The most dynamic MLB players seem to always possess the same unique skill set. A rare blend of both power and speed. The combination is celebrated with entry into the games exclusive 30/30 club (30 homers and 30 steals in a single season). The achievement has been accomplished 63 times by 42 different players. Let's take a look at them.
Baseball's first-ever 30/30 man was St. Louis Browns outfielder Ken Williams, who accomplished the feat all the way back in 1922. During that incredible season, Williams crushed 39 homers and swiped 37 bases. Interestingly, 32 of those 39 home runs came at the Browns home stadium of Sportsman's Park.
The Say Hey kid vaulted into the 30/30 club in '56 and then made a repeat visit the following season. While Mays finished with an astonishing 660 big league home runs, outside of an exciting four-year period from '56-'59, base-stealing was not always a huge part of his game. In 1958 Mays finished just a single home run short of going 30/30 three consecutive seasons.
Hank Aaron qualified for an unbelievable 25 all-star teams during his illustrious Hall-of-Fame career, and plenty of baseball fans still consider him the all-time home run king instead of Barry Bonds. Aaron was so much more than just pure power in his prime, though. He also stole 240 bases in the Major Leagues which makes it moderately surprising that 1963 was the only season he swiped over 30.
The fact that his son became such a polarizing figure in the game and accomplished so much more during his career has overshadowed Bobby Bonds' baseball achievements far more than they should. The elder Bonds was himself an elite player in his prime, and he's actually one of only two guys to deliver five 30/30 seasons. The other? You guessed it. His son Barry.
Tommy Hunter enjoyed a serviceable Major League career, but he was simply never better than during his lone all-star season in 1970. He'd just joined the Brewers the prior winter, and promptly rewarded his new team with his best year. Hunter set career highs in every offensive category including homers (31) and steals (38) en route to his only 30/30 season.
Atlanta's Dale Murphy was simply one of the best players in the game for well over a decade, making seven all-star teams, winning two MVPs, taking home five Gold Gloves, and earning four silver sluggers. Power was his most notable skill, Murphy did have a little bit of speed, and swiped exactly 30 bases in 1983 to earn his place on this list. Another thing that stands out about Murphy's resume from that timeframe is the fact that from '82-'85 he played in all 162 of Atlanta's games for four years running.
Joe Carter is obviously, and understandably so, known most for his walk-off World Series-winning home run as a Blue Jay, but before heading north of the border he was an important part of the Indians' offense. In 1986 Carter flirted seriously with joining the 30/30 club when he finished with 29 homers and 29 steals. The following season he wouldn't be denied, crushing 32 homers and swiping a career-high 31 bases.
Outfielder Eric Davis was probably the most prolific base-stealer of his era save for Rickey Henderson. In his first full big-league season in '86, he swiped an eye-opening 80 bags for the Reds, and while he stole 30 fewer the following season, 50 is still a number that jumps off the page. Particularly in a campaign that saw him also crush 37 homers. Looking back it's honestly quite surprising Davis only finished 9th in NL MVP voting that season.
Howard Johnson was a quite underrated member of the mid 80's New York Mets. Overshadowed by big names like Gary Carter, Keith Hernandez, Darryl Strawberry, and Dwight Gooden, the man referred to as HoJo was just as important a piece. Johnson went 30/30 for the Mets three times in five years while making two all-star teams and winning two silver sluggers.
Speaking of the 1980's Mets. Darryl Strawberry made eight straight all-star games beginning in 1984--after earning Rookie of the Year honors in '83. During that dominant stretch, Strawberry flirted with going 30/30 on a number of different occasions, and it's actually a little bit surprising to learn he only accomplished the feat a single time.
Jose Canseco's post-career exploits and drama have soiled his name, but just how good he was on the field in his prime should not be forgotten. Making a name for himself early in his career as one of Oakland's bash brothers along with Mark McGwire, Canseco may have actually been the better player for a short time. In '88 in particular he not only went 30/30 but turned in an ultra-rare 40/40 season.
Barry Bonds' reputation suffered irreparable damage thanks to his involvement with steroids during baseball's ugly steroid era. But the sad part about that is that he simply didn't need them. Even beforehand Bonds was one of the best players in the sport, as evidenced by the incredible five times he went 30/30 and the seven MVP awards he took home. When he retired Bonds owned the MLB all-time records for homers, walks, and intentional walks.
