Welcome back to Currently Historic. This column started last year as an attempt to chronicle historic accomplishments that occurred/might be occurring throughout the baseball season. We tracked a lot of things last year. Some (Joey Votto‘s pursuit of the doubles record, for instance), were derailed by injury or ineffectiveness. Others (Miguel Cabrera‘s Triple Crown) came seemingly out of nowhere to surprise us at the end.
We also track career-long accomplishments, though I tend to limit this to players who are entering/moving up the top-20 lists and/or are approaching pretty round numbers. We saw plenty of that kind of thing, as well.
As we get going, we’ll obviously be looking more at the latter than the former, but once we get a few weeks of baseball in hand, I look forward to finding out which players are really trying to do something special this season. Will someone strike out 300 batters? Hit 60 doubles? Will Cabrera win another Triple Crown? The answer to all of those is almost certainly, no. Happily, however, someone is almost guaranteed to do something special this year. It’s how baseball works.
Chris Jaffe covered some of this in a recent column, but just to remind you, here are the players approaching significant rankings/numbers this season:
Derek Jeter is 16th (10,551) in at-bats and 19th (11,895) in plate appearances. Depending on his health, it’s possible he’ll hit the top 10 in each before the end of the year.
Again, Jeter is ranked high here (13th, 1,868) and should move into the top 10. Alex Rodriguez made the top 10 last year, but he’d have to play a lot more than he’s likely to if he wants to pass Stan Musial, who is 51 runs ahead of him, for ninth.
I don’t mean to make this the Derek Jeter show, but he’s currently 11th with 3,304. He is a lead-pipe cinch to move up several spots. And, assuming he’s mostly healthy, he should end the season sixth all time with Tris Speaker in his sights.
A-Rod is currently ninth. He has a chance, once he comes back, to move into eighth, but that’s as far as he’s likely to get. Jeter conceivably could enter the top 20 this year.
Jeter (again) is poised to move up. He’s currently sixth and should make fifth this year.
Albert Pujols has 475, and so 500 seems like a very safe bet. If he can tack 12 more on top of that, he’ll finish the year in the top 20.
It is at least possible that A-Rod could pass Willie Mays, but 13 home runs seems like a lot more than it did a few years ago for him.
Prince Fielder needs 40 to get to 300. That’s certainly possible.
Extra base hits:
A-Rod should move up the list a bit. He’s currently ninth.
Pujols (995) will join the 1,000 club. Todd Helton (960) might if he stays healthy.
Runs batted in:
If he gets any time at all this year, A-Rod will at least move into 6th place (he’s only one back of Stan Musial).
Pujols (1,434) should get to 1,500.
If Jim Thome catches on somewhere, things could get really interesting, as he’s only 49 away from Reggie Jackson‘s all-time record of 2,597. Of course, he’d probably just be keeping the seat warm for Dunn, who figures to take the crown sometime in 2015.
Jeter will more into the top 20 very soon.
Juan Pierre needs only nine to reach 600 and will continue to move up the all-time list. He’ll also likely become the sixth man to be caught stealing 200 times.
Michael Bourn (276) is a good bet to make it to 300.
Mariano Rivera (eighth) should finish as the pitcher with the fourth-most appearances ever.
Andy Pettitte (491) will start his 500th game. Mark Buerhle (396) and Barry Zito (394) will each start his 400th. Roy Halladay and Derek Lowe (377 each), and Bartolo Colon (375) could, as well.
Halladay (199), Tim Hudson (197), and CC Sabathia (191) are all good bets to get to 200 wins soon.
Joe Nathan (298) will get to 300. Jonathan Papelbon (257) certainly could.
Pettitte (983) and Dempster (992) will each offer their 1,000th free pass this year.
That’s a good season’s worth of career milestones to track and in-season milestones will show up as we go. As with last year, I need your help. I’m bound to miss stuff, so keep me posted either in the comments or via email with what you think I should be tracking.
Pittsburgh needs 39 wins to reach 10,000.