Adolis Garcia is an RBI machine.
In the past few seasons, he had a knack for hitting a dramatic home run. A game-tying or game-winning blast.
But this year, he has stepped up his game. He is driving in runs at a crazy pace. With his fourth inning two-run homer off the Rockies starter, Garcia now has 48 RBIs. It’s late May. Most guys would be happy with 48 RBIs in late August.
He is on pace to drive in 176 runs. That is Lou Gehrig, Jimmy Foxx, Hank Greenberg territory. Not even Babe Ruth had that many RBIs in one year. The record for RBIs in one season will never be matched. It’s 191, by Hack Wilson in 1930, the most offense-crazy year in major league history. The batting average for the entire major leagues that year was .294. Seventy-eight major leaguers hit .300 or better. The last National League player to bat .400 was in 1930, Lefty O’Doul. It was Rob Manfred’s first attempt at juicing the ball for more offense, and it worked.
Lou Gehrig finished second in RBIs that year with 173. Chuck Klein finished third. He drove in only 170 runs. Three of the top seven all-time single-season RBI totals happened that year. In fact, the top 13 single-season RBI totals happened before 1937.
The modern era leader, someone anyone would be alive to have seen, is Manny Ramirez. He drove in 165 in 1999. Sammy Sosa drove in 160 runs in 2001. And the Rangers Juan Gonzalez racked up 157 RBIs in 1998. That same year, Sosa drove in 158. Manny, Sosa, and Gonzalez were all steroid guys.
So, putting that all into context, what Garcia is doing in 2023, some 90 years after most RBI records were set, and without the “help” his more contemporary players got, is remarkable.
The tricky things with “he’s on pace for…” is that paces slow down. A race horse can’t go full speed forever.
Maybe Garcia doesn’t, in fact, get into the 170 RBI territory. Or even 150. But the fact he has 48 now is equally remarkable. That’s more than one RBI per game. And that is the definition of being an offensive force for his team.
Hey, Aaron Judge broke the home run record last year (the legitimate one, that is). Why can’t Garcia follow that up with a run at RBI immortality?
It’s baseball. Anything can happen. And usually does.