In the early 90's Braves' outfielder, Ron Gant was one of the most exciting players in the sport, using power and speed to deliver a plethora of offense for an Atlanta team that was just beginning to come into its own. In both '90 and '91 Gant crushed 32 long balls for the Braves, while swiping 33 and 34 bases respectively--the two highest totals of his career. He would bounce around to seven more teams after leaving Atlanta, but his best days were certainly in the state of Georgia.
Similar to Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa had had a tremendously impressive career before getting involved with steroids and dramatically damaging his reputation. While later in his career speed and stealing bases were no longer part of his game, early in his Cubs tenure Sosa could simply do it all. In both '93 and '95, he delivered 30/30 seasons, but it wasn't until he started crushing 60+ homers/year that he found himself in MVP discussions.
Dante Bichette had an interesting career, and the best thing that ever happened to him was undoubtedly getting traded to the expansion Colorado Rockies ahead of the 1993 season. Prior to that Bichette had given uneasy results for both the Angels and Brewers, but things really changed for him in the mid '90s. The big right-handed slugger crushed the first homer in Rockies franchise history that April, and he'd go on to play in four all-star games in their uniform. His best overall season was probably 1996, when he homered 31 times, stole 31 bases, and drove in 141 runs. Today his son Bo stars at shortstop for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Not to be overshadowed by the aforementioned Dante Bichette, his Rockies teammate Ellis Burks had quite the 1996 season himself. Appearing in all but six of Colorado's games, the veteran blasted a career-high 40 homers and swiped what was also a career-high 32 base en route to his first all-star appearance in six years.
Shortstop Barry Larkin was literally Mr. Red, staring for Cincinnati for almost two decades. Larkin made 12 all-star teams as a Red, earned nine silver slugger awards, won three Gold Gloves, was named the 1995 NL MVP and played an important role in Cincinnati's 1990 World Series win. While home runs were never really his game, for one season, '96, Larkin all of the sudden launched 33 long balls, allowing him to earn a spot on this 30/30 list.
Longtime Astros' first baseman Jeff Bagwell is much more known for his home run power than his stolen base proficiency, but especially early in his career, he had more speed than people realize. On two occasions in the late '90s, Bagwell swiped over 30 bases, helping him to four all-star game appearances. The right-handed slugger was elected to the Hall-of-Fame in 2017.
Raul Mondesi bounced around to a bunch of different teams later in his career, but when he first came up with the Dodgers he was a dynamic offensive player. Mondesi won Rookie of the Year in '94, and for a half dozen years was an important piece of a very good Los Angeles team. In both '97 and '99, he went 30/30, and he came close to doing so again for the Blue Jays in 2001. Today his son Adalberto plays shortstop for the Royals.
Future Hall-of-Famer Larry Walker was one the most entertaining players of his generation, and his ability to hit for both average and speed played a large part in getting him onto five all-star teams. But Walker could do much more than hit. The longtime Rockie won seven Gold Gloves for his work in right field, and his speed was an underrated part of his game. During his MVP winning 1997 campaign, Walker stole 33 bases. He also happened to crush a league-leading 49 home runs that season, making him a near-unanimous choice for that MVP award.
Left-handed swinging outfielder Shawn Green had a really good and in large part underrated career. Across parts of 15 big league seasons, Green slashed a lifetime .283/.355/.494 with 328 home runs. On four consecutive occasions, he stole 20 or more bases, but in 1998 he swiped a career-high 35--allowing him to deliver his first and only 30/30 campaign.
It may come as a surprise to learn that Alex Rodriguez--who won three MVP awards, made 14 all-star teams, took home a batting title, and earned 10 Silver Sluggers--only went 30/30 one time. But in 1998 A-Rod sure did it in style. As a 23-year-old with the Mariners, he swiped a career-high 46 bases while launching 42 bombs. It's one of only four 40/40 seasons in league history.
