Any day a Seattle Mariners surpasses the early days of Ken Griffey Jr. and Alex Rodriguez is pretty big moment.
Julio Rodríguez continued a historic start to his career with his 50th homer as a Major Leaguer on Saturday, taking Jackson Kowar of the Kansas City Royals deep in the fifth inning of a 15-2 Mariners win. The homer made Rodríguez the fastest player in Mariners history to reach 50 career long balls, doing it in 256 games.
That’s a meaningful milestone with many teams, but the Mariners in particular are known for having two of the best young power hitters in the game during the 1990s. Rodriguez reached the 50-homer mark in his 269th game, while Griffey needed 377 games to get there.
Of course, while the 22-year-old Rodríguez is the fastest Mariners player to reach 50, he is by no means the youngest. Griffey and Rodriguez were both 21 years old when they reached that mark, and Rodriguez receives some bonus points for doing it while hitting for the cycle.
Rodríguez’s home run Saturday made some additional history too, as he is also the fastest player to 50 homers and 60 stolen bases in MLB history, surpassing former Cincinnati Reds star Eric Davis (258) games, per Sarah Langs of MLB.com.
It’s been that kind of month for Rodríguez, who seemed embroiled in something of a sophomore slump until around mid-July after winning AL Rookie of the Year last season. Through July 21, he was hitting .244/.311/.396 with 13 homers, 22 stolen bases (in 27 attempts) and 110 strikeouts in 427 plate appearances. Since then, he’s hitting .380/.426/.664 with nine homers and 13 stolen bases in 148 plate appearances.
That span of time includes an MLB record 17 hits in four games and a scorching hot run for the Mariners that put them into a tie for first place in the AL West entering Saturday. Just saying, maybe the Home Run Derby helped.