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Bar Bets: Make mine a double

Which original Devil Ray has more extra-base hits than Mickey Mantle?

Malcolm Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

Okay, this one is pretty easy, and probably won't win you a beer unless your stooge is from Bahstin. Because there are only two plausible answers to "Which original DRay has more extra base hits than Mickey Mantle?" One correct and obvious answer, and  one "ah that's too ahbivous so it's gahda be Bahggs" answer.

The case for Wade is pretty straight up. He played the majority of his career at that mini-golf course of ball park where he could slap a double off the windmill pretty much any time he wanted to. Which is true enough, as far as it goes. In his eleven seasons in Fenway, Boggs did top 40 doubles eight times, twice leading the league in the category. But that's not nearly enough to offset his lack of home runs, so no, you pink-hatted Slowinski, the answer is not Wade Bahhhggs.

(Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

You Already Know who it is. It's the non-inducted half of the 493 club. It's the man who, if he ever is inducted, should go in wearing a blue "Baseball World" cap. It's the answer everyone except Dale Murray's mom gives to the question "what is the worst trade in Yankee history?" It's the Crime Dog: Fred McGriff. Of course it is.

"A double, please." (Rick Stewart/Getty Images)

When I floated this tidbit by the masthead, Danny's response was "that sounds like a HOF case for McGriff." And if you don't look at it very closely, it is. But here's the thing: even though Mantle is still 16th on the career home run list, he's only 51st on the extra base hit list (McGriff is 47th). And the reason he's only 51st is because Mickey Mantle—who despite a history of knee injuries, was still a pretty fast guy for most of his career—just didn't hit many doubles.

How few did he hit? 344 to be exact, tied with Big Ed KonetchyGreg Luzunski, and several others for 287th on the all-time list. Of the 26 guys in the 500 HR club, he's 16th in singles...and 24th in doubles. And even if you convert his not-too-shabby 72 triples to doubles, it hardly moves the needle. Apparently he only got doubles out drinking with Billy Martin.

Why did Mantle hit so few doubles? I dunno, 'cuz baseball is weird, man. Maybe it was some quirky artifact of Yankee Stadium's dimensions. Maybe it was a Yankee strategy to keep him from hurting his fragile knees. Maybe Bill Dickey was a crappy first base coach. My personal theory is that when he first hurt his knee in the '51 World Series, he actually tore his ACL, which didn't affect his straight line speed but made him tentative making the turn for second. Who knows?

In any case: yes, feel free to use this info to trip up a Saux fan. Use it on the Yankee fan next to you at the Trop . . . wait, who am I kidding, you're Rays' fans, you won't be at the game. Anyway, don't use it to bolster Crime Dog's HOF case. There are much better ways to do that.