Baseball Digest once called the 20-20-20-20 club the most exclusive in all of baseball. It is actually so rare that only four players have been a part of it in baseball history. Back in 2007, our very own Curtis Granderson became a member of this exclusive club as a member of the Detroit Tigers, and put his rare skill set on full display.
The 20-20-20-20 club is the group of batters who have collected 20 doubles, 20 triples, 20 home runs, and 20 stolen bases in a single season. It is so rare, that only two players, Frank Schulte for the Chicago Cubs in 1911 and Willie Mays for the New York Giants in 1957 had done it prior to 2007, when Curtis Granderson and Jimmy Rollins both joined the group. Our very own Jose Reyes actually came extremely close to breaking into this illustrious club, when he hit 30 doubles and stole 64 bases, but fell just short with 17 triples and 19 home runs in 2006.
Back in 2007, Curtis Granderson was a 26-year-old up-and-coming talent for the Tigers. He was their starting center fielder and leadoff hitter that season and showed off his versatility with a breakout season. He had a slash line that read .302/.361/.552, with 38 doubles, 23 triples, 23 home runs, and 26 stolen bases.
To have the chance to reach a feat such as this, there are many factors that go into play. You have to play in a ballpark that is conducive to extra base hits, which Granderson had in Comerica Park. You also have to have the ability to drive the ball into the gap, and have good enough base running ability and speed to turn doubles into triples. The triple is the hardest stat of the four to reach, as Granderson has eclipsed 20 home runs, 20 steals and 20 doubles many other times, but has never had more than 13 triples in any season since. To date, Jose Reyes who is actually known for his ability to hit triples has still never had 20 in a season.
Over the past few years, Granderson has become a more prodigious home run hitter, eclipsing the 40 homer mark in back to back for the Yankees in 2011 and 2012. However, that was at Yankee stadium which is much friendlier to left–handed hitters with power, resulting in more home runs and less doubles and triples. It is very possible that Granderson regains his old form in a bigger ballpark such as Citi Field, and becomes an extra base hitting machine again, hitting less home runs, but more doubles and triples.
I believe there is a good chance Granderson can go back to being more of a complete hitter as he was in Detroit. Citi Field should offer him the same opportunities that he had in Comerica Park to drive the ball into the gaps and use his speed as a weapon once again. He is a great addition to our team here’s hoping that we get to see similar stats from him this season.