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Triple Milestones

Astros fan, team consultant and (gulp) sometime-contributor Bill Gilbert emailed me the other day, having completed his yearly look at the Triple Milestones reached during the 2006 baseball season. "Triple Milestones" is the term that Mr. Gilbert uses for player seasons that include a .300 average, 100 RBI's and 30 home runs. Bill James refers to such campaigns as "Hall of Fame Seasons" in his Abstracts, because all eligible players with five or more such seasons are in the Hall of Fame.

In 2006, five National League players satsified the requirements for the Triple Milestones in all three categories, as follows:

Albert Pujols .331-49-137
Lance Berkman .315-45-136
Matt Holliday .326-34-114
Ryan Howard .313-58-149
Chase Utley .309-32-102

Of the five, Holliday, Howard, and Utley were recording their first seasons having reached the plateaus. Pujols made 2006 his sixth (straight) season with the three magic numbers, and Lance can now say he's done it three times. Might you thus say Lance is 60% of his way to the Hall of Fame?

Lance is one of only four players in team history to have reached these standards in a single season, and he has more seasons than any other player after Bagwell.

Triple Milestones In Team History
Year Player BA RBI HR
2006 Lance Berkman .315 136 45
2004 Lance Berkman .316 106 30
2001 Lance Berkman .331 126 34
2000 Jeff Bagwell .310 132 47
2000 Richard Hidalgo .314 122 44
2000 Moises Alou .355 114 30
1999 Jeff Bagwell .304 126 42
1998 Jeff Bagwell .304 111 34
1998 Moises Alou .312 124 38
1996 Jeff Bagwell .315 120 31
1994 Jeff Bagwell .367 116 39

In case you're wondering, Alou reached the triple milestones only with the Astros, never with any of his other teams, and he missed reaching them in every active year with the team only because he hit 27 rather than 30 home runs in 2001.

Alou clearly reached his apex with the Astros; because he was never as good with anyone else, he is not only arguably the greatest pure hitter in team history, but is also on the outside looking in as far as his Hall chances.

Mr. Gilbert also looks at minor leaguers, and those who split the year between the majors and the minors. Only one such player posted a triple milestone season, and what do you know, us Astro fans have heard of him:

Luke Scott Round Rock (PCL) .299-20-  63
Houston NL   .336-10-  37

For what it's worth, Gilbert notes that Ryan Howard had just such a split Triple Milestone season in 2005; I guess you could say he followed it up with another creditable effort.

Gilbert's entire article, in .doc format, can be found right here.