Home > Uncategorized > Inspired By Jose Molina, The Longest Triples Droughts By Position

Inspired By Jose Molina, The Longest Triples Droughts By Position

Jose Molina: speed demon

It’s hard to believe, but yes, a Molina brother has tripled.

Jose Molina tripled during today’s game versus the Rays. Jose may not be as slow as his other brother, Bengie, but he kind of makes Jim Thome look like Vince Coleman.

It was Molina’s third career triple and his first since the 2004 season when he had the other two. But even among other catchers, Molina’s streak of at-bats without a triple — 1,409 entering today — isn’t even that impressive. It’s the 26th-longest such drought for a catcher. So who holds the longest streak at each position without a triple? I’m glad Baseball-Reference is here to answer. (The $36/year you pay for B-R’s Play Index is a hilarious bargain).

Now, a couple disclaimers: This isn’t a list of the last time a certain player tripled. It should be read as the last time a certain player tripled while playing a specific position. For example, Rickey Henderson has the second-longest streak by a left fielder. From a stretch between 1996-2000, he went 1,799 at-bats without a triple. He did triple in 1998, but he played center field in that game. So, yeah, it doesn’t count.

To have a game qualify, the player needed to record at least one at-bat.

OK, on with it. …

Catcher

No surprise that Bengie is No. 1. Between Sept. 8, 2000 through May 22, 2007, he had 2,443 at-bats over 678 games without a triple. The Dodgers’ Rod Barajas has the longest current streak and the longest ever in terms of games at 688. But he is still 40 at-bats shy of reaching Bengie.

First Base

It’s basically Mark McGwire, Paul Konerko, and no one else is close. McGwire went 4,486 at-bats and more than 11 years (1,325 games!) before he hit a triple on Aug. 1, 1999. Konerko went 4,105 at-bats (1,109 games). Eric Karros has the third-longest streak, but he’s a healthy 1,800 at-bats behind.

The longest current streak belongs to the Mariners’ Justin Smoak at 654 at-bats. Mark Teixiera would have had the honor, but he actually hit a triple on Wednesday.

Second Base

Rich Dauer went a simple 1,966 games without a triple in the 1970s and ’80s. After he stopped that streak in 1982, he went another 1,157 at-bats without a triple as a second baseman. And that secondary total is sixth on the list.

The longest current streak belongs to Jose Lopez. He hasn’t played second base since June 15 — his first day as a Florida Marlin. But his streak is at 1,035 at-bats.

Third Base

The record for the longest a 3B has gone without a 3B belongs to Mike Lowell. He was without a triple for 2,020 at-bats until 2003. The Angels’ Alberto Callaspo is the current leader at 713 at bats. Alex Rodriguez would have passed that number if he wasn’t hurt. The last time he played third base was July 7, and he was without a triple for 706 at-bats at that time.

Shortstop

Marco Scutaro is second on the all-time list — which is really just since 1919 because that’s as far back as B-R allows you to go for such a search. Scutaro is the current leader with 1,351 at-bats. But he’ll need to go well into next season to break Miguel Tejada’s record of 1,616 at-bats without a triple. That occurred between 2001-2004.

Left Field

The leader for left field is also the leader for all outfield positions: Carlos Lee. It’s surprising to me because we are not talking about the 2011 Carlos Lee, who is quite doughy. His streak took place from Aug. 11, 2003 through June 16, 2007. That’s when he was consistently tealing 15 bases a year. Yes, he tripled once in 2006, but only as a designated hitter. You would think that with his respectable speed, he would have gotten another triple in his 2,205 at-bats as a left fielder during that time.

Like I said, Rickey is second. Rickey’s streak went from April 8, 1996 through July 13, 2000. Rickey stole 178 bases during that stretch. Rickey thinks that stat makes little sense.

Matt Holliday has the longest streak for a current left fielder at 586 at-bats.

Center Field

More speed here, albeit deteriorating speed. An aging and injured Ken Griffey Jr. is third with 1,333 at-bats. He trails only Aaron Rowand (1,536) and Dave Henderson (1,636).

The longest current streak belongs to Franklin Gutierrez, who has had 537 at-bats without a triple. Torii Hunter hasn’t had a triple as a center fielder in 689 at-bats, but he has played center just once all season and that came on May 19. I’ll let Jose Lopez slide, but I don’t think I can regard that as “current.”

Right Field

Mel Ott and Sammy Sosa ended up neck-and-neck here. Ott: 1,523 at-bats. Sosa: 1,521 at-bats. Nick Swisher is the current leader at 634 at-bats.

Designated Hitter

This is unfair. If designated hitters had enough speed to get three bases at a time, they would probably be playing the outfield or first base instead. Expected names top this list. Frank Thomas leads at 2,276 at-bats. Chili Davis is second with 2,189. Travis Hafner is a current DH, and he ranks eighth with 1,477 consecutive at-bats without a triple. Jason Giambi is fifth with 1,763 at-bats, but he also hasn’t played DH since June 26. Giambi has tripled once since 2002.

Pitcher

And speaking of unfair … . At least I don’t have to worry about somebody messing it up by tripling at another position. Unless Roy Oswalt tripled when he played left field for one inning in Philadelphia earlier this season. I think not.

I’m sure hundreds of pitchers have played through a nice, full career without registering one triple. But for my purpose, Gaylord Perry had the most at-bats by a pitcher who didn’t triple. He went his whole career — 1,076 at-bats — without one. Whitey Ford also didn’t have a triple in his career’s 1,023 at-bats. He ranks second.

White Sox pitcher Billy Pierce had the longest stretch of any pitcher between triples. It lasted 799 at-bats from 1949-1959. In each of those seasons, he tripled twice and finished his career with four triples. Of course.

Among those still active, Randy Wolf has gone 617 at-bats without a triple. Roy Oswalt has gone 628 at-bats, but he hasn’t hit since June 12 because of injury and interleague play. Neither of them have tripled in their career.

*******

Counting today’s miracle, the three Molina brothers have 12 triples between them — six by Bengie, three by Jose and three by Yadier. That’s 12 triples over the course of 9,555 at-bats.

In 5315 career at-bats, Carl Crawford has 109 triples. Just sayin’.

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