances. To see who is the better triples hitter, I've arranged the list by triples per plate appearance

1901-2008

3B

PA

PA Per 3B

J. Jackson

115

3745

32.56

S. Crawford

105

3628

34.55

T. Cobb

125

4844

38.75

G. Goslin

93

3766

40.49

R. Hornsby

104

4281

41.16

T. Speaker

94

3899

41.47

S. Magee

101

4605

45.59

C.Crawford

84

4054

48.26

A.Vaughan

83

4362

52.55

D. Hoblitzel

80

4307

53.835

As you can see Shoeless Joe was the original "Three Dog" with a triple once every 32.5 plate appearance. Cobb is skipped by Crawford, but not our Crawford. Sam Crawford comes in behind Jackson and leaps over former teammate Cobb to take second place. The rest of the list is pretty stable with CC coming in at eighth again in front of Arky Vaughan.

Since 80% of this list includes players who turned 26 before 1928, I decided to rerun the numbers for 1928-2008. Same rules apply; most triples hit by a player through age 26 with a minimum of 3000 plate appearances.

1928-2008

3B

PA

C.Crawford

84

4054

A. Vaughan

83

4362

G.Templeton

77

3715

S. Musial

77

3332

G. Brett

73

3815

J. Medwick

73

4039

J. Reyes

71

3485

V. Pinson

71

4955

J. DiMaggio

69

3737

J. Foxx

66

4400

As you can see a large chunk of the first list is gone, including the top seven players. This leaves the Rays' Carl Crawford on top of the list of most triples hit through age 26. This list, like the first, includes several Hall of Famers: Musial, Brett, Medwick, Dimaggio and Foxx are all in the Cooperstown. The ones who aren't are Gerry Templeton and Vada Pinson who both finished with over 2,000 hits, and of course CC and Jose Reyes who are still tearing up the bases.

Like the list from 1901, I rearranged the list by triples per plate appearance.

1928-2008

3B

PA

PA Per 3B

S. Musial

77

3332

43.27273

G.Templeton

77

3715

48.24675

C.Crawford

84

4054

48.2619

J. Reyes

71

3485

49.08451

G. Brett

73

3815

52.26027

A. Vaughan

83

4362

52.55422

J. DiMaggio

69

3737

54.15942

J. Medwick

73

4039

55.32877

J. Foxx

66

4400

66.66667

V. Pinson

71

4955

69.78873

As you can see triples per PA have decreased since the days of Cobb and Shoeless Joe. While the first group had over 50% of the players with at least one triple in every 42 appearances, this group has none. Stan the man leads the list with one triple every 43.2 PA's. If he were on the original list he would've ranked seventh. Smaller ballparks and improved fielding have greatly decreased the number of triples now a day, making what we are seeing from Crawford and Reyes truly amazing.

The next time you see Carl Crawford running the bases like a mad man looking like he's about to fall on his face, remind yourself that you're not just watching another triple, you're watching history being made.

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Photos by SRQman