No matter how anyone adds up the doubles Matt Carpenter has hit in 2013, there’s no doubt he’s entering into an elite class of Cardinals.
(Updated Sept. 29, 2013).
The last Cardinal to play primarily at second base and achieve 40 doubles in a season was Red Schoendienst in 1952. Schoendienst hit 40 doubles that season _ 37 as a second baseman, two as a shortstop and one as a third baseman.
Cardinals manager Eddie Stanky sparked a controversy after the season when he told The Sporting News that Schoendienst, not the Dodgers’ Jackie Robinson, was the best second baseman in the National League in 1952.
“There will be another holler in the East,” Stanky said. “There was earlier when I suggested Red was better than Jackie Robinson. There never has been any question that Schoendienst is the better fielder, able to cover more ground and make some plays that are impossible for Robinson and the others.”
A comparison of the hitting statistics for Schoendienst and Robinson in 1952:
_ Schoendienst: .303 batting average, 91 runs, 188 hits, 40 doubles and a .347 on-base percentage.
_ Robinson: .308 batting average, 104 runs, 157 hits, 17 doubles and a .440 on-base percentage.
Rogers Hornsby holds the Cardinals’ season record for most doubles by a second baseman. Hornsby hit 46 in 1922, all as a second baseman.
Hornsby, playing almost exclusively at second base, hit 40 doubles five times as a Cardinal: 44 in 1920, 44 in 1921, 46 in 1922, 43 in 1924 and 41 in 1925.
Frankie Frisch, playing primarily as a second baseman, hit 40 doubles for the 1929 Cardinals. Like Hornsby in 1922, Frisch had 46 doubles in 1930. Unlike Hornsby, Frisch hit 43 as a second baseman and three as a third baseman.
Hornsby, Frisch and Schoendienst all were elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame.
Carpenter surpassed Stan Musial for third on the Cardinals’ season list for doubles at 55. Joe Medwick hit 64 doubles for the Cardinals in 1936 and 56 in 1937.
Carpenter also became the first Cardinal to lead the National League in doubles since Albert Pujols had 51 in 2003.