The Houston Astros have a notable history of some great total base leaders. So which players round out the Top 5 for the franchise? Let’s dig into it.
Houston Astros’ fans, this month represents the 46th anniversary of Henry “Hank” Aaron slugging his then-record-breaking 715th career home run in 1974. Houston’s beloved late broadcaster, Milo Hamilton, called the game while working at the time for the Atlanta Braves.
Due to Milo’s involvement, Aaron’s shot equates to a special feeling of joy for many around Houston. Throughout his career, Hamilton reflected on the event as one of his most memorable and substantial moments as a broadcaster.
The way Hamilton described the experience, the opportunity to call such a rare and unique occasion in major league history arguably appeared to represent something akin to winning a championship for a broadcaster, and many Houston Astros fans feel happy for Hamilton’s good fortune when they rehear the famous replay. Moreover, through fans’ re-exposure to the clip featuring Milo’s voice, many experience a sense of bittersweet nostalgia, and feel like it couldn’t have happened to a more stand-up guy gone too soon.
Since Aaron’s colossal achievement, Barry Bonds overtook the all-time home run lead in 2007. Nevertheless, Bonds has failed thus far in securing enough Hall-of-Fame support for induction amid uncertainty regarding his potential involvement with performance-enhancing substances during his playing career.
You probably already knew that Aaron leapfrogged Babe Ruth in total home runs before Bonds entered the picture. But did you know that “Hammerin’ Hank” finished his career holding major league records for runs batted in, total bases, and extra-base hits that still stand today? Aaron’s beautiful swing was so effective and deadly, no major-leaguer has yet to surpass him in these three telling categories.
Bringing one up to speed
In case you were wondering who the Houston Astros’ all-time leaders in total bases are—an area where Aaron’s career shined the brightest—this article should get you up to speed. For the purposes of the rankings below, only hitters’ regular-season production totals while playing for the Astros—or Colt .45s—are tallied.
The statistical concept of total bases can seem a bit confusing. However, just remember, total bases do not count how many bases a player successfully reaches in his career, only bases directly earned immediately following each type of hit.
So if a player earned three total bases in one at-bat, for example, that means he had to have hit a triple. In effect, total bases do not include base runners successfully advancing on the basepaths through any means, but rather only the number of bases officially awarded to the batter as a result of his successful hit.
You might be thinking—why not just relabel the statistic as total bases earned off of hits. You got me there. Then MLB could create a separate category for total bases earned throughout a player’s career that actually means total bases.
Additionally, you might be asking yourself, if the statistic fails to account for every base reached in a player’s career—why even bother keeping track.
To that end, tracking total bases serves the rather beneficial purpose of identifying the players who achieve the highest ratio of extra-base hits compared to singles. And this matters not because doubles, triples, and home runs come off as more alluring than singles to baseball fans, but because timely extra-base hits increase a team’s win probability.
In other words, if you wanted to have a discussion about which guy holding a piece of wood best helped his team win then career total bases factors in massively. You see, it remains no coincidence that the player with the most total bases all-time, Hank Aaron, also holds the record for the most extra-base hits in major league history as well.
As mentioned previously, Aaron set the all-time total bases mark by accumulating 6,856. For math lovers, considering the 90 feet of distance from one base to the next, that equates to Aaron running over 116 miles just during the course of moving from the batter’s box to the bases following a successful hit over the span of his regular-season career!
Granted, Aaron’s 116-mile ultra-marathon did spread out over a lengthy period of 23 years. Nevertheless, total bases for top Astros leaders appear demonstrably more modest.
Top 5 Houston Astros total base leaders
More from House of Houston
- Are you the 2021 FanSided Sports Fan of the Year?
- Houston Texans: 4 reasons Romeo Crennel is right coach right now
- Astros-Twins Wild Card Series: 5 things to know as MLB postseason begins
- Houston Texans: The Most Underrated Sports Drought Ever
- Houston Texans: J.J. Watt’s early case for NFL Hall of Fame
4,711. Biggio’s mark earns him 38th place in major league history. Coming in second, Jeff Bagwell achieved 4,213 total bases, and remains the only other Astro to eclipse the 4,000-total base threshold. Bagwell also features a Top-100 total bases ranking in the majors, good for 73rd place all-time.
Rounding out the top-five, César Cedeño gained 2,601 total bases as an Astro. Cedeño, a Houston fan favorite in the 70s and early 80s, finished his career with over 2,000 hits, and almost 200 homers. However, did you know that Cedeño stands as the 27th most accomplished base stealer in major league history, having swiped 550 bags?
Coming up soon in a follow-up article, we’ll go in-depth to explore how Houston Astros leaders have fared in three other categories Hank Aaron dominated: runs batted in, extra-base hits and, of course, home run production.