A baseball milestone was reached on Friday night. The same landmark was hit on Saturday. And it won’t be long before we’re told it was actually brought up a number of years ago. For a sport which is all about its numbers and history, the uncertainty over the exact time to commemorate Major League Baseball’s two-millionth run is something of a comical episode.
When the Cleveland Indians’ Cesar Hernandez crossed home plate on a two-run single by Eddie Rosario against the Toronto Blue Jays on Friday, the highly-respected Baseball Reference carded the two-millionth run on record since the major leagues began back in 1876.
It was an occasion celebrated by a few of baseball’s numbers fanatics, including one Twitter user who had been counting down since the beginning of the season when 6464 runs still needed to be scored to reach the 2,000,000.
However, the MLB’s official statistics providers, Elias Sports Bureau, had the overall tally standing a full 97 runs shy of the unofficial mark due to uncertainty over the validity of some scorelines in the pre-1900 era. That means that the official record books actually show the two-millionth to have been scored almost 24 hours after Hernandez’s run when Josh Donaldson scored on a ground-rule double from Nelson Cruz on Saturday night for the Minnesota Twins against the Kansas City Royals.
The MLB quickly marked the moment, but also acknowledged that while Donaldson theoretically goes down in history, the story might not have ended there.
Why is that? Well, because the record books are due an update which will eventually decide that the two-millionth run was long since scored. In December 2020, the MLB announced that it would give the Negro Leagues, which ran from 1920 to 1948, what it called “long overdue recognition” by including stats from the former leagues in its official records.
The Negro Leagues were a black-only alternative to MLB before the colour barrier was broken by Jackie Robinson when he made his Brooklyn Dodgers debut on 15 April 1947, and until now none of the achievements recorded by black players during the period before then have been included in baseball’s history books.
So when the MLB and Elias Sports Bureau eventually make a determination on exactly how wide-ranging their stats will be in recording the various leagues which were previously ignored, there will be a new two-millionth run to add to the mix.
When the Houston Astros’ Bob Watson scored the one-millionth run on 4 May 1975 there was much pomp and circumstance regarding the feat. But when it comes to number 2,000,000 there are now countless answers to the question of who brought up the tally and when.
The one thing that everyone agrees on is that the landmark has been passed. Just don’t ask for any details!