By all accounts, and certainly by the statistics, Ted Williams was one of the greatest hitters of all time. Top five for sure, maybe higher.
The accolades roll off your fingertips — last man to hit .400 in a season, two Triple Crowns, 521 home runs, more than 2600 hits in a career missing a three-plus-year chunk due to military duty.
And Williams was one of a couple dozen (plus) guys who played in four decades.
Given all that, it’s probably not too surprising that he became the first player to hit a home run in four decades when he took the Washington Senators Camilo Pascual deep for the only Boston Red Sox run in a 10-1 Opening Day drubbing at Griffith Stadium on April 18, 1960.
Three men have followed Williams into that four-decade homer club, including Willie McCovey, who just so happened to have also smacked 521 dingers in his career.
Stretch and the Splendid Splinter will be forever linked, it seems.
A tad more surprising, perhaps, is the presence of Rickey Henderson, baseball’s all-time leader in stolen bases, runs scored, and Oscar Mayering.
But even though Rickey was known for his speed and his leadoff prowess, he did manage to club 297 home runs during his 25-year(!!) career.
Most fans would be hard-pressed to come up with the fourth man on our list — unless you happen to be an Omar Vizquel super collector, or, like, his brother or something.
Of the 80 homers Vizquel collected in 24 seasons, exactly one came in 1989, and two in 2010 (and zero each in 2011 and 2012).
So Omar squeaks in.
You probably won’t be shocked to learn that Rickey and Omar both belong to another four-decade club — guys with a stolen base across the eons.
They’re joined by Tim Raines, second on the all-time steals list, and …
*wait for it*
Yep, Teddy Ballgame stole two bases in 1939, one in 1960, and 21 more — total — in between.
You can’t make this stuff up!
(You totally can, but someone would call you on it, for sure.)
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