Sam Crawford hit the most triples in MLB history, collecting an amazing 309 three-baggers during a 19-year big league career that landed him in the Hall of Fame. Ty Cobb finished a fairly close second, with 295, though it took him 24 seasons to do it.
Both Crawford and Cobb had the one attribute that is absolutely required to rack up lots of triples on a consistent basis: blazing speed.
In addition to all their triples, Crawford stole 367 bases, while Cobb recorded 897 steals.
Take a look at the top 20 leaders in career triples, and you’ll see much of the same:
Other than Waner and Musial, every other player on this list stole at least 200 bases during his career. Musial didn’t even crack 80, but you can’t put Stan the Man in the same sort of boxes reserved for mere mortals.
You might also notice that Musial and Waner share something else in common — they’re the only two on this list to play as late as the 1940s. Heck, some of the others barely made it out of the 19th century as active players!
These guys were the epitome of the Deadball Era, when runs were at a great premium before Babe Ruth revolutionized the power game in the 1920s. Even more so than with the list of career doubles leaders, this rundown of the greatest triples hitters ever gives us a glimpse into a completely different era of the game.
You have to scroll all the way down to number 27, where Roberto Clemente shows up with 166 triples, to find a player who was still on the diamond in the 1970s. Move that bar to the 2000s, and we fall to Steve Finley, tied for 94th with 124 triples.
So, will we ever see another hitter break the top 100 again?
“Ever” is a long time, but as of the end of 2023, the active career leader is Charlie Blackmon, who ended the season at age 37 with 63 triples. Suffice it to say that the next 300-triple man is probably not yet even a twinkle in anyone’s eye.