Alfonso Soriano will never win a Gold Glove Award, but no one should assert that the second baseman-turned left fielder cannot hit the baseball with authority. St. Louis Cardinals fans can attest to this after watching the now 37-year-old play for the Chicago Cubs for the last seven seasons.
That changed on July 26th as Soriano was traded by the Cubbies back to his first and now fifth Major League Baseball stop, the New York Yankees. Soriano joined a very select few this week as he became just the fifth player in MLB history to drive in 50 runs for two different teams in the same season.
With all the focus in the Big Apple on the troubles of Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter‘s injuries and the impending retirements of Andy Pettitte and Mariano Rivera, Soriano’s impressive feat of 50 RBI in just 53 games with the Yanks has generally been overlooked. He earlier plated 51 in 93 Chicago contests.
This leads to a trivia question for today, because the Cardinals figure prominently in the prior list of four. In fact, two of those players are Cardinals. Only one of them, however, accomplished (part) of this feat while wearing the Birds on the Bat.
Who are the two St. Louis Cardinals to have driven in 50 runs for two different clubs in the same season?
(Sorry, but there is no prize for the correct answer other than our unlimited praise!)
As noted below by blingboy, current Cardinals teammates Carlos Beltran and Matt Holliday have logged a single season of 50 RBI each with two different clubs.
Beltran accomplished it first. By June 2004, he had 51 RBI with his original team, the Kansas City Royals, and then added 53 more after moving to the Houston Astros in trade. It was Beltran’s only brief time with Houston, as he signed a seven-year contract with the New York Mets as a free agent that winter.
Holliday also did it as an impending free agent in his only partial season with a club, in this case the Oakland A’s. Having been sent west from Colorado in the Carlos Gonzalez deal during the 2008-09 off-season, Holliday plated 54 in the first half of the 2009 campaign with Oakland. Moving to the Cardinals in a July trade, Holliday topped that by driving in 55 with St. Louis. Coming off his 50-50 RBI season, he also signed a seven-year deal – this one to return to the Cardinals – the next January.
Currently with 91 RBI on the season, Holliday will likely fall short of reaching 100 RBI for the sixth time in his 10-year MLB career.
Beltran, now 36 years of age, has 81 RBI in his second season with St. Louis. He drove in 97 in 2012 and previously had eight 100-RBI seasons in his 16-year career. His last such season was in 2008.
The other MLB single-season 50-50 RBI players are David Justice, who did it first in 2000 (Indians-Yankees), followed by Manny Ramirez in 2008 (Red Sox-Dodgers). (Cap tip to SABR member Cyril Morong.)