The peak of Preston Wilson's career was short-lived, but in his prime, he was one of the best offensive players in the National League. For the Marlins and then the Rockies Wilson was a middle of the line-up force, and as a Rockie in 2003 he actually led the NL with 141 RBI. It was in Miami in 2000 that he delivered his only 30/30 season. That year Wilson played in all but one of the Marlins' games while launching 31 homers and stealing a career-high 36 bases. Today he works as a tv analyst for Houston Astros broadcasts.
Longtime outfielder Bobby Abreu was a much better big leaguer than you'd think for someone who qualified for only two all-star teams. Abreu drove in over 100 runs eight different times during his career, and he retired with a lifetime OBP of a very strong .395. Speed was also a huge part of the Venezuela native's game, as he stole an even 400 bases. Six different times he swiped more than 30 in his career, but only in 2001 and 2004 was he able to combine the homers and steals to go 30/30.
Jose Cruz was a productive hitter predominantly for the Astros in his day, and his son Jose Cruz Jr. carved out a nice career for himself in the late '90s and early 2000s. In 2001 in particular he was excellent, crushing 34 homers and stealing 32 bases for Toronto. Cruz Jr. did not qualify for a single all-star game during his career but take a look at his page on baseball-reference and you'll agree that he should have.
When Vladimir Guerrero debuted with the Expos back in '96, it became evident very quickly that the right-handed slugger from the Dominican Republic could do things on a baseball field very few others could. In his first full big-league season in 1998, Guerrero hit .324 with 38 homers and 109 RBI, and his career was off and running. In both 2001 and 2002, he went 30/30, and in fact, in '02 he was just a single homer short of joining the very exclusive 40/40 club. Today his son and namesake stars for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Alfonso Soriano starred for four different clubs during his big league career, and at his peak, very few of his peers were on his level. Soriano made seven all-star teams in his career and earned four silver sluggers while finishing top 10 in MVP voting twice. The right-handed hitter burst into the 30/30 club first in '02 but quickly made himself a repeat visitor. As a National in 2006, he homered 46 times and stole 41 bases, making him one of only four players to ever go 40/40.
Very few players in the middle of a 30/30 season change teams, but that is exactly what Carlos Beltran did in 2004. The switch-hitter was in the midst of a phenomenal season in Kansas City but was set to be a free agent at years' end. The Royals felt they had to capitalize on his value, and swung a deal with the Astros to send him to Houston for the stretch run. Beltran would go on a run for the ages for his new team during the playoffs that would help him land a lucrative long-term deal with the Mets the following winter.
Shortstop Jimmy Rollins was the spark plug behind the Philadelphia Phillies' dominance over the rest of the NL East a little over a decade ago. The switch-hitter hit leadoff for Philly and played a starring role in Philadelphia's 2008 World Series championship. But the prior season was by far his best. In '07 Rollins joined the 30/30 club by reaching a career-high 30 homers and swiping 41 bases. That season he added 38 doubles and an incredible 20 triples, to go along with a .296/.344/.531 slash line. He was deservedly named NL MVP.
While Rollins was setting the world on fire in Philadelphia in '07, his counterpart on the division-rival Mets was having quite a season himself. That season third baseman David Wright blasted 30 homers and stole a career-high 34 bases while doubling 42 times and hitting .325. Wright undoubtedly will have his number retired by New York and is the franchise leader in almost every offensive category, and it's hard not to wonder just what else he could have accomplished had spinal stenosis not cut his career short.
Brandon Phillips is probably best known for being a defensive wizard at second base, but the four-time Gold Glover could more than handle his own at the plate as well. Phillips made three all-star teams for the Reds in the early 2010's but somehow failed to qualify for the midsummer classic during his lone 30/30 season in '07.
Grady Sizemore had a three-year run from '06-'08 where he was arguably the best outfielder in the American League. With the Indians, Sizemore homered 85 times and stole 93 bases in that timeframe, while making three straight all-star teams and garnering MVP consideration each year. It was in 2008 when he went 30/30 for the first time, but unfortunately, it was all downhill from there as injuries began to sap him of the talent he once showcased.
Hanley Ramirez was good for the Dodgers and Red Sox later in his career, but it was with the Marlins where he first made a name for himself at this level. Ramirez burst onto the scene in '06 and won NL Rookie of the Year, and he only went up from there. In 2008 Ramirez hit 33 homers and stole 35 bases to gain entry into the 30/30 club, and the following season he won the NL batting title by hitting .342.
