LOS ANGELES — The hit trickled through the infield, and Freddie Freeman found new ground.
The Los Angeles Dodgers first baseman, a paragon for consistency, enjoys hits. A lot.
“Hits mean a lot to me,” Freeman said earlier this summer when he crossed the threshold of 2,000 for his career. A shot at 3,000 is something he’s spent at least some time mapping out.
But despite his steadfast approach, willingness to be in the lineup every day, and desire to hunt hits, he had never collected 200 hits in a season. Until Friday when he stayed on a two-strike slider from Giants left-hander Sean Manaea and dribbled one through in the first inning.
Dodger Stadium gave Freeman an ovation as he doffed his helmet at first base. Home-plate umpire and crew chief Laz Diaz secured the bat and the ball was tossed to the home dugout for safekeeping.
A year ago, his first season in Los Angeles, he’d come up one hit short.
There hadn’t been a 200-hit season since 2019. Now, he’s crossed the mark with nine games to spare, joining former Atlanta Braves teammate Ronald Acuña Jr. and Miami Marlins’ Luis Arraez as the only players with that many this season (and, at this pace, the only ones to reach the mark). It’s the most players to reach 200 hits in a season in the majors since 2017.
The Dodgers hadn’t had a 200-hit season since Adrián Beltré in 2004. Just six other Dodgers have done it since the franchise moved to Los Angeles, with Steve Garvey accomplishing it six different times himself.
It’s yet another milestone in what might be the best offensive season Freeman has produced over a full, 162-game season in his career. His 160 OPS+ entering Friday was the highest he’s had outside of his MVP season in an abridged 2020 campaign. He’s within striking distance of becoming the first player since World War II to log 60 or more doubles in a single season. He’s swiped bases at a career-best rate.
Once again, he’ll find himself near the top of MVP ballots.
That, combined with his position, has put him in unique territory. He’s now one of 31 players (and logged one of 33 seasons) ever for a player with at least 200 hits, 20 home runs, and 20 stolen bases in a single season. None of the other players to previously do it were primarily first basemen.
“If I said anything else, it would be a lie. I do understand that it’s been a pretty, pretty good year from start to finish,” Freeman said after Friday’s 5-1 loss. “I’ve always had my sights set on it.”
“I think the season as a whole is unprecedented,” manager Dave Roberts said. “I think that if you look at the hits, we average the home runs, the doubles, and stolen bases by position. And it was just good that (Freeman) got it here.
“Gosh, I mean, he’s done everything in his career, except that … it certainly meant a lot to him.”
(Photo: Meg Oliphant / Getty Images)
Freddie Freeman’s achievement of reaching 200 hits in a season is a significant milestone for the Los Angeles Dodgers’ first baseman. Despite his consistent performance and desire to collect hits, he had never achieved this feat until recently. The ovation he received from Dodger Stadium and the recognition from his teammates and coaches highlight the significance of this accomplishment.
Freeman’s achievement is even more remarkable considering that there hadn’t been a 200-hit season since 2019. He joins Ronald Acuña Jr. and Luis Arraez as the only players to reach this milestone in the current season. This achievement is a testament to Freeman’s dedication and skill as a player.
The Dodgers hadn’t seen a 200-hit season since Adrián Beltré in 2004. This further emphasizes the rarity of Freeman’s accomplishment. Only six other Dodgers have achieved this milestone since the team moved to Los Angeles.
Freeman’s offensive performance this season has been exceptional. His 160 OPS+ is the highest he has achieved outside of his MVP season in 2020. He is also on track to become the first player since World War II to record 60 or more doubles in a single season. Additionally, he has demonstrated an impressive base-stealing ability.
These achievements place Freeman in a unique position among players. He is now one of only 31 players to have reached 200 hits, 20 home runs, and 20 stolen bases in a single season. This accomplishment is even more remarkable considering that none of the previous players to achieve this feat were primarily first basemen.
Freeman’s success this season has positioned him as a top contender for the MVP award. His consistent performance and offensive contributions have made him a valuable asset to the Dodgers.
Overall, Freeman’s achievement of reaching 200 hits in a season is a significant milestone in his career. It highlights his dedication, skill, and consistency as a player. The rarity of this accomplishment further emphasizes its significance. As the season progresses, Freeman’s performance will continue to be closely watched, and he will likely remain a top contender for the MVP award.