Derrek Lee grounded into two double-plays in Friday's 10-3 loss to the White Sox, one in the first inning, the other, a real back-breaker, in the third inning with one out and the bases loaded against a struggling Jose Contreras.
Just half-way through the season, Lee has already set a career high in GIDP with 19, which is also good enough (or bad enough) to give him the GIDP lead in the NL.
Lee, as quoted in the Tribune:
"I have double-playitis this year. I don't know what's going on with the double play, but bases loaded, runner on third and [one] out, I tried to get it in the air. I just got over the top of it and rolled over."The National League record for GIDP, which Lee is on pace to break, is 30, a mark co-held by two catchers, Ernie Lombardi of the Reds in 1938 and Brad Ausmus of the Astros in 2002. The MLB record is 36, set by Boston's Jim Rice in 1984.
Even if Lee doesn't shatter any records, but does wind up leading the NL in hitting into double plays, he'll be placing himself in some pretty respectable company, as evidenced by this Arcane Cubs List of the Week:
National League GIDP leaders since 1998:
1998 Jeff Cirillo, MILW 26
1999 Mike Piazza, NYM 27
2000 Moises Alou HOU 21
2001 Vladimir Guerrero MON 24
2002 Brad Ausmus HOU 30
2003 Jay Payton COL 27
2004 A.J. Pierzynski SF 27
2005 Sean Casey CIN 27
2006 Garrett Atkins COL & Adrian Gonzalez SD 24
2007 Albert Pujols STL & Carlos Lee HOU 27
Obviously those Houston boys are fond of hitting into the old twin killing. And a special shout out to Msrs. Pierzynski, Casey, and Gonzalez, who didn't let the fact that they're lefthanded hitters with a supposed advantage in getting down the line stand in the way of their leading the league in rapping into double plays.
Finally, this Cub-related GIDP note: the all-time Cubs team mark is 27, amassed by the great Ron Santo in 1973. In 1961, Santo hit into 25 double plays, which is the second-highest single-season total in Cubs history, an honor he shares with current Cub Aramis Ramirez (2004) and Mark Grace (1993). Santo also shares the 7th, 8th, and 10th highest single-season GIDP numbers in Cubs history.
In other words, if Derrek Lee wants to commiserate with anybody about hitting into double-plays, he would have a hard time finding more well-versed company than Mr. Santo.