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Team trends: Multiple players top leaderboards

Orioles' run of home run champs just one example of notable club streaks
January 20, 2017

The Orioles officially re-signed Mark Trumbo on Friday, keeping the reigning MLB home run champ in Baltimore. The move continued the organization's commitment to power -- which has paid off with three postseason appearances since 2012 -- a commitment reflected on baseball's home run leaderboards. The Orioles have had not

The Orioles officially re-signed Mark Trumbo on Friday, keeping the reigning MLB home run champ in Baltimore. The move continued the organization's commitment to power -- which has paid off with three postseason appearances since 2012 -- a commitment reflected on baseball's home run leaderboards. The Orioles have had not only the American League leader in home runs, but the Major League leader, for four consecutive seasons.
It's not a matter of one big bopper commandeering the spot, either. In the last three years, three different Orioles have claimed the home run title: Trumbo in 2016, Chris Davis in '15 and Nelson Cruz in '14. Davis, the lone repeat, started the run in 2013.
Streaks like that aren't very common. takes a look at some similar ones in various statistical categories -- when a team has gotten league-leading or MLB-leading production from multiple players over extended stretches. (All leaders come from Baseball Reference.)
Home runs:
• Aside from the Orioles' current streak, the only other time a team had three different players lead either league in homers three straight seasons was when the Giants' Orlando Cepeda, Willie Mays and Willie McCovey led the National League from 1961-63. Mays then went on to also lead the NL in '64 and '65.
• The Yankees also had three different players -- Babe Ruth, Bob Meusel and Lou Gehrig -- lead the AL in long balls during a nine-year run of Bombers home run titles from 1923-31.
• In 1995, the Rockies broke out with their first playoff appearance, also the first of three straight above-.500 seasons, in which they had three different players lead the NL in home runs: Dante Bichette in '95, Andres Galarraga in '96 and Larry Walker in '97.
• Those same three years, the Rockies also had the league's RBI leader -- Bichette and Galarraga in the years they were home run champs, and Galarraga again in '97.
• The Giants had three different players lead the NL in RBIs three seasons in a row from 1988-90 -- Will Clark in '88, his first All-Star season, Kevin Mitchell in his MVP '89 and Matt Williams in his first All-Star year in '90.
• Meusel, Gehrig and Ruth led the AL in RBIs for four straight years from 1925-28 -- Meusel shared the lead with Tigers Hall of Famer Harry Heilmann, but Ruth and Gehrig took the MLB RBI crown the next three seasons.
• The Tigers' Ty Cobb and Sam Crawford produced a five-year run leading the AL in RBIs from 1907-11, with Cobb leading the league in four of those seasons.
Stolen bases:
• When newly minted Hall of Famer Tim Raines broke into the big leagues, he immediately led the league in steals four straight times. But the player he supplanted was actually his teammate, Ron LeFlore, who gave the Expos five straight stolen base leaders from 1980-84.
• The three years prior to Montreal's run, the Pirates had the top speedster in the NL -- first Frank Taveras in 1977, then Omar Moreno in '78 and '79. That wasn't Pittsburgh's first run atop the stolen-base leaderboard: Hall of Famers Max Carey and Kiki Cuyler took five straight MLB stolen-base crowns from 1922-26 (although Carey shared the lead in '22, as did Cuyler in '26).
• The White Sox led the AL in steals eight straight years from 1955-62, mostly thanks to Luis Aparicio's seven straight titles in Chicago, but the run started off with Jim Rivera in '55, the year before Aparicio entered the league. The White Sox also led the AL four straight times from 1923-26, with Hall of Famer Eddie Collins and Johnny Mostil taking two stolen-base titles apiece.
Batting average:
• The Pirates boasted the Major League batting champion four years running from 1964-67. Roberto Clemente took the honors in 1964, '65 and '67, and Matty Alou in '66. Also in Pittsburgh, Paul Waner and Arky Vaughan combined to lead the NL in batting average three seasons in a row from 1934-36, as did Ginger Beaumont and Honus Wagner from 1902-04.
