Anthony Volpe’s game-tying home run Thursday in Detroit was much more than a clutch, regular-season blast.
The 22-year-old shortstop made history with his three-run shot in the ninth inning, becoming the first Yankee to hit 20 home runs and steal 20 bases in his rookie season.
Volpe, a former first-round pick out of New Jersey’s Delbarton School, is only the 14th Yankee in the team’s 121-year history to record a 20-20 season, and the 15th rookie in MLB history to do so.
“I never really had goals or anything like that going into the season, numbers-wise, but when you can put yourself in Yankees history, that’s pretty crazy,” Volpe said after the game, which the Yankees lost, 4-3, in extra innings.
The impressive feat puts Volpe, who entered Friday with 21 stolen bases, in rare company filled with Hall of Famers, perennial All-Stars and fan favorites.
Brett Gardner was the last Yankee to join the 20-20 club, having done so in 2017. Alex Rodriguez is the only player in team history to achieve the milestone three times, including during his American League MVP seasons in 2005 and 2007.
Derek Jeter, Alfonso Soriano and Rickey Henderson each put up two 20-20 seasons apiece. Soriano notably hit 18 home runs and stole 43 stolen bases during his rookie campaign in 2001. He and Rodriguez are among the four players in MLB history to post 40-40 seasons.
Mickey Mantle became the first Yankee to enter the 20-20 club in 1959. The other Yankees to do so since include Roy White, Bobby Bonds, Roberto Kelly, Paul O’Neill, Johnny Damon, Bobby Abreu and Curtis Granderson.
Volpe is the second rookie to post a 20-20 campaign this season, joining Arizona’s Corbin Carroll, who entered Friday with 23 home runs and 41 stolen bases.
Kansas City’s Bobby Witt Jr. and Seattle’s Julio Rodríguez joined the 20-20 club as rookies last season, while Tampa Bay’s Randy Arozarena did the same with exactly 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases in 2021.
In 1966, the White Sox’s Tommie Agee became the first rookie to record a 20-20 season. The feat wouldn’t be replicated for more than a decade, with Oakland’s Mitchell Page the next to do so in 1977. Devon White of the Angels and Ellis Burks of the Red Sox both did it in 1987.
The rookie milestone became more frequent during the 1990s, when Minnesota’s Marty Cordova, Boston’s Nomar Garciaparra and Kansas City’s Carlos Beltrán each achieved it. Arizona’s Chris Young, the Angels’ Mike Trout and Boston’s Andrew Benintendi are the others to post 20-20 seasons as rookies in the years since.
Trout remains the only rookie to record a 30-30 season. The three-time AL MVP slugged 30 homers and swiped 49 bases as a 21-year-old in 2012.
Volpe — who entered Friday batting .219 with 57 RBI and 53 runs scored — has another month to add to his rookie stats.
“It’s pretty eye opening for a kid from Jersey that’s 22 years old and wins the job in spring [training] and goes out and does this,” Yankees manager Aaron Boone said.
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