30 Day Baseball Card Challenge

Monday, September 27, 2021

The 70/70 Club

If you were following baseball or collecting baseball cards back in the late 80's... then you are probably aware of Jose Canseco becoming the first member of the 40/40 Club.

1989 Fleer #628

1989 Score #655

Donruss, Fleer, and Score knew Canseco was one of the hottest players in the hobby and each company capitalized on the historic event by producing tribute cards the following year.

1989 Topps #500
1989 Upper Deck #659

Topps and Upper Deck didn't honor him with tribute cards, but they did mention the accomplishments on card backs in 1989.

Card shops in my area had 50ct. lots of each of these singles sitting on the Jose Canseco shelves in their display cases and even casual fans were looking for something to commemorate the feat.  Since then... only three other MLB players have joined the clubBarry Bonds (1996), Alex Rodriguez (1998), and Alfonso Soriano (2006).  It'll be interesting to see who the next member will be.  Ronald Acuña Jr. came close in 2019 (41HR/37SB) and definitely has the speed and power to make the club.  I also think guys like Fernando Tatis Jr. and Shohei Ohtani are potential candidates as well.

On the other hand, I doubt anyone will be joining the 70/70 Club anytime soon.  What's that you ask?  It's when a player steals 70 bases and drives in 70 runs.  Over the past century, only three guys have accomplished the feat.

1983 Topps #595

Today is the 38th anniversary of Tim Raines becoming a member of this very exclusive club.  On September 27th, 1983... he cranked a three run home run in top of the 1st inning off of John Stuper which drove in his 68th, 69th, and 70th runs of the season.  The home run made him the first MLB player since Ty Cobb to have 70 RBI's and 70 stolen bases in the same season.  He stole his 70th base a few weeks earlier on September 11th against the New York Mets and finished the season with 71 runs batted in and 90 stolen bases.

1985 Topps #115
1986 Topps #500

Two years later, Rickey Henderson joined the club when he drove in 72 runs and stole 80 bases for the New York Yankees.  He repeated the feat again in 1986 with 74 RBI's and 87 stolen bases.

1986 Topps #28

1986 was quite the season for 70/70 Club members, because Eric Davis also became a member when he swiped 80 bases and drove in 71 runs.

In the 90's... Marquis Grissom (66RBI/78SB in 1992) and Kenny Lofton (67RBI/75SB in 1996) came close, but there hasn't really been any serious contenders since then.  In fact there have only been four guys to drive in sixty runs and steal sixty bases in the same season since 2001: Jose Reyes (81RBI/64SB in 2006), Carl Crawford (68RBI/60SB in 2009), Jacoby Ellsbury (60RBI/70SB in 2009), and Jonathan Villar (63RBI/62SB in 2016).

Obviously finding guys who drive in 70+ runs isn't the problem.  It's finding guys who will swipe 70 bases.  There hasn't been anyone with more than 47 stolen bases since 2017Starling Marte has a shot at topping this number with six games remaining on the schedule, but that's still far from 70 (and as of today he only has 54 RBI's).

1984 Fleer #631 & #632

Anyways... getting back to Raines and the anniversary of his accomplishment.  I was happy to discover that Fleer sort of gave him a tribute card.  He was included in their Super Star Special subset... which mentioned the feat on the back.

1984 Donruss #299

Donruss also mentioned his accomplishment on the back of his 1984 base card.

1982 Topps #164

Happy anniversary Mr. Raines!  You, Rickey, and Eric are in a very elite club.  One that hasn't had any new members in thirty-five years and probably won't have any in the very near future.

Happy Monday and sayonara!

17 comments:

  1. Interesting stuff. Rickey batted lead-off of course, but I didn't know Raines batted third.

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  2. Sweet post. I have always loved the speedsters, and those that could also affect the game with their bats like this are extra special.

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  3. Not a fan of these arbitrary "clubs".

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  4. I'm not remotely surprised that these three guys make up that club--that's just the way they played the game! Two speedy and versatile OF and...Jose Canseco.

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  5. First I never heard of a 70/70 club,probably wont happen anytime soon because they don't steal bases the way they used to.

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  6. Man, 70-70! You learn something new every day. Now you got me thinking. Cedric Mullins maybe?

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  7. Your mentioning Ohtani makes me want to add a pitching statistic he could get 40 of to make it a unique 40-40-40, but I can't think of one. I mean, obviously 40 wins would be great, but it's also basically impossible in today's game. 40 strikeouts as a pitcher is nothing. Can't think of anything that works.

    But I guess he could be a 20-20-20 guy with HRs, SBs, and wins. Not likely, but it's certainly within the realm of possibility. How cool would that be?

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  8. That’s really cool! I didn’t know about the 70/70 club.

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  9. The number of SBs that Henderson, Raines, and Vince Coleman put up were staggering.

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  10. I miss the days of big time stolen base threats.

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  11. In 1973 Bobby Bonds finished the year with 39 home runs and 43 stolen bases. He was at 38 home runs with three weeks to go in the season, but only hit one more home run. I' also read once, but can't confirm, a game early in the season was called due to rain before becoming official, eliminating not one but two home runs he had hit that day. He was so close to being the first!

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  12. Interesting stat. I was expecting Lou Brock to be a member, and was instead surprised to find Eric Davis on the list.

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  13. elliptical man - according to baseball reference, raines has led off in over 1400 games... but did bat 3rd in the lineup in over 350 games

    the diamond king - i totally miss the days of guys stealing 80+ bases. that's probably why i loved 80's baseball so much

    anonymous - i hear ya. i think they're interesting... especially when only a handful of people are members

    dennis - lol. yeah, speed isn't the first word that comes to mind when i hear canseco's name

    sg488 - me either. i discovered it over the weekend

    big tone - ooh. cedric mullins could definitely be a 40/40 guy

    brett alan - love adding pitching to the mix. the 20 wins would definitely be the most challenging aspect... especially playing on the angels

    adam - join the club. i only learned about it this weekend

    the lost collector - the 80's were awesome! those three were the cream of the crop... but there were a bunch of guys stealing 40+ bases year in and year out.

    bo - me too.

    matt - great stuff. i feel like i had heard that about bonds too.

    jon - brock came close a few times. he only drove in 70+ rbis once in his career... and that year he didn't crack the 70 steals mark

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  14. Didn't know about the 70/70 club

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    1. matt - welcome to the club. i had no idea about it either before last weekend

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  15. Love the 70/70 club even though I didn't know it was a thing. Card companies and the media should be all over this. I love speedsters so this is pretty cool. Great post.

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  16. A great history lesson! Hard to believe base stealing isn’t as common as it once was.

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