Pop quiz, Hall members...only three players have at least one triple in each season since 2000.
Can you name them? Can you name one?!?
Nope. He started his U.S. tour of duty in 2001 and while he's racked up 89 since his debut...he doesn't qualify.
Again...no. The league's active leader in triples with 100 didn't debut in Tampa until 2002.
Would you have guessed Johnny Damon? Probably...and you'd be right. The Detroit outfielder is second among active players with 98.
What about Damon's teammate Carlos Guillen? Maybe. With half (50) of the career output of Crawford, Guillen does indeed have a triple in each of the last eleven seasons.
But what about Boston's David Ortiz?
“Yeah, I can believe that,” Red Sox utility man Bill Hall told the Boston Herald after Ortiz legged out his annual triple in the fifth inning of a game last week. “He’s definitely not the fastest person in the world, but he can still beat some guys in a race in this league. It’s obviously got to be a ball that’s well-placed, maybe kicked around a little bit, but he’s not pulling up at second. He expects to go to third.”
For his career, "Big Papi" has 15 triples. To put things in perspective (or not), career triples leader, Hall of Famer Sam Crawford has 309 and 13 times over his 19 year career, he had 15 or more.
But here's the kicker, gang, the Red Sox and Twins (you know...the team that released Papi and opened the door for him to head to BeanTown) are 11-3 in the 14 games where Ortiz has reached third without stopping first for oxygen at either of the previous two bases.
An interesting sidenote...one of those three losses (an 8-3 victory by the Orioles July 22, 2004) marks the only game where Ortiz hit two triples in one contest.
Both times he was stranded at third.
So, American League fans, this October when you are lamenting the fact that your team doesn't have homefield advantage for the World Series...maybe Joe Girardi was right to have not put in a pitch runner for Ortiz in the ninth inning of the All-Star.
Or then again...maybe leaving him in to get forced out at second was a bad decision.