Speaking of Rookie of the Year winners. Second baseman Ian Kinsler was the AL Rookie of the Year as a Ranger in 2006, and he'd go on to have a pretty strong career in both Texas and later Detroit. Kinsler made four all-star teams, won two Gold Gloves, and even earned a World Series ring as a Red Sox reserve in 2018. His best year was probably his 2011 campaign when he homered 32 times and swiped 30 bags to earn his second spot on this list.
While injuries slowed him far more than he would have liked when healthy Matt Kemp was as good as any player in baseball during his prime with the Dodgers. In 2011 Kemp was simply a dominant offensive player, slashing .324/.399/.586 while homering 39 times and stealing 40 bases. He added 33 doubles and scored a league-high 115 runs, and finished 2nd in NL MVP voting. Quite honestly he was robbed of the award, particularly when it came out Ryan Braun had tested positive for performance-enhancing drugs.
What a convenient segue. Milwaukee's Ryan Braun looked like a future star from the moment he debuted in '07, and over the next several years he would make good on that promise. Braun won NL Rookie of the Year in his debut season, went to six all-star games, won five Silver Sluggers, and was named the 2011 NL MVP over Matt Kemp. Unfortunately, a positive performance-enhancing drug test taints that award, and perhaps always puts an asterisk next to his 30/30 seasons in '11 and '12.
Jacoby Ellsbury was always an important piece of Boston's everyday lineup and had seasons of both 50 and 70 stolen bases early in his career. But nobody could have seen his 2011 campaign coming. The left-handed swinger had never homered more than nine times in the big leagues prior to '11 when he all of the sudden blasted 32 bombs and drove in 105 runs. He stole 39 bases en route to a 2nd place finish in the AL MVP voting, but unfortunately for both he, the Red Sox, and later the Yankees, he was unable to ever come close to duplicating that success.
Mike Trout has been the best player on the planet seemingly since the moment he debuted in 2011, and for all of his achievements to date, it's honestly incredibly surprising to learn he's only gone 30/30 once. That came in 2012 when 30 times and stole a league-leading 49 bases. In '13 he came three homers short of going 30/30 back to back, and in '16 he came a single homer short. But don't feel too bad for him. Trout has already won three MVP awards and been in eight all-star games. He's doing just fine.
Cleveland third baseman Jose Ramirez was often overshadowed on his own team by his left side of the infield partner Francisco Lindor, but he is quite the player in his own right. The switch-hitter made the American League all-star team in both '17 and '18 and actually came in third in MVP voting in each season. His 2018 campaign was his best in the big leagues, as he slashed .270/.387/.552 with 39 homers, 105 RBI, 38 doubles, and 34 steals.
How often does a team trade their best player in the prime of his career? Never? I thought so. Or at least I did prior to Boston shipping Mookie Betts to the Dodgers ahead of the 2020 campaign. Betts had just made four straight all-star game appearances, won four Gold Gloves in a row, and been named the AL MVP in 2018. But Boston had grown concerned over the ability to sign him long term and instead shipped him to the west coast, where he will almost assuredly reward the Dodgers with another 30/30 season before too long.
Atlanta's Ronald Acuna Jr. has already begun to be referred to as the National League's version of Mike Trout, and while that is quite a statement it is actually looking pretty accurate. In the last full season before the pandemic, Acuna slashed .280/.365/.518 with 41 homers and 37 steals. Afterward, he expressed a strong desire to become the fifth player to gain access into the exclusive 40/40 club, and I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if that eventually came to fruition.
Christian Yelich was already a good player in Miami, but when he got to Milwaukee ahead of the 2018 campaign his career really began to ascend dramatically. The left-handed swinger won the batting title in both '18 and '19, crushing 80 total home runs over those two years. He was the NL MVP in 2018 and came in second in '19, the season he was able to join the 30/30 club.
Justin Mears is a freelance sports writer from Long Beach Island, NJ. Enjoys being frustrated by the Mets and Cowboys, reading Linwood Barclay novels, and being yelled at by his toddler son. Follow him on twitter @justinwmears.