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David Ortiz (Image via it.wikipedia.org)

What MLB Hitters Had the Highest Rate of Extra Base Hits?

These big boppers were some of the greatest sluggers in baseball history

Andrew Martin
Dec 16, 2020 · 3 min read

A successful baseball lineup usually has at least one imposing hitter who anchors the offense. These sluggers hit home runs and are generally a threat to get a big knock when runs are needed to cross the plate. Many fans know who are the all-time leaders in categories like home runs and doubles, but which players had the highest percentage of their base hits go for extra bases during their career?

5th. Hank Greenberg, 48.0%: The right-handed bopper was an absolute machine. Unfortunately, injuries and military service permitted him to only get in nine full seasons, but he made the most of the time he was on the field, mercilessly punishing opposing pitchers. With a .313 career batting average, he got more than his fair share of hits, with a ridiculous number going for extra bases.

Of his 1,628 base knocks, he collected 331 home runs, 379 doubles and 71 triples. He led the league in doubles twice and home runs on four occasions, including highs of 63 doubles in 1934, 58 home runs in 1938 and 16 triples in 1935.

4th. David Ortiz, 48.2%: Big Papi spent the bulk of his stellar career with the Boston Red Sox, playing half of his games at cozy Fenway Park. The left-handed hitter was adept at utilizing the looming Green Monster in left field and the inviting Pesky foul pole in right, just a few hundred feet from home plate. In a 20-year career, he blasted 541 home runs and 632 doubles. Speed was never a forte, to the point that even his 17 triples are a bit of a surprise.

Although Ortiz slugged .587 in his career at Fenway, he was by no means simply a home hitter. He also slugged .538, which included 300 home runs and 250 doubles, on the road, making him a dangerous weapon no matter where he was playing.

3rd. Barry Bonds, 49.1%: The outfielder walked so much during his career (an all-time record of 2,558) that it impacted the number of hits he collected in 22 years in the big leagues. He still totaled 2,935 hits, which included 762 homers (best all time), 601 doubles (17th) and 77 triples.

In 2001, when he hit a record 73 home runs, nearly 69% of his 156 hits that year were for extra bases. Despite his connection with performance-enhancers, his video game-like numbers are still awe-inspiring.

2nd. Adam Dunn, 49.4%: Built like an imposing bouncer, the left-handed slugger was a very predictable hitter. He was a good bet to walk, strike out or bash an extra base hit. In fact, he achieved one of those three outcomes in over 54% of all his 8,328 career plate appearances during a 14-year career.

In total, Dunn hit 462 home runs (including five straight years of 40 or more) to go along with 334 doubles and 10 triples. He hit just .237 but when his bat made contact with the ball there was a good chance it was going to travel far.

1st. Mark McGwire, 51.7%: A more successful version of Dunn, the right-handed McGwire only had 252 doubles and six triples in 16 big-league seasons but launched 583 home runs, helping account for his place atop this list. He led the league in home runs four times, including 70 in 1998 and 65 in 1999, and if injuries hadn’t forced him to miss significant portions of five seasons, his numbers across the board would be even more impressive.

Like Bonds, McGwire’s legacy has been tarnished because of his association with PEDs. That certainly complicates matters but doesn’t entirely erase his standing as one of the greatest sluggers to ever step on a baseball diamond.

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Andrew Martin

Written by

Dabbler in history & writing. Master’s degree in baseball history. Passionate about diversity, culture, sports and education.

SportsRaid

Original reporting and curated sports data journalism. Actively looking for additional writers.

Andrew Martin

Written by

Dabbler in history & writing. Master’s degree in baseball history. Passionate about diversity, culture, sports and education.

SportsRaid

Original reporting and curated sports data journalism. Actively looking for additional writers.

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