Earlier this week, Nick Markakis become the third major league player to hit 43 or more doubles in four consecutive seasons. The other two players are Hall of Famers: Joe Medwick and Tris Speaker. There’s another Hall of Famer, an Orioles legend, who made history by doing half as well for five times as long.
Fourteen years ago this week, on Sept. 24, 1996, Eddie Murray doubled in a 13-8 loss to the Boston Red Sox. Murray, who two weeks prior hit his 500th career home run, became only the second player to have 20 or more doubles in 20 consecutive seasons. The other was Speaker. Murray hit 560 doubles overall.
Speaker is Major League Baseball’s career leader for doubles. The lefty outfielder totaled 792 doubles in 22 seasons with Boston, Cleveland, Washington, and Philadelphia. Speaker had 50 or more doubles in a season five times as well as five additional seasons where he hit 40 or more. His single-season best was 59 doubles in 1923.
Cal Ripken Jr. is the Orioles’ career leader in the category with 602 doubles, the 13th most overall. Had it not been for the strike-shortened 1994 season, during which he hit 19 doubles, Ripken would have had 20 or more doubles in 18 consecutive seasons. His single-season best was 47 doubles in 1983.
Ripken is followed on the O’s career doubles list by Brooks Robinson (482) and Murray (363). Brian Roberts currently trails Murray by 32 doubles.
Steady Eddie never had a 40-double season in 21 years in the bigs. His career high for a season was 37, set in 1985 and matched in 1992.
Murray had two RBI in the 1996 Boston game where he stroked his 20th double, and he added another on Sept. 27 to finish the season with 79 RBI. It was his 20th consecutive season with 75 or more RBI, which broke Hank Aaron’s record of 19 straight seasons.
As is the case with doubles, Murray trails only Ripken and Robinson for career RBI in an Orioles uniform. And, as is the case with doubles, Roberts is the current Orioles player closest to Murray for RBI. Roberts trails Murray in career RBI for Baltimore by 766.
[This article also appeared on Camden Chat.]