MLB Rumors: Ronald Acuña Jr. equals Ty Cobb in more ways than one
Despite his questionable on-field antics, Ty Cobb was once MLB's all-time hits leader. If it weren't for Pete Rose, he still would be. Cobb played in a different time. Those rules -- and the players who benefitted from them -- are borderline unrecognizable to us now, just as will be the case in another century when writers reflect upon the days of Ronald Acuña Jr.
Acuña Jr. is having a season to remember, nearing a 40-40 campaign of his own. He may also end the year with 70 steals, which is a ridiculous accomplishment in his own right, even though MLB increased the size of the bases this season by an incremental margin. While Cobb played a much different style from Acuña, they remain in the same conversation for two reasons. First, Cobb and Acuña are the only players with 75+ extra-base hits and 60+ stolen bases in the same season. Second, they share the same birthday.
Acuña is the favorite to win NL MVP this season, though he's locked in a tight race with Dodgers outfielder Mookie Betts. Cementing a 40-40 season may be the his last true hurdle to ending that argument for good.
Cobb, much to the chagrin of MLB writers at the time, won an MVP in 1911. Acuña should be on his way to his first NL MVP as well. Times may have changed -- and so have the players -- but even in different eras it's easy to see the impact both legends have had on the game itself.