60-double seasons and close calls

Nobody has hit 60 doubles since 1936

October 1st, 2023

In terms of single-season milestones, our focus tends to land primarily on home runs. If we're lucky -- as we have been recently -- we may even have the chance to follow along on a player's pursuit of a 60th home run.

Unlikely as it may seem, however, in AL/NL history, those mythical 60-homer seasons -- of which there have been only nine -- outnumber seasons of 60+ doubles. Just six players in AL/NL history have put up a 60-double season, and, what's more, they all fell within the same 10-year period nearly a century ago.

60-double seasons, AL/NL history
1. Earl Webb, BOS, 1931: 67
2-T. Joe Medwick, STL, 1936: 64
2-T. George Burns, CLE, 1926: 64
4. Hank Greenberg, DET, 1934: 63
5. Paul Waner, PIT, 1932: 62
6. Charlie Gehringer, DET, 1936: 60

Of those six players, four (Gehringer, Greenberg, Medwick, Waner) are in the Hall of Fame. Dodgers superstar Freddie Freeman had a strong opportunity to join that exclusive club in 2023, but after hitting his 59th double in the Dodgers' 160th game, he went 1-for-8 with a single over the last two games of the regular season, landing him on a growing list of near-misses.


The 60-double threshold has, as we've established, proven elusive for quite some time, but that isn't to say no one's come close. Medwick nearly made it back-to-back 60-double seasons in 1937 before ultimately ending the year with 56. George Kell, then with the Tigers, matched that total in 1950. After Kell's attempt, it'd be 49 years before another player hit 55 doubles in a single season, but Craig Biggio, who ended the drought with his 56 doubles in 1999, kicked off a new era of near-misses.

Here are those 11 close calls -- limited to seasons of 55+ doubles -- since 1999.

Freddie Freeman, 2023: 59
Freeman, coming off a 2022 season in which he led all of baseball with 47 doubles, rocketed past that career-high in 2023. Though he ultimately ended the year one short of a rare milestone, his performance left nothing to be desired, as he hit .331/.410/.567 in another MVP-caliber campaign.

Nick Castellanos, 2019: 58
2019 Castellanos, better known for being one of the best Deadline acquisitions in recent memory, is also the most recent player to make a strong push for 60 doubles. Interestingly, Castellanos had never led either league in doubles before 2019 and hasn't topped 40 since.

José Ramírez, 2017: 56
The prospect of a 60-double season probably wasn't top of mind for Ramírez, or most people watching him, while he was putting together a 2017 season that included his first All-Star selection alongside the first of his top-three finishes in AL MVP voting.

Matt Carpenter, 2013: 55
Carpenter had his near-miss in his first full Major League season in which he also led MLB in hits and runs scored and finished 4th in NL MVP voting.

Brian Roberts, 2009: 56
2009 was Roberts' third and final 50-double season, making him one of just five players in the Modern Era with at least three such seasons (Tris Speaker, Albert Pujols, Stan Musial, Waner).

Garret Anderson, 2002: 56
Anderson, though he's one of just 64 players in AL/NL history with 500 career doubles -- and the Angels' franchise leader with 489 -- only led the league in doubles twice, and had to share the honor when he hit 56 in 2002.

Nomar Garciaparra, 2002: 56
Garciaparra, still just 28, had already led the AL in triples in 1997 and won two batting titles (1999-2000) before putting up his 56 doubles in 2002.

Lance Berkman, 2001: 55
Berkman had his 55-double season in his first full Major League season, ending the year with a frantic run of 13 doubles in his last 21 games.

Carlos Delgado, 2000: 57
Delgado's 2000 season is remembered less for his doubles output on account of his body of work -- he hit .344/.470/.664 with 41 home runs, earning his first All-Star selection and finishing 4th in AL MVP voting.

Todd Helton, 2000: 59
Of all the close calls on this list, Helton's 2000 season stands as the best -- or worst, depending on your perspective -- and was the first of two seasons (2001) in which he topped 100 extra-base hits, making him one of just 12 players to record such a season in AL/NL history.

Craig Biggio, 1999: 56
Biggio, who ranks sixth in AL/NL history with 668 career doubles, was the first player to put up a season of 55+ doubles since 1950, had already led baseball in doubles the year before (51).