Jackson can join exclusive group of Tiger batters in 2012

With two more triples and about 24 more runs in 2012, Austin Jackson will join a select group of Detroit players.

It’s no secret that with Austin Jackson at the top of their lineup, the Detroit Tigers have an exciting offensive weapon. In 2012, Jackson has bounced back from a disappointing second season in ’11 to put up great numbers and help fuel a Tigers offense that ranks in the top five in most categories.

Jackson missed nearly a month with an injury, but since his return on June 9th he’s kept his on-base percentage near .400 and he continues to drive the ball, already setting a career-high in homers and leading the league in triples. When AJax is going good, as he has for much of the season since his walk-off hit won a thriller on opening day at Comerica Park, he’s one of the best leadoff hitters in baseball.

Jackson is on pace to reach a few milestones in 2012 that would put him on a short list of players. In the history of the Detroit Tigers only seven batters have reached these milestones in the same season:

  • 20 doubles
  • 10 triples
  • 10 homers
  • 10 stolen bases
  • 100 runs scored

AJax has already reached the doubles, homers, and steals, and needs just two more triples to reach 10 for the season. He has 76 runs scored so he needs to cross the plate 24 more times in the Tigers last 38 games to reach the century mark. Since he averages about .76 runs per game, he should reach the 100-mark.

Here’s the list of Tigers to reach this mark which shows versatility at the plate and on the base paths.

Ty Cobb

For much of his career, Ty played when few homers were hit or he would have made this list many, many times. This season, his first as Detroit’s manager, Cobb had 12 homers, 22 steals, 16 triples, 124 runs, 37 doubles, and he hit .389 for good measure.

Bobby Veach

Cobb’s teammate in left field, Veach slugged 43 doubles, 13 triples, 16 homers, scored 110 runs, batted .338 and stole 14 bases.

Harry Heilmann

The first right-handed batter on our list, Heilmann was in one of his “even-numbered slump years” when he didn’t win the batting title. He only hut .346 but still managed 45 doubles, 16 triples, 10 homers, 13 steals, and 107 runs. Like Cobb and Gehringer, he’s in the Hall of Fame.

Roy Johnson

A measure of how great the Detroit lineup was in the 1920s is the fact that Roy Johnson was a rookie in ’29 at the age of 26. He couldn’t break in before that. Johnson led the AL in doubles with 45 and stole 22 bases.

Charlie Gehringer
1929, 1930

The only infielder on our list, Charlie did this twice, both times early in his career. He had 19 triple in 1929, and later in his career many of those triples turned into homers as he developed more power.

Ron LeFlore

Other than Heilmann, the only other RH batter on the list. LeFlore was a speedy leadoff man from the streets of Detroit. In ’77 he had a great season, hitting .325 with 212 hits, 100 runs, 30 doubles, 10 triples, 16 homers, and 39 stolen bases (the highest total of any player on this list during the season in question).

Curtis Granderson
2007, 2008

The player traded in the deal that brought Jackson to Detroit. Grandy had a season for the ages in ’07 when he became the first player to reach 20 doubles, triples, homers, and steals in the same season.