Curtis Granderson's statistical line has become so unusual that Eric Karabell and I discussed it briefly on Thursday's Baseball Today show. Granderson is hitting .244 with 30 home runs and slugging .498. He's on pace for 44 home runs, leading Eric to ask: Has any player ever hit 40 home runs while slugging under .500?
To do so, you don't just have hit for a low average, but also register few extra-base hits beyond home runs. Indeed, Granderson has just 12 doubles and three triples.
Anyway, Eric predicted it's been done -- probably several times, citing the fact that Mark Teixeira nearly did it last season when he hit 39 home runs and slugged .494. I predicted it had never been "accomplished."
The answer: It's happened once. Adam Dunn in 2006 hit 40 home runs and slugged .490, thanks to a .234 batting average and just 24 doubles. Should have figured on Dunn.
Besides Teixeira, two others hit 39 home runs while slugging under .500 -- Cecil Fielder in 1996 and Mark McGwire in 1990. Three others hit 38 -- Jeromy Burnitz, Rafael Palmeiro and Gorman Thomas. My favorite high home run/low slugging year, however, belongs to the immortal Dave Kingman, who hit 37 home runs for the Mets in 1982 ... and slugged .432. How is that even possible? He actually led the National League with those 37 home runs but hit just NINE doubles while hitting .204. He ranked 24th in the league in slugging percentage.
Man, and I thought Granderson was an extreme case.