The TTO kings

This morning, in my Currently HIstoric column, a commenter wondered who had the TTO (as in Three True Outcomes—homers, walks and strikeouts record (Adam Dunn is currently on pace to finish with 424).

I gave the information I had on hand, but I hadn’t finished looking into it, and I was sure I was missing something. Time for some methodical research. What you will see below is a list of the top 20 TTO seasons ever. I am reasonably certain this is correct, though I may have missed one or two.

1. Mark McGwire, 1998 – 387
2. Ryan Howard, 2007 – 353
3. Adam Dunn, 2004 – 349
4. Ryan Howard, 2006 – 347
5. Adam Dunn, 2006 – 345
6. Jim Thome, 2001 – 345
7. Barry Bonds, 2001 – 343
8. Jack Cust, 2008 – 341
9. Jim Thome, 2003 – 340
10. Mark McGwire, 1999 – 339
11. Sammy Sosa, 2001 – 333
12T. Jim Thome, 1999 – 331
12T. Adam Dunn, 2009 – 331
14. Ryan Howard, 2008 – 328
15T. Jim Thome, 2000 – 326
15T. Adam Dunn, 2008 – 326
17. Adam Dunn, 2002 – 324
18. Adam Dunn, 2005 – 322
19. Mike Schmidt, 1975 – 319
20T. Barry Bonds, 2004 – 318
20T. Mark McGwire, 1997 – 318
20T. Jeff Bagwell, 1999 – 318

You’ll notice that several players appear multiple times, with Dunn dominating the list. He has six of the top 20 seasons right now, and will make that seven before the year is over. Also, if he stays on his current pace, he will have moved the TTO game to a new level.

Also of interest, though these numbers are mostly the product of the modern era, Mike Schmidt does slide in at number 19 with his 1975 season. He also has another season with 316 TTOs. Babe Ruth also has a season over 300, so these kinds of seasons weren’t unheard of before the late 1990s, but they were much rarer. This is mostly due to the baseball-wide increase in strikeouts (in Ruth’s on

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Comments

  1. Jason Linden said...

    Ack! I sure did. I have no idea how that happened since I even talked about him in the comments on the other article. He should have two entries:

    7T. Mark Reynolds, 2009 – 343
    16T. Mark Reynolds, 2010 – 326

    Note that everybody moves down a spot after #7, which is why he’s tied with Dunn and Thome for 16 instead of 15.

  2. Eric said...

    The most incredible thing about this list, is that only one person on it notched UNDER 100 Ks in a season.  It’s not hard to guess who.

  3. Mac said...

    Jay Buhner 1997: 334

    However, he needed his career high in BB and SO to do it, plus being one of only three times getting 40+ HR. I’d wager there are a few more TTO career year guys who also would crack the top 20.

    Historically, some random poking around found a Reggie Jackson (‘69) and Harmon Killebrew (‘62) managing 300+ TTO seasons, and give ‘em 8 more games (154 v. 162 game schedule) they might have sneaked into the top 20.

    You mentioned that strikeouts are the main cause for modern-era TTO domination. That’s certainly part of it, but also a factor is the rise in HR totals during the same time period.

  4. hopbitters said...

    Bonds pulled an absurd 120 intentional walks in ‘04, somewhat skewing those numbers. He holds the top three spots by a long shot, but most of the rest of the IBB leaders are fairly recent, with a handful of exceptions.

  5. Jason Linden said...

    Marc-

    Good call on Buhner. He wasn’t on my radar. I knew about Killebrew and Jackson, but as you noted, they didn’t do it enough for the top 20.

    I’m sure there are lots more guys with one crazy season. It will be interesting to see what the collective memories of THT readers can pull up.

    I also find it really interesting that traditional TTO guys like Kingman and Deer don’t factor in.

    You’re right that home run rates do help, but there were plenty of big home run season in the 20s and 30s. Lots of big walk seasons, too. Not a lot of big strikeout seasons, though.

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