St. Louis Cardinals' second baseman Matt Carpenter ventured into some rare company Tuesday night. Since 1882, only 14 times has a Cardinals' primary second basemen scored 100 runs in a season. Carpenter became just the seventh Cardinal primary second baseman to join that elusive club.
Carpenter's 100th run of the season came Tuesday night in the Cardinals' 6-1 win over the Cincinnati Reds. He scored on an RBI single from Matt Holliday in the bottom of the first inning.
So, when was the last time a Cardinals' primary second baseman scored 100 runs? Well, it was last done by Don Blasingame in 1957. That year, Blasingame crossed home plate 108 times.
Here is a breakdown of the runs Carpenter has scored this season.
He has scored at least one run against every team the Cardinals have played this season. The most runs Carpenter has scored against any one team is a tie between the Cubs and the Reds. He has crossed the plate 11 times so far this season against each National League Central foe. The fewest runs scored have come against the Colorado Rockies with just one run.
With home games at Busch Stadium, it's obvious Carpenter has scored most of his runs (60) at home while the rest (40) have come on the road. Turner Field in Atlanta is the only road venue Carpenter failed to cross home plate at.
Carpenter was not always the leadoff batter this season, so only 84 of his runs have come from that spot in the order. The remaining runs came from the two-hole (15) and the sixth spot (one run).
Carpenter's longest streak of consecutive games with a run scored is six games. From July 21 to July 26, Carpenter scored seven times. He has scored three runs in a game four times this year and the Cardinals won all four games. The Cardinals have won 51 of their 78 games when Carpenter has scored at least one run.
Now, even though Carpenter has scored 100 runs, not all have come while playing second base. Carpenter has scored 19 runs while playing third base and one run while playing the outfield. That leaves his remaining 80 runs scored coming while at second. But, with 104 of his 141 games coming at second, he is primarily a second baseman.
While the feat had been accomplished 14 times before now in St. Louis history, only six players have done it. The first St. Louis second baseman to reach 100 runs scored was Yank Robinson in 1887 while the most runs scored by a second sacker was Rogers Hornsby's 141 runs in 1922. Carpenter marks the seventh player to play primarily second base to reach 100 runs scored.
Hornsby scored 100-plus runs four times in the 1920's. He did it in 1921, 1922, 1924, and 1925. Of the four seasons Hornsby reached the mark, three of them were played solely as a second baseman. His 1921 season, the first time Hornsby crossed the dish safely 100 times, Hornsby played six games in left field, three games at third base, three at shortstop, and one game at first base.
Frankie Frisch reached 100 runs scored three times in his St. Louis career. In 1920 Frisch scored 121 runs playing primarily as a second baseman. However, he did play 10 games at third base where he scored eight runs to drop his total at second to 113. In 1927 Frisch scored 112 runs at second and in 1928 he crossed home plate 107 times.
Miller Huggins twice scored 100-plus runs in a season for the Cardinals. He scored 101 in 1910 and then scored 106 the following season in 1911. Huggins was strictly a second baseman for the Cardinals both of those seasons.
Red Schoendienst also scored 100 or more runs twice while playing primarily second for the Cardinals. In 1953 Schoendienst scored 107 runs while playing strictly second base. But, his 1949 season of 102 runs had to be taken off the list. In '49, Schoendienst scored four runs while playing shortstop. He also scored twice as a third baseman and once as a centerfielder. When those seven runs are removed from his overall total of 102 runs scored, he is left with 95 from the second base position.
Robinson was the first Cardinals' second baseman to score 100-plus times in a season. Robinson reached the mark in 1887 with 102 runs and again in 1888 with 111 runs. However, Robinson played other positions in both years.
In 1887 Robinson played six games at third, two in the outfield, two at shortstop, one at catcher and one as a pitcher. Then in 1888, Robinson played 34 games as a shortstop. Because of the time frame, game logs are not available to break down either of the years to verify how many runs were scored as a second sacker.
That brings us to Blasingame and his 1957 season. During that year, Blasingame played nothing but second base for the Cardinals, so all 108 runs are attributed to him at second base.
As we are near the end of August, the season still has a month to go. Carpenter still has the opportunity to add on to his Major League leading 100 runs. With a strong finish, Carpenter could end up with a top 5 runs scored season for the Cardinals, something that has not happened since 1930.
But, Carpenter is not just a run scoring machine for the Cardinals. He is having an excellent year swinging the bat as well. Carpenter leads the National League in both, doubles (43) and base hits (159). He has also driven in 66 runs, good for fourth most among his Cardinals' teammates.