Freddie Freeman still hits doubles at a time they are dwindling. He's two shy of 500

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Doubles aren’t dingers. They get you only halfway home. So fanfare when approaching a milestone for two-baggers will never match that of swatting home runs.

Still, in this high-velo, staggering spin rate era, doubles — along with most other measures of offense — are dwindling. According to Patrick Reusse on Monday’s “Daily Delivery podcast,” MLB players are on pace to hit fewer doubles per game (currently 1.60) than in any full season in more than three decades.

So when a hitter continues to round first and stop safely at second at prodigious levels, it’s worth noting.

Which brings us to the current MLB doubles king, the Dodgers’ Freddie Freeman. After crushing a game-tying RBI double with two out in the ninth inning Tuesday night in a 6-5 victory over the Arizona Diamondbacks, Freeman is two short of 500. Only 64 other players have reached the doubles milestone.

He has 72 more doubles than the next highest total of an active player, the St. Louis Cardinals’ Paul Goldschmidt.

Doubles have long been a Freeman specialty. Last season he flirted with the all-time single-season record before a late slump left him with 59, tying him with Todd Helton for the record of any player since 1936.

The record of 67 was set in 1931 by an obscure Boston Red Sox outfielder named Earl Webb, whose first major league hit didn’t come until age 29 because he preferred to toil in Tennessee coal mines rather than play baseball.

At 33, Webb inexplicably hit 67 doubles — nearly half his career total of 155 — earning the nickname “the Earl of Doublin’.” A left-handed hitter who, like Freeman, was adept at hitting to the opposite field, Webb played carom with the Green Monster for one glorious season.

Freeman’s doubles come in many distances and destinations. Yes, he hits bullets over the shortstop’s head the way he practiced with his father for countless hours while growing up in Orange County.

Just as often, he turns on pitches, depositing them in the right-center gap. He pulls sharp ground balls into the right-field corner and punches grounders down the left-field line past diving third basemen.

And in something of a double-or-nothing play, he hustles to second on bloopers to the outfield or ground balls through the infield that aren’t pursued with vigor by an outfielder.

The conclusions are the same — Freeman standing on the bag in the middle of the diamond, showing off the latest goofy shimmy and shake he and his teammates do to celebrate a knock.

Freeman, 34, has led the National League in doubles in four of the last six seasons. He has 25 doubles this season, trailing leader Alec Bohm of the Phillies by three. He should exceed 40 doubles for the sixth time. And if he should do so for four more seasons, he approaches 700, the domain of only four legendary hitters: all-time leader Tris Speaker (792), Pete Rose (746), Stan Musial (725) and Ty Cobb (724).

Most doubles by active players

Name, age, team, doubles
Freddie Freeman, 34, Dodgers, 498
Paul Goldschmidt, 36, Cardinals, 425
Andrew McCutchen, 37, Pirates, 418
Jose Altuve, 34, Astros, 417
Carlos Santana, 38, Twins, 382
J.D. Martinez, 36, Mets, 379
Nolan Arenado, 33, Cardinals, 377
Mookie Betts, 31, Dodgers, 363
Nick Castellanos, 32, Phillies, 355
Bryce Harper, 31, Phillies, 347

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