Gleyber Torres is tormenting the Orioles in 2019.
The Yankees infielder blasted three more home runs against Baltimore in Monday’s doubleheader in the Bronx, giving him 13 big flies in his club’s first 17 games against its American League East foe this season.
Torres’ dominance of a single opponent puts him in rare territory historically, but he isn’t the first player to enjoy great success against a certain team. Below is a look at the best single seasons ever produced against one opponent, in several statistical categories.
Note: In each category, the primary ranking is based on the divisional era (since 1969) to allow for a better comparison to today’s game. Prior to that point -- and even with a shorter schedule -- teams often faced each opponent more times than they face even their division rivals today.
For each category, an all-time record holder is also listed. These marks go back to 1908.
1. Pete Rose (1973 Reds), 38 vs. Braves; 2-T. Denard Span (2009 Twins), 36 vs. Tigers; 2-T. George Brett (1975 Royals), 36 vs. Angels; 2-T. Joe Torre (1970 Cardinals), 36 vs. Cubs
Rose is the all-time Major League record holder in hits (4,256), so it makes sense that he shows up here as well. He was right in his prime in 1973, when he led the National League in hits (230) and batting average (.338), and won his lone MVP Award. He batted an absurd .481 (38-for-79) against the Braves, with 11 extra-base hits, nine walks and a 1.218 OPS.
All-time record: Joe DiMaggio (1936 Yankees), 52 vs. Browns
1. Gleyber Torres (2019 Yankees), 13 vs. Orioles; 2. Sammy Sosa (1998 Cubs), 12 vs. Brewers; 10 players tied with 11
When Torres set the record on Monday, exactly half of his 26 home runs on the season had come against Baltimore. The damage has included five multi-homer efforts, the most any player has ever put together against a single opponent in one season. He passed Sosa, who clubbed a dozen dingers against the Brewers as part of a season in which he went deep 66 times total while battling Mark McGwire for the single-season home run record.
All-time record: Lou Gehrig (1936 Yankees), 14 vs. Indians
1. Harmon Killebrew (1969 Twins), 34 vs. A’s; 2. Phil Nevin (2001 Padres), 29 vs. Rockies; 3-T. Rafael Devers (2019 Red Sox), 28 vs. Blue Jays; 3-T. Gary Sheffield (2005 Yankees), 28 vs. Orioles; 3-T. Greg Luzinski (1977 Phillies), 28 vs. Cardinals
Killebrew was the AL MVP in 1969, and the A’s had a big hand in that, as the Twins slugger slashed .435/.541/.942 with 11 home runs in 18 games against them. Ten times that season, Killebrew drove in multiple runs off Oakland pitching, including games of seven and six RBIs. However, it's worth noting that Devers' Red Sox have three games remaining this season against Toronto, giving him an opportunity to catch Killebrew.
All-time record: Hank Greenberg (1937 Tigers), 43 vs. Browns
1-T. Vince Coleman (1987 Cardinals), 20 vs. Phillies; 1-T. Vince Coleman (1986 Cardinals), 20 vs. Phillies; 3-T. Rickey Henderson (1985 Yankees), 17 vs. Orioles; 3-T. Tim Raines (1983 Expos), 17 vs. Mets; 3-T. Rickey Henderson (1980 A’s), 17 vs. Royals; 3-T. Lou Brock (1971 Cardinals), 17 vs. Phillies
There are no big surprises here, as Henderson, Brock, Cobb, Raines and Coleman are the five most prolific base stealers in modern baseball history. Coleman swiped 110, 107 and 109 bags from 1985-87, which are three of the top six single-season totals in modern history. The Phillies, in particular, had no answer for him during that stretch, with Coleman going 53-for-57 in his attempts against them.
All-time record: Clyde Milan (1912 Senators), 27 vs. Indians
1-T. Bartolo Colon (2004 Angels), 6 vs. Rangers; 1-T. Andy Pettitte (2003 Yankees), 6 vs. Orioles; 1-T. Steve Carlton (1980 Phillies), 6 vs. Cardinals; 1-T. Fergie Jenkins (1971 Cubs), 6 vs. Phillies; 1-T. Phil Niekro (1969 Braves), 6 vs. Reds; 1-T. Claude Osteen (1969 Dodgers), 6 vs. Astros
Starting pitchers obviously are limited in how many times they can face a single team in a season (the divisional era record for starts against an opponent is seven). These six hurlers each made the most of their six outings. Colon was the most recent, compiling a 2.14 ERA against Texas in 2004, when he went at least seven innings in five of his six starts, including three with no more than one earned run allowed.
All-time record: Walter Johnson (1908 Senators), 9 vs. White Sox; Ed Walsh (1908 White Sox), 9 vs. Red Sox and Yankees; Ed Reulbach (1908 Cubs), 9 vs. Dodgers
1. Randy Johnson (2001 D-backs), 68 vs. Padres; 2. Chris Sale (2017 Red Sox), 66 vs. Rays; 3. Nolan Ryan (1973 Angels), 65 vs. Twins
Johnson was at peak dominance in 2001, when he won the third of four straight Cy Young Awards with Arizona and piled up a whopping 372 strikeouts -- the third-highest single-season total in modern baseball history. Johnson only started five times and pitched 33 2/3 innings against San Diego in 2001, but these were his strikeout totals: 16, 14, 14, 14 and 10.
All-time record: Walter Johnson (1910 Senators), 73 vs. Browns
1. Armando Benitez (2004 Marlins), 11 vs. Mets; 2-T. Kenley Jansen (2014 Dodgers), 10 vs. D-backs; 2-T. Jose Valverde (2011 Tigers), 10 vs. Royals; 2-T. Neftali Feliz (2010 Rangers), 10 vs. Angels; 2-T. Mariano Rivera (2004 Yankees), 10 vs. Orioles
Saves are of course of a more recent addition to the statistical catalogue, and have become more prevalent in the past 30 years or so. Benitez racked up 47 of them in 2004, when the former Mets closer had the best season of a 15-year career and saved his best for New York. Benitez saved 11 of his 12 appearances against the Mets, while allowing one run in 13 1/3 innings.
All-time record: Benitez
Andrew Simon is a research analyst for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB.