PHILADELPHIA -- First in hits. First in stolen bases. And now finally, first in National League batting average. Dee Gordon completed the trifecta on Sunday, going 3-for-4 in the Marlins' 7-2 loss to the Phillies at Citizens Bank Park.
When the game ended, Gordon was on deck, prepared to keep playing, because under no circumstances was he about to be lifted to preserve his lead. Gordon capped his remarkable season by making history, becoming the first player to pace the NL in batting average (.333) and stolen bases (58) since Jackie Robinson in 1949 (.342/37).
Jose Altuve accomplished the feat in the American League in 2014 when he hit .341 with 225 hits and 56 stolen bases.
"To be put in the same category as Robinson is pretty humbling," Gordon said. "I'm just thankful for the opportunity my teammates gave me and the Marlins gave me."
The distinctions didn't stop there. Gordon overtook Nationals outfielder Bryce Harper (.330) to become the Marlins' second ever batting champ. Hanley Ramirez (.342) was the first in 2009.
Gordon is the first player to post three hits in the final game to come from behind and win a batting title since Tony Gwynn went 3-for-4 in 1989.
Heading into Sunday, Harper was at .3307, to Gordon's .3306. A statement was made early, as he doubled to open the game, homered in the third and singled in the fifth, moving him a triple away from the cycle.
"It feels kind of surreal," Gordon said. "It don't think it's hit me yet. But it was an amazing feeling when I walked up the stairs and my teammates were ready and congratulated me."
Congratulations were pouring in from all over postgame. Third-base coach Lenny Harris passed his cellular phone to Gordon so he could speak with Dodgers legend Maury Wills. The Marlins acquired Gordon from Los Angeles last Winter Meetings.
Gordon finished with 205 hits, most in the Majors, and 58 steals. He becomes the seventh player since 1900, and just second NL player, to lead the league in hits, batting average and stolen bases.
In a season the Marlins didn't have much to cheer about, Gordon was a daily reminder about what competition is all about. He was all-in every day, refusing to come out of the lineup.
Even when he pulled ahead of Harper, who was 1-for-4 on Sunday, Gordon made it clear to manager Dan Jennings he wasn't coming out of the game.
"He's loved by his teammates," Jennings said. "He had told me, 'Skip, I want to play through this. The best man will win. End of story.' I said, 'What about ...' He said, 'Best man will win.' He went out, took matters in his own hands, and handled it right away. I just tip my hat. He's a special, special player. He's a great kid. He's our catalyst. The energy he brings every day. I think he is just scratching the surface as to how good he's truly going to be."