In Major League Baseball (MLB), the 40–40 club is the group of batters who have collected 40 home runs and 40 stolen bases in a single season. Jose Canseco was the first to achieve this, doing so in 1988 after having predicted the feat in April of that year. The most recent player to reach the milestone is Alfonso Soriano, achieving the feat during the 2006 season.
In total, only four players have reached the 40–40 club in MLB history and none have done so more than once. Of these, three were right-handed batters and one was left-handed. Two players—Barry Bonds and Alex Rodriguez—are also members of the 500 home run club. Jose Canseco is the only player to have won the MVP Award in the same year as his 40–40 season. Alfonso Soriano collected 41 doubles alongside achieving 40–40. Rodriguez is the only non-outfielder to attain 40–40.[a]
Becoming a member of the 40–40 club is an elusive achievement in modern American baseball, as players who possess the power to hit 40 home runs and the speed to steal 40 bases in a season are rare. Generally a player with the strength to hit 40 home runs will not have nearly the speed necessary to steal 40 bases, and vice versa. This remains true even as statistical trends change in baseball — stolen base totals in the 1980s were unusually high, but very few players reached 40 home runs; home run totals were extremely high in the late 1990s, but stolen bases became more rare as the steal was a sparingly used tactic. Bonds achieved the feat when his body was lean and quick, before his body grew thicker.
Due to the relative modernity of the 40–40 club, no eligible club members have been elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Eligibility requires that a player has "been retired five seasons" or deceased for at least six months, disqualifying active players. As of the 2015 season only Rodriguez remains active. Bonds remains on the Hall of Fame Ballot, and Soriano will be eligible for the Hall of Fame in 2020.
Soriano is the only member that has not been linked to the use of performance-enhancing drugs; he joined the club in 2006 after MLB started its drug-test program. Bonds and Canseco were named in the Mitchell Report, while Rodriguez admitted in 2009 to using steroids.
|Year||The year the player's 40–40 season occurred|
|Player||Name of the player|
|Team||The player's team for his 40–40 season|
|HR||Number of home runs in that year|
|SB||Number of stolen bases in that year|
|Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame|
|Player is active|
|1988||Canseco, JoséJosé Canseco||Oakland Athletics||42||40|||
|1996||Bonds, BarryBarry Bonds||San Francisco Giants||42||40|||
|1998||Rodriguez, AlexAlex Rodriguez||Seattle Mariners||42||46|||
|2006||Soriano, AlfonsoAlfonso Soriano||Washington Nationals||46||41|||
The first player to approach the mark was Ken Williams in 1922, with 39 home runs and 37 stolen bases, thus making him the first player to reach the 30–30 club. It would take another 30 years for another player to come close to 40–40, as Willie Mays did in 1956 with 36 home runs and 40 stolen bases. Bobby Bonds hit his 38th home run of the season on September 9, 1973, but came up one home run shy of becoming the founding member of the club after hitting just one home run in the Giants' final 21 games.
When Canseco predicted he would reach 40–40 in 1988, he mistakenly assumed "five or six players must have done it." After Canseco became the first member of the club, Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle was quoted as saying, "Hell, If I'd known 40–40 was going to be a big deal, I'd have done it every year!" Mantle never stole more than 21 bases in a single season and achieved 21 stolen bases only once in his career.
In recent years, the 40–40 club has come close to gaining two new members in the same season. In 2002, both Vladimir Guerrero of the Montreal Expos and Alfonso Soriano of the New York Yankees were only one home run short of reaching 40–40 after achieving 39 and 40 stolen bases, respectively. In 2004, Carlos Beltran was two home runs shy as he hit 38 and collected 43 steals, splitting the season between the Kansas City Royals and Houston Astros. In 2011, Matt Kemp came up one home run shy, as he hit 39 and stole 40 bases. Kemp accomplished this in only 161 games, as the Dodgers had the second game of a doubleheader on September 8 against the Nationals cancelled and not rescheduled.
- 20–20–20 club, similar multiple stat club for doubles, triples and home runs.
- Baseball statistics
- Triple Crown
- Soriano, who played second base exclusively from 2001–2005, moved to left field starting in 2006 (which, coincidentally, was his 40–40 season).
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- Roberts, Russell (1999). Stolen!: A History of Base Stealing. McFarland. p. 175. ISBN 9780786406500. Retrieved August 21, 2012.
- Shaughnessy, Dan (June 16, 2009). "These Lakers fans are living in la-la land". The Boston Globe.
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- Chass, Murray (September 30, 2002). "BASEBALL; Two Star Players Join A Select, if Odd, Group". The New York Times. Archived from the original on August 21, 2012.
- Standig, Ben (September 8, 2011). "Game with Nationals canceled due to rain". MLB.com. Retrieved December 7, 2011.