Although overshadowed Tuesday night by the two home runs and career-high tying six RBIs by Kendrys Morales, Raul Ibanez belted his 20th long ball in Seattle’s 9-2 romp over the Texas Rangers. Ibanez has homered in six of his past eight games and since May 10 has hit 18 home runs, third-most in the major leagues over that span. This is a remarkable burst of pop made more astonishing by Ibanez’s age: 41.
Ibanez is nine home runs away from tying Ted Williams’ major league record for most by a player 41 years old or older, 29 in 1960. His Tuesday night shot, in the first inning off Justin Grimm, also made him the fifth player 41 or older to reach the 20-homer mark, as the chart shows, and the first to hit 20 prior to the All-Star break:
|2007||Barry Bonds||San Francisco||42||17||28|
|2006||Barry Bonds||San Franicsco||41||12||26|
|1962||Stan Musial||St. Louis||41||12||19|
|1991||Carlton Fisk||Chicago White Sox||43||7||18|
|1990||Carlton Fisk||Chicago White Sox||42||7||18|
|1986||Graig Nettles||San Diego||41||12||16|
Perhaps more impressive is that Ibanez reached the 20-homer mark while playing in 62 of the Mariners’ 83 games. If he maintained his current pace and played in all of Seattle’s remaining games, Ibanez would finish with 45.
That’s a longshot at Ibanez’s age, but he certainly figures to give Williams a run for the record. A few other key points about Ibanez:
- Ibanez has already surpassed the 19 he hit all of last season while playing for the New York Yankees.
- His .554 slugging percentage represents a career bigh, exceeding the .552 mark he posted for Philadelphia in 2009, when he made his only All-Star team. His .852 on-base + slugging mark is his best since his .899, also in 2009.
- Ibanez is the first Seattle player to reach 20 home runs before the All-Star break since Russell Branyan hit 22 in 2009.
- The 10 home runs Ibanez had in June were the most by a Mariner in a calendar month since Edgar Martinez also had 10 in May of 2003.
- Ibanez led Seattle in homers (10) and RBIs (22) in June, making him the oldest American League player to lead a team in both categories in any calendar month since Dave Winfield did it for the Twins in July of 1993, also at 41.
- Ibanez has accounted for 20.8 percent of Seattle’s 96 home runs. When Ken Griffey Jr. poked 56 homers for the 1997 Mariners, he accounted for 21.1 percent of the 264 total.
Ibanez and the Mariners continue their three-game series in Texas Friday at 5:05 p.m. Felix Hernandez (8-4, 2.70) is opposite LHP Derek Holland (6-4, 3.14). Hernandez has already lost to Texas twice this year and is 12-18 with a 3.87 ERA in 36 career starts.