Upton looks to join 100-homer, 200-steal club

Upton looks to join 100-homer, 200-steal club

Upton looks to join 100-homer, 200-steal club
ST. PETERSBURG -- Anytime a player becomes just the eighth player in Major League history to achieve a milestone, it's pretty special.

Rays outfielder B.J. Upton has one month to join a group of seven players with 100 home runs and 200 stolen bases before turning 28. Upton, whose birthday is Aug. 21, is just one homer shy of 100 and has 217 career steals.

The other players in the group are Rickey Henderson, Cesar Cedeno, Barry Bonds, Bobby Bonds, Eric Davis, Lloyd Moseby and Hanley Ramirez. What impresses Rays manager Joe Maddon is what Upton has had to go through since his career began with Tampa Bay.

"His developmental path was so not good, the way he got here, back and forth, and the different positions and the different managers," Maddon said. "All that stuff really would have confused anybody. That part was not optimal but he's fought through that."

The latest home run came Friday against Seattle in the bottom of the sixth inning to tie the game. Upton had struggled up to that point, striking out in his first two at-bats.

"A lot of guys will have those first two punches and they're done for the night," Maddon said. "That doesn't bother him. He keeps pushing and plugging, and he doesn't listen, he's not going to hear somebody scream his name in a negative way."

B.J. wasn't the only Upton to hit a home run last night. His brother Justin, an outfielder with Arizona, also drilled his 99th career homer, leaving the two in a race to reach the 100-homer mark.

The D-backs' Upton, who is 24 years old, has hit homers at a quicker pace but has just 73 stolen bases in his career.