Speed and power typically don’t go hand-in-hand.
A speedster’s stats usually don’t include many homers, and a slugger’s stats often won’t amount to many steals.
Only a select few players have been able to combine both skills and join one of the most elite groups in baseball history – the 40-40 club.
By the MLB All-Star game in 2023, Ronald Acuna Jr. of the Atlanta Braves already reached 40 swipes and just over 20 home runs – leading many to see him as the next threat to the feat. And he nearly already made the cut in ’19 when he went long 41 times and fell just short with his 37 stolen bases.
Acuna, like 64 other players, is part of the 30-30 club. With just four members, Major League Baseball’s 40-40 club is far rarer, with the most recent member joining nearly 20 years ago. And with three out of the four admitting to using PEDs (and not in the Hall of Fame), it’s not too hard to guess who they are.
Baseball’s 40-40 Club
46 HR, 41 SB – Alfonso Soriano, Washington Nationals (2006)
After narrowly missing the cut in 2002 with the New York Yankees (39 knocks and 41 bags), Soriano joined 40-40 club in ’06. Following his trade from the Texas Rangers to the Nationals, he hit a personal best 46 homers and managed to nab his 40th stolen base in mid-September. Soriano tended to swing for the fences, which resulted in a career-high 160 Ks on the season. But at the same time, the power hitter added a category to the club, hitting 40 doubles and becoming the first (and only) player to have a 40-40-40 season. As the saying goes, with high risk comes high reward.
42 HR, 46 SB – Alex Rodriguez, Seattle Mariners (1998)
In just his third full-season in the majors, Rodriguez went on a tear in ’98 with the Mariners – and paired his 42 homers with 46 swipes. Though he is known as a slugger, Rodriguez reached 40 home runs after the 40 steals, which he nabbed in a narrow win over the Baltimore Orioles in early September. And while he wouldn’t go on to exceed more than 30 steals in a season again, A-Rod would hit 40+ homers seven more times during his career. He retired with 696 round-trippers under his belt, ranking fifth on the all-time list.
42 HR, 40 SB – Barry Bonds, San Francisco Giants (1996)
In 1996, Barry Bonds became the second member of the 40-40 club with the Giants. His father, Bobby Bonds, came within a hair’s length of joining in ’73 but finished the season with 39 homers. The younger Bonds had an all-around phenomenal year in ’96, with 42 round-trippers, 129 RBIs and 151 walks. And unlike his dad with a 40th home run, Bonds was able to swipe his 40th bag in the last game of the season against the Colorado Rockies. Over the course of his career, Bonds would slowly lose the speed that had previously defined him and emerge as both the single-season (72) and all-time (762) leader in home runs.
42 HR, 40 SB – Jose Canseco, Oakland Athletics (1988)
Before Canseco became the first player in MLB history to hit the 40-40 mark in ’88, several slugger-burners had come close in the past. Just a year before, Eric Davis of the Cincinnati Reds nearly reached a 40-50 season (37 homers, 50 steals). But with the A’s, Canseco pioneered the 40-40 club, cementing his place in history in a game in which he had two steals and a round-tripper. He ultimately won the American League MVP award and helped lead the A’s to a World Series berth that same year.
40-40 Club Near Misses (Excluding Player Repeats)
- 41 HR, 37 SB – Ronald Acuna Jr., Atlanta Braves (2019)
- 39 HR, 40 SB – Matt Kemp, Los Angeles Dodgers (2011)
- 38 HR, 42 SB – Carlos Beltran, Kansas City Royals/Houston Astros (2004)
- 39 HR, 40 SB – Vladimir Guerrero, Montreal Expos (2002)
- 35 HR, 35 SB – Shawn Green, Toronto Blue Jays (1998)
- 36 HR, 41 SB – Howard Johnson, New York Mets (1989)
- 39 HR, 36 SB – Darryl Strawberry, New York Mets (1987)
- 37 HR, 50 SB – Eric Davis, Cincinnati Reds (1987)
- 39 HR, 43 SB – Bobby Bonds, San Francisco Giants (1973)
- 36 HR, 40 SB – Willie Mays, New York Giants (1956)
- 39 HR, 37 SB – Ken Williams, St. Louis Cardinals (1922)
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