In Wednesday’s Seattle Mariners day game against the Washington Nationals, Julio Rodriguez hit his 20th home run of the season. By notching his 20th dinger, Rodriguez officially joined the 20/20 club with 20 HRs and 20 stolen bases (23 in his case) in a single season. He accomplished the feat with 38 games remaining in the season.
Rodriguez joins eleven other rookies in major league history to hit 20 HRs and steal 20 bases, six of whom went on to win Rookie of the Year. The list includes Mike Trout, Carlos Beltran, Nomar Garciaparra, Andrew Benintendi, and Randy Arozarena of the Tampa Rays from just last year. At age 21, Rodriguez becomes the second youngest rookie ever to put up 20/20 behind only Trout. It’s worth noting that while Trout was still eligible to be considered a rookie had played in 40 games the season before winning ROY.
Maybe not unsurprisingly, none of the previous rookie 20/20 players are in the Hall of Fame. Garciaparra, who was once a member of the great shortstop class of the late 1990s that included Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter, and Miguel Tejada, couldn’t stay on the field. He played over 100 games twice in his final five years in the majors and retired at age 35. Beltran has the resume with 435 HRs and 312 SBs but will likely not gain the favor of future HOF voters due to his link to the Astros sign-stealing scandal. Finally, there is Mike Trout, who already has a HOF resume but will have to wait until he actually stops playing baseball to be inducted.
Remarkably, in Seattle Mariners franchise history, there have only been nine seasons in which a player hit 20 HRs and stole 20 bases. Ken Griffey, Jr. accomplished the feat twice in 1998 and 1999 when he went 50/20 and 48/24, respectively. Alex Rodriguez did it three times in a Mariners uniform, in three straight years – 1997, 1998, and 1999. At Julio’s age of 21, A-Rod hit 23 HRs and stole 29 bases, and then the next two seasons hit 42 HRs each and stole 46 and 21 bases. Mike Cameron went 20/20 twice in a Mariners uniform, then sprinkle in Phil Bradley and Rupert Jones for good measure.
While there was speculation after his barrage at the Home Run Derby that Rodriguez might be able to go 30/30. His pace on the basepaths has slowed a bit, and it seems unlikely he’ll hit ten more home runs, But the fact he gained membership to the 20/20 club is not too shabby for the rookie who’s future looks really bright.