Of the seven big-league players who have achieved 300 career home runs and 300 career stolen bases, Reggie Sanders is the only one who has been a Cardinal. Soon, Carlos Beltran should join him in that select group.
Beltran, in his first season as the Cardinals’ right fielder, needs two stolen bases to become the eighth player to reach 300 home runs and 300 steals, according to research by Bruce Fleming of the Society for American Baseball Research.
A big-league player since 1998, Beltran has 307 home runs and 298 stolen bases.
(Updated June 15: Beltran collected his 300th career steal on June 15 against his original team, the Royals.)
In alphabetical order, the other players in the 300/300 club are:
_ Barry Bonds, 22 seasons, 762 home runs, 514 stolen bases.
_ Bobby Bonds, 14 seasons, 332 home runs, 461 stolen bases.
_ Andre Dawson, 21 seasons, 438 home runs, 314 stolen bases.
_ Steve Finley, 19 seasons, 304 home runs, 320 stolen bases.
_ Willie Mays, 22 seasons, 660 home runs, 338 stolen bases.
_ Alex Rodriguez, 19 seasons, 633 home runs, 307 stolen bases.
_ Reggie Sanders, 17 seasons, 305 home runs, 304 stolen bases.
To put into perspective how difficult it is to reach 300 homers and 300 steals, two magnificent players who performed for the Cardinals, Stan Musial and Rogers Hornsby, didn’t come close. Musial had 475 homers and 78 steals in 22 seasons. Hornsby had 301 homers and 135 steals in 23 seasons.
Two former Cardinals who did come close to the achievement were outfielders Vada Pinson and Ray Lankford. Pinson had 256 homers and 305 steals in 18 seasons. Lankford had 238 homers and 258 steals in 14 seasons.
Beltran hit his 300th home run on Sept. 14, 2011, while playing for the Giants against the Padres at San Francisco. After hitting a solo homer off Mat Latos in the first inning for No. 299, Beltran hit another solo shot off Latos into McCovey Cove in the sixth inning, snapping a 1-1 tie and sparking the Giants to a 3-1 victory. Boxscore
“It means a lot for me, actually,” Beltran said to the Associated Press after the game. “Thank God for that, being able to play this game for a long time. Three-hundred, for a guy from Manati, Puerto Rico, a small town, it’s good.”
Sanders signed with the Cardinals as a free-agent replacement for the traded J.D. Drew in December 2003, choosing St. Louis over the Tigers because he wanted to remain in the National League. The outfielder told the Associated Press, “I think it’s going to be an amazing two years.”
Jim Molony, writing for MLB.com about the signing, said of Sanders, “The guy hits, is a winner and has been a good fit in every clubhouse he’s been in.”
In two seasons (2004-2005) with the Cardinals, Sanders had 43 homers and 35 steals and helped St. Louis qualify for the postseason in both years. He hit 22 home runs with 21 stolen bases in 2004, and 21 home runs with 14 stolen bases in 2005.
When he left the Cardinals after the ’05 season to sign with the Royals, Sanders had 292 homers and 297 steals. He reached the 300 mark in each category while with the 2006 Royals.
Sanders’ 300th stolen base occurred on May 1, 2006, at Detroit. In the fourth inning, Sanders swiped second against the battery of pitcher Jeremy Bonderman and catcher Ivan Rodriguez. Boxscore
On June 10, 2006, Sanders hit his 300th home run, a two-run shot in the ninth inning against Tampa Bay reliever Chad Harville at Kansas City. Boxscore
Speaking to the Associated Press after becoming the sixth player to achieve 300/300 (Finley hadn’t done it yet), Sanders said, “I started thinking about where I came from, Florence, South Carolina, and where I am today. It shows the perseverance through the good and the bad. The home runs are tougher than the stolen bases. If you’ve got speed, you’ve got speed. Home runs are mistakes. I’ve been able to hit 300 mistakes.”
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