• The Twins had the AL leader in batting average five seasons in a row from 1971-75. Tony Oliva started things off, and Rod Carew followed with four straight batting titles.
• Hall of Famers Harry Heilmann and Heinie Manush chipped in three straight AL batting titles for the Tigers from 1925-27.
• The Indians' Nap Lajoie and Elmer Flick combined to lead the AL in batting average from 1902-05, with Lajoie taking the first three of those batting titles.
On-base percentage:
Jose Cabrera and Victor Martinez, the potent duo at the heart of the Tigers' lineup, led the AL in on-base percentage from 2013-15, but they weren't the first Tigers to do so. Eddie Yost and Norm Cash did the same from 1959-61.
• Red Sox legends Jimmie Foxx and Ted Williams combined to lead the Major Leagues in on-base percentage five straight years from 1938-42. After Luke Appling of the White Sox ended the run in 1943 -- with Foxx on his way out of baseball and Williams serving in World War II -- the Red Sox started a new, six-year streak. Bob Johnson and Eddie Lake led the AL in on-base percentage in 1944 and '45, respectively, and a returning Williams took the next four titles.
• The same three-year stretch Ruth and Gehrig topped the RBI leaderboard, they also led the league in on-base percentage -- part of a 19-year stretch from 1919-37, just preceding Foxx and Williams, in which either Ruth or Gehrig won 15 of the AL on-base titles (including a three-year streak by Ruth and a four-year streak by Gehrig).
Slugging percentage:
• From 1995-97, as they did with home runs, the Rockies also led the league in slugging. Bichette and Walker's slugging titles corresponded with their home run crowns, but it was Ellis Burks, not Galarraga, who topped the slugging leaderboard in 1996.
• The Red Sox's star duo of Fred Lynn and Jim Rice took home three straight AL slugging titles from 1977-79. Rice led the league the first two years, including in his 1978 MVP year, and Lynn chipped in the third in the best season of his career.
• The Yankees' Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle led the AL in slugging three years in a row from 1960-62. Maris was the leader in '60, the first of his back-to-back MVP seasons. But even though Maris hit his then-record 60 homers in '61, it was Mantle who took the slugging title that year and again in '62, when he won MVP.
• Hall of Famers Joe Medwick and Johnny Mize combined to give the Cardinals the NL leader in slugging four straight times from 1937-40. Medwick led the league in his MVP '37 season -- also taking the NL Triple Crown -- and Mize did so the next three years.
Wins above replacement:
• The Red Sox had Carl Yastrzemski and Rico Petrocelli lead the AL in WAR each season from 1967-70, including Yaz's MVP campaign in '67 and a career year from Petrocelli in '69.
• In the NL, the Cardinals had the WAR leader from 1942-44. The first of those seasons, pitcher Mort Cooper led the way in an MVP season, but a rookie Stan Musial was on the rise -- and he led the league in WAR in '43 and '44 while taking the MVP himself in '43.
• As the dead-ball era drew to a close, a Cubs pitcher topped the NL WAR leaderboard three straight years from 1918-20 -- first Hippo Vaughn with a Triple Crown season in '18, then Pete Alexander twice, including a Triple Crown of his own in '20.
Adjusted OPS+:
• From 1929-31, the Cubs had the NL's OPS+ leader. Rogers Hornsby bookended the stretch after he was traded to Chicago before the '29 season, and fellow Hall of Famer Hack Wilson took the title in between, the same season he set the Major League RBI record with 191.
• Honus Wagner and Fred Clarke, another pair of Hall of Famers, produced a similar stretch for the Pirates from 1902-04. Wagner led the NL in OPS+ in '02 and '04, with Clarke the leader in '03.
• Partially overlapping with Wagner and Clarke in the NL were the Indians' Nap Lajoie and Elmer Flick in the AL, who were the league's OPS+ leaders from 1903-05 -- Lajoie in the first two years, Flick in the third.
• Before baseball's modern era even began, a trio of Hall of Famers from the Phillies topped the National League's OPS+ charts from 1893-96 -- Billy Hamilton in 1893, Sam Thompson in 1894 and Ed Delahanty in 1895 and '96.

David Adler is a reporter for based in New York. Follow him on Twitter at @_dadler.