By Rodin Batcheller 09/27/2018
With a leadoff walk to start the second inning of Wednesday’s game against the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox outfielder Mookie Betts trotted his way to first base and waited for his chance to join an exclusive club.
He took that chance on the third pitch of the next at-bat when Orioles pitcher Jimmy Yacabonis delivered a pitch that allowed Betts to beat out the throw to second base for his 30th stolen base of the year. Betts then stood and acknowledged a cheer from the sparse crowd. They knew what he had just accomplished.
The stolen base put Betts in the 30-30 club. The 25-year-old Betts already eclipsed the 30 home run mark and is the second player in the Red Sox history to tally 30 homers and 30 steals in the same season. He is also the 40th player ever to accomplish the milestone, which has been achieved a total of 62 times.
Betts joins Cleveland Indians third baseman Jose Ramirez as the only players in the 30-30 club this season. The last two players to do so were Ryan Braun and Mike Trout in 2012. The only other member of Boston’s 30-30 club is Jacoby Ellsbury, who recorded 32 homers and 39 steals in 2011. When you add in his .346 batting average and stellar play in right field, it’s easy to see why Betts is the leading contender for the American League Most Valuable Player Award.