Team Records In Peril!

Toronto, ON, CANADA; Derek Jeter smacks another of his soon-to-be team-leading doubles. Credit: John E. Sokolowski-US PRESSWIRE

As we speak, team counting-stat records are being threatened by modern players on the make. Watch as these venerable marks crumble before your very eyes.

For a variety of reasons, team counting stat leaders are fairly static, which is why it's pretty gosh darn exciting when one of them undergoes a transition at the top. Today, we're going to look at a sampling of those counting stat leaders who stand to lose their exalted positions in the near or very near future. (All numbers are through Thursday, August 16, 2012.)

New York Mets - Hits
Current leader: Ed Kranepool - 1,418
Pursuer: David Wright - 1,383

When Ed Kranepool stopped playing in 1979, he was the franchise leader in hits, home runs, runs batted in, doubles and total bases -- plus all of the longevity stats such as games, plate appearances and at-bats. He was even third in triples, which is illustrative of a lot of things about the Mets when you also consider that he was 15-for-42 in career stolen-base attempts. Three decades later, Kranepool's longevity-stats leads are still in place, but the only counting stat he still owns is hits. David Wright will put an end to that sometime next month and is in excellent position to eventually grab the leads in every other significant category that he doesn't already own (exception: stolen bases).

The Mets, unlike most teams their age, have never had a long-term position player of sustained talent. Until Wright came along, that is. This chart shows where their hit leader ranks among the other team of their approximate vintage. As you can see, most teams have had at least four players with more hits than Kranepool's 1,418.

1960s Expansion Team

Lead hit count

Players w/1,418+

Royals

3,154

five

Pilots-Brewers

3,142

four

Padres

3,141

two

Colt .45s-Astros

3,060

six

Angels

2,368

four

Senators-Rangers

2,182

four

Expos-Nationals

1,694

four

Mets

1,418

one



Yankees - Doubles and Runs Scored
Current leaders: Lou Gehrig - 534; and Babe Ruth - 1,959
Pursuer: Derek Jeter - 516 and 1,840

Gehrig and Ruth were the long-time holders of every significant Yankee counting stat record save for stolen bases -- that is, until Jeter showed up with his winning combination of talent and longevity. He has long since displaced Gehrig as the team hits leader and Rickey Henderson as the Yankee stolen base champ. As you can see, he can grab the doubles and runs leads in 2013. He even has a shot at becoming the all-time team total base kingpin in 2014. On a club like the Yankees, that's saying something -- number of plate appearances required to do so be damned.

Phillies - Doubles
Current leader: Ed Delahanty - 442
Pursuer: Jimmy Rollins - 413

In his prime, Rollins bettered 35 doubles seven times, but he hasn't done that since 2009. Still, he's now within shouting distance of a very old record. How old? Well, the talented and tragic Mr. Delahanty doubled his last for the Phils 111 years ago, but he was the record holder a few years before that, having moved past Sam Thompson's then-leading 270 count in 1897. So, by the time Rollins takes this one down next year, he'll be undoing a record that has been held for 116 seasons.

Where does this rank among longest-held significant counting-stat team records? Just outside the top ten.

Team

Category

Leader

Lead Taken

Taken From

Cubs

RBI

Cap Anson

1877

any one of 4 players

Cubs

Runs

Cap Anson

1878

Ross Barnes

Cubs

Hits

Cap Anson

1878

Cal McVey

Cubs

Doubles

Cap Anson

1878

Paul Hines

Reds

Stolen bases

Bid McPhee

1892

Hugh Nichol

Phils

Stolen bases

Billy Hamilton

1893

Jim Fogarty

Reds

Triples

Bid McPhee

1893

John Reilly

Giants

Stolen bases

Mike Tiernan

1893 or 4

Monte Ward

Braves

Stolen bases

Herman Long

1894

King Kelly

Giants

Triples

Mike Tiernan

1896

Roger Connor

Phils

Doubles

Ed Delahanty

1897

Sam Thompson

Phils

Triples

Ed Delahanty

1897

Sam Thompson

Cubs

Triples

Jimmy Ryan

1898

Cap Anson

So, it's pretty impressive on Rollins' part to knock down one of the oldest team records on the books.

Mariners - Wins
Current leader: Jamie Moyer - 145
Pursuer: Felix Hernandez - 96

Unlike the many of the other records on this list, this one is not in imminent danger, but it is in clear and present danger. Even with his low-teen yearly win totals achieved through no fault of his own, Hernandez is a lock to go past Randy Johnson at 130 and then Moyer. The Big If in the room (other than the grim specter of injury that haunts all pitchers) is the constant trade talk that surrounds King Felix. With a more potent surrounding cast, he'd have a much better shot at more substantive milestones.

Rays - Doubles
Current leader: Carl Crawford - 215
Pursuer: B.J. Upton - 192

The counting stats of Tampa Bay are dominated by three players: Carl Crawford, B.J. Upton and Carlos Peña. Crawford's departure for Boston after the 2010 season created an opportunity for Upton to reach the top of the two-bagger chart. While Crawford owns the team triples record in a way that few other players own any team record (he leads the next-closest competitor, Randy Winn, 105 to 28) and he's got a 449-to-223 lead over Upton in stolen bases, his doubles margin is looking pretty soft these days.

White Sox - Home Runs
Current leader: Frank Thomas - 448
Pursuer: Paul Konerko - 407

In addition to having this record in his sights, Konerko has given himself a reasonable shot at Thomas's doubles record (447 to 377), his RBI record (1,465 to 1,286) and his total-bases lead (3,949 to 3,709). On the negative side, Konerko has already unseated Thomas for the team lead in strikeouts and double plays grounded into.

Giants - Saves
Current leader: Robb Nen - 215
Pursuer: Brian Wilson - 171

The saves category (no value judgments will be made on the merits of the stat at this juncture) is one with a lot of volatility for a number of teams. Absent a long-time closer of recent vintage, many teams have leaders who can be taken down in about five years ... which is how long it would have taken Wilson if he hadn't gotten injured early this season. He became the team's full-time closer in 2008 and would be nearing Nen right about now, had all gone according to plan. Another example of a soft saves record is Atlanta's, where Craig Kimbrel is already halfway to John Smoltz's team lead of 154 after less than two seasons of closing.

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