Bryce Harper hit one of six home runs for the Nationals last night in an 8-3 victory over the Mariners. In doing so, he joined some impressive company.
Harper is just the 15th player in MLB history to reach 50 career home runs before their age-22 season. It took him 331 games to get there.
Via Baseball Reference, he’s the full list, which includes two other active players:
Mel Ott – 86
Tony Conigliaro – 84
Eddie Matthews – 72
Frank Robinson – 67
Alex Rodriguez – 64
Mike Trout – 62
Ken Griffey, Jr. – 60
Al Kaline – 59
Mickey Mantle – 57
Giancarlo Stanton – 56
Bob Horner – 56
Andruw Jones – 54
Ted Williams – 54
Orlando Cepeda – 52
Bryce Harper – 50
Such a disappointment, that Harper. In all seriousness, imagine how high he’d be on that list if it wasn’t for the injuries over the past two seasons. He’d be near the top, most likely, if not the highest. Still, he’s off to a pretty good start and has plenty of time to meet those lofty expectations.
Jon Morosi reports that that the Detroit Tigers will make all veterans available via trade if they’re still under .500 by the end of June.
This was the position they entered the offseason with — everyone is available! — but they ended up gearing up for one more push with the core of veterans they currently employ. It was not a bad move, I don’t think. With the exception of the Indians, the AL Central is mostly down, or at least appeared to be over the winter, with the Royals in decline and the Twins and White Sox seemingly a few years away from contention. The Twins, however, have been fantastic and the Tigers have mostly underachieved.
So we’re back to this. Which veterans the Tigers can reasonably unload, however, is an open question. J.D. Martinez is in his walk year, so while tradable, he may not bring back a big return. Guys like Justin Upton, Justin Verlander and Miguel Cabrera either have very large contracts or no-trade protection.
The end of June is still a while from now, of course, and while the Tigers are under .500, they’re only 4.5 games behind the Twins. But they had better turn it around or else it sounds like the front office is going to turn the page.
As you get ready for Memorial Day weekend and whatever it entails for you and yours, take some time to read an excellent article from Mike Bates over at The Hardball Times.
The article is about Eddie Grant. You probably never heard of him. He was a journeyman infielder — often a backup — from 1905 through 1915. If you have heard of him, it was likely not for his baseball exploits, however: it was because he was the first active baseball player to die in combat, killed in the Battle of the Argonne Forest in October 1915.
Michael tells us about more than Grant’s death, however. He provides a great overview of his life and career. And notes that Grant didn’t even have to go to war if he didn’t want to. He was 34, had the chance to coach or manage and had a law degree and the potential to make a lot of money following his baseball career. He volunteered, however, for both patriotic and personal reasons. And it cost him his life.
Must-read stuff indeed. Especially this weekend.