The season is young, but David Ortiz has quite the distinction right now:
No other player in baseball has a longer active streak of seasons with at least one triple.
Since 2000, Ortiz has hit 16 triples in 12 seasons, never legging out more than three (2004) and only three times hitting more than one (2003, 2004, 2006). The chances are, however, that he will be eclipsed.
As it is, Ortiz entered the season tied for 13th on the list. That means several players with longer streaks are simply waiting for the inevitable three-bagger to reclaim their spot.
At the head of the class is Ivan Rodriguez, who has a 19-year streak entering the season. Rodriguez has never hit more than five triples in a season, but only four times has he been limited to just one. One of those times was last year, and I-Rod is now 39. This streak might be snapped.
Ditto Omar Vizquel, who has a 15-year streak entering this season. If not for a triple drought in 1995, Vizquel would have a 22-year streak going. Vizquel only had one triple last season, however, so it's not a sure thing the 44-year-old will keep it alive either.
Johnny Damon is much more likely to eclipse Ortiz's accomplishment. He's had two or more triples every year since 1995, a 16-year streak that he continued with five three-baggers last season.
Scott Rolen, Vlad Guerrero, Bobby Abreu, Edgar Renteria (all 14 years) and Todd Helton (13 years) have all managed to extend their streaks despite advancing age and declining speed. The chances are good one or two of these guys will leg one out in 2011.
And the chances are probably better than 50/50 that J.D. Drew and Carlos Beltran, who both have 13-year streaks going, will continue them this year. Of course, you never know: Mike Cameron, a speedy guy with some pop, had a 13-year streak snapped last year when he was beset by injuries.
It's not unthinkable that by the end of 2011, Ortiz could be joining the much faster Damon, Drew and Beltran as the only players with active triple streaks of 12 years or longer. That's why we love baseball.
(h/t to IH, who heard this nugget on the ESPN telecast last night)