The best power-speed combo seasons ever

November 17th, 2023

The 40-40 Club is one of baseball's most exclusive memberships. But the 40-70 Club? There's only one player in that group.

, the unanimous winner of the 2023 NL MVP Award after hitting 41 home runs and stealing 73 bases during the regular season, stole his 70th base on Sept. 27 to set up a walk-off win over the Cubs, making him the founder -- and sole member -- of the 40-70 Club. No other player with 70 or more steals has ever topped even 30 homers.

Five days prior, Acuña became the first player in 17 years to join the 40-40 Club when he homered against the Nationals, joining Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez, Jose Canseco and Alfonso Soriano in the exclusive group.

When it comes to iconic power-speed combos, it's tough to beat 40-40. But plenty of other pairings are highly impressive in their own right. A few might even be more difficult to reach. So let’s run down the homer-steal seasons you should know about, from the most- to the least-common historically.

30 HR, 30 SB
Done 69 times by 46 players
Last: Acuña (ATL), Bobby Witt Jr. (KC), Francisco Lindor (NYM) and Julio Rodríguez (SEA), 2023

The 30-30 season is common, relatively speaking, with an average of 1.5 players reaching that mark per season since 1987. But it’s still an impressive feat. Of the 46 players to manage it, only 14 have done so multiple times. The most? It’s a tie between Bonds (Barry) and … Bonds (Bobby), with five each.

40 HR, 20 SB
Done 35 times by 23 players
Last: Acuña (ATL) and Ohtani (LAA), 2023

Up until Canseco’s 40-40 season in 1988, only three players had gone 40-20, and all are legends: Willie Mays (1955), Hank Aaron (1963, 1966) and Carl Yastrzemski (1970). This combo became considerably more common during the homer-happy 1990s but has only happened about once every two years on average since 2000. Eight sluggers have notched multiple 40-20 campaigns, led by Alex Rodriguez’s four. Ohtani, who hit 46 homers and stole 26 bases in his 2021 MVP season, reached the 40-20 milestone again in 2023.

30 HR, 40 SB
Done 21 times by 16 players
Last: Acuña (ATL) and Witt (KC), 2023

Bobby Bonds remains the king of the 30-40 season, doing it four times from 1969-78. To this day, only two others have even reached 30-40 twice: Bobby’s son Barry and Soriano. There were five 30-40 campaigns from 2002-07 but only four since: Matt Kemp (2011), Mike Trout (2012), and Acuña and Witt this year.

20 HR, 50 SB
Done 21 times by 13 players
Last: Acuña (ATL) and Corbin Carroll (AZ), 2023

Acuña became the first player with a 20-50 season in 16 years -- the last were Hanley Ramirez for the Marlins and Eric Byrnes for the D-backs in 2007. About two months after Acuña reached this plateau, Carroll became the first rookie in MLB history to post 20 homers and 50 steals. All-time stolen base king Rickey Henderson was Mr. 20-50, doing it four times between 1985-93, when he averaged 19 homers and 67 steals.

40 HR, 30 SB
Done 14 times by 12 players
Last: Acuña (ATL), 2023

Until 1988, only Aaron (1963) had ever pulled this one off. Canseco joined him then, and it happened seven more times between 1996-99, with Barry Bonds and Jeff Bagwell both doing it twice during that span. Acuña added himself to the list four years ago (41-37), along with Yelich, who was riding a power surge that he has not rediscovered since.

20 HR, 60 SB
Done seven times by four players
Last: Acuña (ATL), 2023

While this one isn’t quite as rare as 40-40, it’s also true that there had been three 40-40 seasons since the last 20-60 campaign before Acuña accomplished the feat this year. And fewer players have achieved the 20-60 combo, with Henderson doing it three times and fellow Hall of Famer Joe Morgan twice. Each of those took place between 1973-90.

50 HR, 20 SB
Done four times by four players
Last: Rodriguez (NYY), 2007

Fifty-homer seasons don't usually come with high stolen base totals. MLB sluggers have knocked 50-plus home runs in a season 47 times, and more of those came with two or fewer steals (15) than with 10 or more (14). That really makes you appreciate how special 50-20 is. Three of those 50-20 seasons belong to all-time greats (A-Rod, Mays and Griffey). The fourth? That came in 1996, when the Orioles’ Anderson more than doubled his next-biggest home run total to go 50-21. (Anderson is also in the exclusive 20-50 Club, having gone 21-52 just four years earlier.)

40 HR, 40 SB
Done five times by five players
Last: Acuña (ATL), 2023

The most famous power-speed club. Canseco and Bonds both did it with exactly 40 steals, and Alfonso Soriano with 41. A-Rod put up the biggest 40-40 campaign, going 42-46 for the 1998 Mariners. Prior to Acuña, only two players had even reached the 35-35 threshold since Soriano in 2006: Kemp, who was one homer from 40-40 in 2011, and Acuña, who was three steals off in 2019.

20 HR, 70 SB
Done four times by three players
Last: Acuña (ATL), 2023

The first three 20-70 seasons happened in 1985 or 1986, and all three also cracked the 80-steal barrier. Henderson accomplished the feat in back-to-back seasons with the Yankees, and in fact came pretty close to an absurd 30-90 effort in 1986 (28 HR, 87 SB). But don’t overlook Davis, who went 27-80 -- while not even getting enough plate appearances (487) to qualify for the batting title. Acuña posted MLB's first 70-steal season since Jacoby Ellsbury in 2009 -- while already having hit 41 home runs.

30 HR, 50 SB
Done three times by three players
Last: Acuña (ATL), 2023

Like Barry Bonds in 1990, perhaps Acuña will win his first MVP Award after surpassing the 30-50 mark. Davis also managed this incredible feat while not even playing a full season, with 37 homers and 50 steals in only 129 games played in 1987. And while we’re only looking at single seasons here, it is worth noting that Davis actually went 46-99 over one 162-game stretch between 1986-87. In some alternate universe out there, a healthy Davis might have gone 50-100.

30 HR, 60 SB
Done once, by Acuña (2023)

Prior to Acuña's inauguration of this club in 2023, Henderson came the closest to reaching the 30-60 milestone, getting to within two homers in both 1986 and 1990. But nobody besides Acuña has ever had 30 big flies and more than 52 stolen bases in the same season.

40 HR, 60 SB
Done once, by Acuña (2023)

A-Rod was four steals short of the 40-50 mark in 1998, while Davis was three homers away in 1987 -- and likely would have done it had he played a full season. Acuña crushed his 40th HR on Sept. 22 to become the first player to the 40-60 milestone.

40 HR, 70 SB
Done once, by Acuña (2023)

After a tying single, Acuña stole second base in the 10th inning against the Cubs on Sept. 27 to create the 40-70 Club. Henderson (28 homers and 87 steals) and Davis (27 homers and 80 steals) came the closest to 30-70, each coming up just short in the home run department in 1986, but neither is anywhere near 40-70.

Never happened

50 HR, 30 SB

This one nearly happened in 1997, when the Rockies’ Larry Walker bashed 49 homers and swiped 33 bases during his NL MVP-winning campaign. Before you ask, he actually went deep more times on the road that year (29) than at Coors Field (20).

60 HR, 20 SB

The high-flying 1998 season produced both the most homers to go with 20-plus steals (56 by Griffey) and the most steals to go with 60-plus homers (18 by Sammy Sosa), but both players came up a little short. The same goes for Aaron Judge during his 2022 campaign, when he stole a career-high 16 bases along with his AL-record 62 long balls.

Anthony Castrovince contributed reporting to this story.