The playoff bound Oklahoma City RedHawks close out the regular season with an eight-game homestand that begins Monday night at Chickasaw Bricktown Ballpark. It's far from your typical play-out-the-string baseball.
Two storylines could be historic.
A 17-game home winning streak normally would be the headline story. But the big story this week at the Brick is star center fielder George Springer's run at history.
No minor league player has compiled a 40 homer, 40-stolen base season in 57 years. Springer has a shot.
Houston's 2011 first-round pick, selected 11th overall, Springer swiped his 42nd base of the season Saturday night in Round Rock. To join the exclusive 40-40 club Springer needs three more home runs.
Four major leaguers have notched 40-40 seasons — Jose Canseco, Barry Bonds, Alex Rodriguez and Alfonso Soriano. But in the minors, where modern day players with gaudy stats often are jettisoned to the majors, Len Tucker was the last player to reach the exclusive 40-40 club.
Tucker, the first black player signed by the Cardinals, hit .404 with 51 homers, 181 RBIs and 47 stolen bases in 1956 with Pampa, Texas. Tucker, though, never reached the majors.
Springer, 23, not only will reach the big leagues — as early as next month — the New Britain, Conn., native could become one of the top players in baseball.
There's a baseball saying: “But he ain't done nothin' yet in the big leagues.” It's a reference can't-miss prospects on occasion fail to meet expectations. But Springer, often compared to Angels star Mike Trout, could be a perennial All-Star at some point in his career.
Astros fans want Springer to be called up. After all, 17 of Houston's current 25 players have played with the RedHawks the past two years.
Why not Springer?
“It's a question I get every day, a couple of times a day,” said Astros general manager Jeff Luhnow. “It's a question a general manager likes to hear. You want your fans clamoring for the next potential superstar.”
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