Granderson steals way to elite class
Outfielder has at least 20 steals, homers, doubles and triples
DETROIT -- Curtis Granderson made history yet again in the first inning of Sunday's game against the Mariners at Comerica Park.Granderson stole his 20th base of the season and became just the third player in Major League history to record 20 homers, 20 triples, 20 doubles and 20 steals in a single season. Frank "Wildfire" Schulte did it in 1911, as did Willie Mays in 1957. "What he did today is really remarkable when you think about it, with all the years in baseball, and he's the [third] guy that has ever done it," manager Jim Leyland said. "It probably won't get the recognition it deserves. It'll probably make a splash for a day or so and people will forget about it. That's a big splash. I mean, that's big time. I would have never believed that." Granderson led off with the single for the third straight game, but finally stole second base off pitcher Felix Hernandez and catcher Kenji Johjima with Placido Polanco at-bat for the record breaker. The scoreboard in left field acknowledged that Granderson had became just the second player in history to record 30 doubles, 20 triples, 20 homers and 20 steals in a season. Even Mays isn't in that club, as he hit 26 doubles in 1957. Schulte and Granderson stand alone in the 30-20-20-20 club. The mid-mannered Granderson nodded and respectfully waved at his teammates and the 39,990 fans in attendance. "He did it so graciously and was so humble with the fans," Leyland said. "It couldn't happen to a better young man." It was a bit of an anti-climatic celebration for Granderson, though he wasn't expecting anyone to make a big deal about it. "I'm glad it kind of happened that way," Granderson said. "Not scripted at all, not planning what I was going to do, I think that's exactly how I wanted it to happen. I just wanted to go, 'OK, let's go through the moment and see what happens.'" Most milestones come with some sort of tangible memorabilia, in most cases, obviously, a baseball. Because the milestone came on a stolen base, Granderson doesn't really have much to take away from the game. He said he may receive the actual base from the field, although he chose not to partake in any Rickey Henderson-type celebration. Henderson lifted third base out of the ground when he broke the career records for stolen bases in 1991. "We were joking about it saying, 'Should I pick the base up?'" Granderson said. "At the same time, that was just my 20th base I had and he had however many-hundreds of bases. A little different category." Granderson has been caught stealing just once this season and has grounded into just one double play over 553 at-bats. "He's doing a good job in picking his spots," Leyland said. "Some [pitchers] have reputations coming in, and that's what you have advanced reports for." The 26-year-old, in just his second full season, has joined the ranks of elite company, thanks most to his 20-plus triples. Only two players -- Lance Johnson in 1996 and Willie Wilson in 1985 -- have more than 20 triples in the past 50 years. Granderson, who was not even on the All-Star ballot for the Tigers this season, also hit his 21st homer on Sunday and finished the game 4-for-4 to raise his average to .304. "I'm glad it's finally over," Granderson said. "Now we just have to make it to the playoffs." Although just three players in history are now members of the 20-20-20-20 club, Granderson could be joined by one more player this season. The Phillies Jimmy Rollins currently has 35 doubles, 28 steals, 26 homers and 17 triples.
Tim Kirby is an associate producer for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.