Every year baseball records are tied or broken that have held up for decades. Also, players who have never been considered great hitters raise their skill level to accomplish unexpected hitting feats. The rest of this posting looks back at some of these hitting milestones for 2012. One of the problems with writing my book is that baseball records continually change. Please refer to Chapter 16 in my book for different record batting streaks. Here are the 2012 positional players and their outstanding batting feats.
Paul Konerko powered his 400 career home run, becoming just the 48 major leaguer to accomplish this feat. Josh Hamilton had four home runs and 18 total bases in one game. He became the 16th major leaguer to hit four-home runs a one game. His 18 total bases tied the AL record for total bases in one game. The Major League record is 19 total bases held by Shawn Greene. Aaron Hill hit for the cycle twice in one year. He became the first player to hit for the cycle twice in the same season in 81 years. His bi-cycle occurred within 12 days. Bryce Harper and Mike Trout, two highly-touted rookies, were called up to their respective teams on April 28, 2012. The Washington Nationals called up 19-year-old outfielder Bryce Harper to make his major league debut and the Los Angeles Angels recalled 20-year-old center fielder Mike Trout to make his 2012 debut. Harper hit 22 home runs, becoming just the second teenager in MLB history to collect over 20 home runs before his 20th birthday. Tony Conigliaro hit 24 before he turned 20. Trout had a sensational rookie season finishing second in the AL MVP balloting. Trout hit .326 with 30 homers and 83 RBIs. He also led the majors with 129 runs and 49 steals. Nelson Cruz had his second 8-RBI night of his career in 2012. His first 8-RBI game occurred in 2011. The record is 12 RBIs in one game last accomplished by Mark Whiten in 1993. Alex Rodriguez tied Lou Gehrig’s 23 career grand slam record. Buster Posey’s second half numbers were off the charts. He batted .385 with 14 home runs and 60 RBIs. Posey would capture the National League batting title with a .336 average leading his Giants to a second World Series title in three seasons. He was voted the NL MVP. Miguel Cabrera won the Triple Crown by batting .330 with 44 home runs and 139 RBI to lead in all three categories. The last two players to accomplish the Triple Crown were Carl Yastrzmski in 1967 and Frank Robinson in 1966. Marco Scutaro raised his skill level in the NLCS by batting over .500 and collecting 14 hits during the series. The 14 hits tied the LCS record for most hits in a post-season series. Previously this record was held jointly by Kevin Youkilis (2007), Hideki Matsui (2004), and Albert Pujols (2004). Scutaro also had six multi-hit games, including three hits and a walk in the seventh and deciding game. Pablo Sandoval put on a Ruthian power display In Game 1 of the 2012 World Series. Sandoval hit home runs in his first three at-bats in game1, becoming just the fourth player in major league history to hit three homers in a World Series game. Prior to Sandoval this feat was accomplished only by Babe Ruth, Reggie Jackson, and Albert Pujols. Sandoval would end the series with a .500 average and would capture the World Series MVP award as well. Please comment on any player you feel should be cited.
Baseball’s family just lost a great player and true gentleman with the passing of Stan Musial on January 19, 2013. In chapter 18 of my book I compiled a list of the top 10 hitters of all-time. Stan ranked 9 on my list. Bill James ranked Stan 5 with his Black Ink Test and 3 with his Gray Ink Test. Stan “The Stats Man” sadly says goodbye to Stan “The Man” Musial.