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TBT: Canseco and Bonds become the first two 40/40 club members

Sep 26, 2013, 4:03 PM PST

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The 40/40 club could be the most exclusive group in Major League Baseball. Only four players have managed to hit 40 home runs and steal 40 bases in a single season. Two of those athletes did it while playing in the Bay Area.

On this week in sports history, Jose Canseco and Barry Bonds both entered the 40/40 club.

Canseco became the inaugural member of the club on Sept. 23, 1998, when he stole his 39th and 40th bases of the season. Bonds became the second to join the club when he stole his 40th base on Sept. 27, 1996. He had to steal seven bases in the final week of the season to pull it off.

They each finished their 40/40 year with 42 home runs. Those weren’t the only eye-popping stats from the lumbering sluggers in their 40/40 year. Bonds led all of baseball with 151 walks in 1996. Canseco led baseball with 124 RBI in 1988.

There’s a reason there are so few players that have accomplished the feat. It takes a superhuman blend of power and speed to hit that many home runs and steal that many bases. The first three members of the four-man club have been linked to performance-enhancing drugs.

In 2006, Alfonso Soriano hit 46 home runs and stole 41 bases to join the club and has spoken out against PED use. In 1956, Willie Mays hit 36 home runs and stole 40 bases. Bobby Bonds came even closer. In 1973, he hit 39 home runs and stole 43 bases.

Baseball’s 40/40 Club:

Year   Player                       Team                                  HR/SB

1988   Jose Canseco*        Oakland Athletics            42/40

1996   Barry Bonds*         San Francisco Giants      42/40

1998   Alex Rodriguez*    Seattle Mariners               42/46

2006   Alfonso Soriano   Washington Nationals     46/41

* Linked to PEDs

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