Manny Machado broke up Scott Kazmir’s no-hitter last night by smacking his 36th double of the season. Not only does that lead MLB by a wide margin–no one else has more than 26–it puts the 20-year-old third baseman on pace to break the all-time record.
Earl Webb is the record-holder with 67 doubles in 1931 and Machado is currently on pace for 74 doubles. Looking at things another way, Baltimore has played 79 games and here’s the all-time doubles leaderboard through 79 team games:
Edgar Martinez 1996 39
Earl Webb 1931 38
Paul Waner 1932 37
MANNY MACHADO 2013 36
George Burns 1926 36
Edgar Martinez and three guys from the 1920s and 1930s is pretty good company. Machado is two doubles behind where Webb was in 1931 and it’s worth noting that teams only played 154 games per season back then.
And just to show how incredible what he’s doing is at Machado’s age, here’s the all-time doubles leaderboard through 79 team games for 20-year-olds:
MANNY MACHADO 2013 36
Ted Williams 1939 27
Alex Rodriguez 1996 25
Vada Pinson 1959 22
Mel Ott 1929 22
Manny Machado is bogarting all the doubles.
(All of these numbers come courtesy of Baseball-Reference.com’s indispensable Play Index, which is the single most valuable research tool in baseball.)
Commissioner Rob Manfred spoke with the media today. Naturally, he was asked various questions about the landscape of the sport, given that superstars Manny Machado and Bryce Harper remain unsigned as spring training begins. Per The Athletic’s Brittany Ghiroli, Manfred said that he thinks the free agent market will begin to move once spring training exhibition games begin. Manfred also said that Harper’s camp suggesting that he wants $400 million back in 2016 was “an impediment” to discussions throughout the offseason.
No word on why Machado is also as yet unsigned, as he did not have a reported $400 million ask.
Manfred’s job is to look out for ownership, so it’s not surprising to see him point the finger at Harper. Consider:
Manfred’s comment comes just months after the Red Sox won 108 regular season games and the World Series with baseball’s largest payroll. And ongoing evidence that there is indeed a positive correlation between dollars spent and team success. We often hear justification for tanking/rebuilding because the Cubs and Astros did it and won championships because of it. When the Red Sox use financial muscle to win a championship, it’s crickets.
Manfred didn’t stop there, however.
An easy way to get baseball’s “glow” back would be for two of the game’s best and most popular players to be in uniform playing games. The first spring training exhibition game will be played on February 22, so it’s not looking like that’s going to happen anytime soon.
Baseball’s “glow” would also come back if more teams were actively trying to win. Instead, one-third of the league is “rebuilding” or otherwise coasting on revenue-sharing. For fans of the Rangers, Orioles, Royals, and Marlins — to name a few — the outcomes of their favorite teams’ seasons have already been decided, so what is there to get excited about?