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Raul Ibanez: History with each swing

By Gary Hill

The ridiculous Raul Ibanez renaissance continued at Safeco Field Monday night. Ibanez bashed his 22nd homer and added his 51st RBI on the season with a sixth-inning single as Seattle stormed by the boys from Beantown 11-4.

Ibanez has become the oldest player in baseball history to reach the 20-home-run and 50-RBI plateau before the All-Star break. The ancient Mariner seemingly swipes at history with every single swing. He has his sights firmly set on "The Splendid Splinter" for the most homers in an age-41-or-over season.

1. Ted Williams: 29, 1960 (41)
2. Barry Bonds: 28, 2007 (42)
3. Barry Bonds: 26, 2006 (41)
4. Raul Ibanez: 22, 2013 (41)
4. Darrell Evans: 22, 1988 (41)
6. Dave Winfield: 21, 1993 (41)
7. Stan Musial: 19, 1962 (41)
8. Carlton Fisk: 18, 1991 (43)
8. Carlton Fisk: 18, 1990 (42)
10. Carl Yastrzemski: 16, 1982 (42)
10. Graig Nettles: 16, 1986 (41)
12. Reggie Jackson: 15, 1987 (41)
12. Willie McCovey: 15, 1979 (41)

He also continues to establish himself as one of the best home run hitters over the age of 40 in history. Note: These are homers actually hit at 40 years or older and not simply in a 40-year-old season or older.

1. Barry Bonds, 78
2. Carlton Fisk, 72
3. Darrell Evans, 65
4. Dave Winfield, 59
5. Carl Yastrzemski, 49
6. Stan Musial, 46
7. Ted Williams, 44
8. Hank Aaron, 42
9. Graig Nettles, 40
10. Hank Sauer, 39
11. Edgar Martinez, 36
11. Harold Baines, 36
13. Raul Ibanez, 32
13. Julio Franco, 32
15. Rickey Henderson, 31
15. Craig Biggio, 31
15. Andres Galarraga, 31
18. Jim Thome, 30
19. Willie McCovey, 28
20. Brian Downing, 27
21. Reggie Jackson, 26
22. Eddie Murray, 25

There have only been 14 occurrences of a player in his 40-year-old season or older hitting 20 or more homers in a season. Edgar Martinez swatted 24 as a 40-year-old in 2003. Ibanez needs just two more to catch his former teammate. Darrell Evans holds the 40-year-old record with 34 homers in 1987 for the Detroit Tigers.

Ibanez spent his first five seasons in the big leagues with the Mariners. From age 24 to 28 he racked up 14 homers and 58 RBIs in 231 games. He is sitting on 22 homers and 51 RBIs in just 254 at-bats this season.

Here are his homer totals as a Mariner by year:

1996, 0
1997: 1
1998: 2
1999: 9
2000: 2
2004: 16
2005: 20
2006: 33
2007: 21
2008: 23
2013: 22

Ibanez continues to extend his home-run record at Safeco Field. He has hit 80 in his career, which vastly eclipses the 62 from Bret Boone, who sits in second. Fourteen of the 22 homers from Ibanez this year have been hit at Safeco Field. It is already the 11th-most homers hit at Safeco during a season. The record was set by Richie Sexson, who smashed 21 long balls at Safeco Field in 2005.

The quantity of homers has certainly been impressive for Ibanez this season and the quality has matched. Monday night marked the 12th time this season an Ibanez homer has either tied the game or propelled the M's into the lead. The homer also extended his hitting streak to 13 games.

Ibanez has helped Seattle surge to a sensational start in the month of July. They have won their first two series of the month and have boasted a 5-2 record. They feature the second-best OPS .891 in baseball and they have scored the seventh-most runs with 39. The Mariners have already hit 12 homers in the month, which ties them with Detroit from most in MLB.

Furthermore, since Brad Miller joined Nick Franklin to become the starting middle infield, the Mariners are averaging 5.3 runs per game.

The sample size is small, but the July start is promising. The Mariners will try and keep it going Tuesday as All-Star Hisashi Iwakuma takes the hill against the Red Sox.

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