For most of baseball history hitting 30 homers and stealing 30 bases in the same season was a pretty big deal.
From the beginning of time through 1982 the only players in the 30-30 club were Ken Williams (the 1920s outfielder, not the current White Sox general manager), Hank Aaron, Willie Mays, Bobby Bonds, and Tommy Harper.
Beginning in 1983 the club started to expand rapidly, adding Dale Murphy, Darryl Strawberry, Eric Davis, Howard Johnson, Joe Carter, Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds, Ron Gant, and Sammy Sosa during the next decade.
And since the players returned from their strike in 1995, at least one player has joined the 30-30 club every year for an influx of 21 new members and 31 total 30-30 campaigns in 15 seasons.
Rangers second baseman Ian Kinsler became the club’s newest member Friday with the 54th 30-30 season in baseball history, and it’s also one of the least impressive 30-30 campaigns. Kinsler’s current .250 batting average would be the lowest by any 30-30 player, his .323 on-base percentage would be the fourth-lowest, and his .480 slugging percentage would be the ninth-lowest.
Here are the best and worst adjusted OPS+ totals from a 30-30 season:
BEST YEAR OPS+ WORST YEAR OPS+ Barry Bonds 1992 205 Joe Carter 1987 104 Barry Bonds 1996 188 Brandon Phillips 2007 105 Hank Aaron 1963 179 Raul Mondesi 1999 108 Larry Walker 1997 178 Alfonso Soriano 2005 109 Willie Mays 1957 174 Preston Wilson 2000 109 Barry Bonds 1997 170 IAN KINSLER 2009 110 Barry Bonds 1990 170 Sammy Sosa 1993 111 Jose Canseco 1988 170 Dante Bichette 1996 112 Howard Johnson 1989 169 Shawn Green 1998 116 Barry Bonds 1995 168 Jimmy Rollins 2007 118
This Bonds guy must have been pretty good, huh? Actually, of the 54 instances of a 30-30 season Barry and his father Bobby account for 10 of them. Anyway …
In terms of offensive production Kinsler is having one of the worst 30-30 seasons of all time, but a 110 adjusted OPS+ is better than it looks coming from a middle infielder. On the other hand, Carter’s adjusted OPS+ of 104 in 1987 is the lowest by any 30-30 player and he split time between first base and left field. That season the average adjusted OPS+ was 125 at first base and 112 in left field, so Carter was actually a significantly below-average hitter for his positions.