Five Lowest Hit Totals for MLB Franchise Hit Leaders
There are 29 members of the 3,000 hit club. Of those, how many achieved 3,000 with one team? Only 14. Of those 14, three also got hits for other teams, like Pete Rose, who recorded over 3,000 hits with the Reds, but then tacked on another 1000+ with the Expos and Phillies. Only 13 MLB organizations can say that an individual player accumulated 3,000 hits while wearing exclusively their uniform, and only the Detroit Tigers have two such players. That leaves 17 MLB teams with franchise hit leader totals under 3,000. Plenty of teams have guys who tallied their 3,000th wearing their uniform. Wade Boggs for example, a long time Red Sox great, got his 3,000th hit for the Tampa Bay Rays.
Just about every player on this list had, or is having a long career, which makes sense of course. Bert Campaneris and Luis Gonzalez both played for 19 seasons, Tim Wallach manned third for 17, Tony Fernandez's MLB career lasted 17 years too, Luis Castillo hung around for 15, and both David Wright and Carl Crawford should have comparably long careers in the end.
This list celebrates the five franchises with the lowest franchise hit totals, those teams who do not have a Carl Yastrzemski, Cal Ripken, Tony Gwynn, Robin Young, Derek Jeter, or Craig Biggio to call their own.
Miami Marlins, 1993 - present (formerly Florida Marlins)
- Luis Castillo - 1273 hits
Never a power threat, the switch hitting, speedy, second baseman played a decade for the Marlins, making three All-Star teams. Castillo was dependable at second, at one point setting the record for games without an error for a second baseman, and winning three Gold Gloves. He was a member of the team for their World Series wins in both 1997 and 2003, but was only on the postseason roster in 2003. While he managed a career .293 average for the Marlins, his career OPS+ as a Marlin was just 94, six points below the major league average. Even though he has under 700 hits right now, Giancarlo Stanton should take this record from Castillo in the relatively near future, as his 13 year, $325 million dollar contract should keep him in a Miami Marlins uniform long enough to pass 1273 hits.
Arizona Diamondbacks, 1998 - present
- Luis Gonzalez - 1337 hits
Any Diamondbacks fan, or Yankees fan, knows Gonzalez. Easily the franchise's greatest position player so far (Paul Goldschmidt is creeping closer though), "Gonzo" played a key role in bringing the D-Backs their first World Series victory against the Bombers in 2001, which they achieved faster than any organization before or since. An argument could be made that Gonzalez is the best overall hitter on this list. His career OPS was .845, and his career OPS+ is 119. He was even better exclusively as a D-Back, with a career OPS+ of 130. For a two year stretch, from 2000-2001, Gonzalez hit 88 home runs, drove in 256, and had a .653 slugging percentage.Paul Goldschmidt has just under 700 hits already, and is signed as a Diamondack through 2019, so Gonzalez might not be the franchise hit leader for very long.
Tampa Bay Rays, 1998 - present (formerly Tampa Bay Devil Rays)
- Carl Crawford - 1480 hits
Another speedster, Crawford was one of the Tampa's first home grown stars. He won four stolen base titles in Tampa, along with a Silver Slugger and a Gold Glove. He languished on many mediocre Rays' teams before they finally became relevant, reaching the Fall Classic in 2008. He made four All-Star teams while in Tampa. His career has taken a sharp downturn after signing a massive contract with the Red Sox after the 2010 season, but he should stick around in the bigs for at least a few more years. Whether Crawford remains the hit leader for longer than a few years depends on whether or not the Rays can resign Evan Longoria when he becomes a free agent after the 2016 season. Longoria currently has 1100+ hits.
Tony Fernandez: Defensive Connoisseur
Toronto Blue Jays, 1977 - present
- Tony Fernandez - 1583
Fernandez played for the Jays in four separate stints, winning a World Series Championship with Toronto in 1993. He played for seven MLB teams throughout his career. This list is about hitting, but whenever discussing Fernandez, one has to mention his glove. Fernandez was defensively minded first and foremost, bringing home four Gold Gloves at shortstop, and those Gold Gloves were consecutive too, which is no mean feat. As a hitter, his career OPS+ comes out to 101, and his wRC+ to 102, meaning he was an exactly average hitter for his career. His injury while playing for the Yankees in 1995 led to Derek Jeter's major league call-up. Fernandez's record appears safe for the time being: Jose Bautista is likely too old at 34, and with under 1000 hits as a Blue Jay. Vernon Wells probably should be the franchise leader. He had 1529 hits as a Blue Jay, but he was traded to the Angels before he had the chance to pass Fernandez.
Washington Nationals, 1969 - present (formerly Montreal Expos)
- Tim Wallach - 1694 hits
One of the lesser known names on this list, Wallach had an interesting, probably underrated career. Sure, he wasn't a superstar, or a perennial participant in the Mid-Summer Classic, but Wallach still compiled some impressive numbers during his 17 big league seasons. Wallach's career statline looks like he was sort of a David Wright, Evan Longoria hybrid. Logoria and Wright's top seasons have both been better than Wallach's, but they play steady defense, usually put around 20 home runs, and are quality baseball players. A third baseman, Wallach won five Gold Gloves, and also hit for power, eclipsing 20 home runs in a season five times. He took just 13 seasons (only 11 full seasons) to tally 1694 hits for the Expos. Wallach's record is probably in jeopardy, as Ryan Zimmerman trails him by just over 300 hits, is just 30 years old, and is signed through 2020.
New York Mets, 1969 - present
- David Wright - 1737 hits
A consummate professional, Wright will hopefully keep adding to this figure, but injuries have slowed him down. Unlike the other names on this list, Wright has spent his entire career for his team, and he's been the face of the Mets for most of his career. Despite his physical ailments, he is under contract through 2020, so he has a good chance to tack on to that hit total if his spinal injuries allow him to stay on the field. He has two Gold Glove awards, and anyone who's watched him play third base when healthy knows he's an incredible athlete at the hot corner. He has also represented the Metropolitans at seven All-Star games. At the current sample size, Wright has my vote for best player on this list. He's still got a career OPS+ of 133, which means that his average output every season is All-Star caliber, and his career wRC+ of 134 backs it up. A healthy David Wright is good for baseball, so hopefully he can stay on the field and make this franchise record a little more difficult to catch.
Oakland Athletics, 1901 - present (formerly Kansas City Athletics, Philadelphia Athletics)
- Bert Campaneris - 1882 hits
Campaneris has more hits for an individual franchise than any player on this list. He played for the A's before they were even the Oakland A's, debuting in 1964 and playing three seasons with the team back in Kansas City. Looking at Campaneris' statline, the first that thing jumped out to me was an outlier home run season not unlike Wade Boggs' in 1987, or Joe Mauer in 2009. He hit 22 home runs in 1970, despite never reaching double digits before or since. A shortstop, "Campy" was another speed demon, winning the stolen base title six times, including four in a row. His career offensive output is actually measured as below average: His career OPS+ is just 89. Although he never won a Gold Glove, the advanced metrics adore his fielding. He was good for 20 dWAR, which is even more than Tony Fernandez, the most notorious glovesmith on this list. He made six All-Star teams, and won three World Series with the A's. Campaneris' 1882 hits are followed closely by Al Simmons and Rickey Henderson. As long as Billy Beane is in charge of the A's, Campaneris' record is going to be safe. Oakland likely won't have the funds to hang on to a franchise type player for the amount of time needed to pass Campy's record.