Minnesota Twins third baseman Josh Donaldson scored the two millionth run in Major League Baseball history on Saturday, crossing the plate on a Nelson Cruz ground-rule double during their game against the Kansas City Royals. MLB entered Saturday 13 runs shy of the mark, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.
Here's the milestone run:
While Elias and MLB will both recognize Donaldson's run as the two millionth, it's worth noting that not everyone agrees on that number. Baseball Reference, for instance, had the two millionth run being scored some time ago, as David Waldstein of the New York Times explained:
A reason for the discrepancy is that M.L.B. traces its origin to the 1876 National League season. That's a lot of baseball games, and there have been debates about which leagues and years should be counted. There are also questions over protested games, no-decisions and forfeits. Fresh research occasionally surfaces new runs and expunges others.
Fans of a certain age will recall that the millionth run in MLB history was scored on May 4, 1975 by Bob Watson, then of the Houston Astros. Watson's run was treated as a bigger deal than Donaldson's, in part because of a nationwide marketing campaign. As MLB.com noted last November:
The millionth run was sponsored by the candy Tootsie Roll, which awarded Watson with one million of its chewy treats. Watson donated half of the candy to the Boy Scouts of America and the other half to the Girl Scouts of America. The company also awarded him one million pennies ($10,000), which he donated to charity. Watson was also presented with a platinum watch from Seiko.
Additional fanfare or not, the irony is that Watson's run is no longer recognized as the millionth in league history. MLB has since elevated other leagues, including the Federal League and the Union Association, meaning Watson's run came well after the actual millionth run in league history. (MLB pushed closer to the two millionth run mark by recognizing the Negro Leagues in December.)
It's possible that something similar happens to Donaldson's run in the coming years. Still, for an afternoon anyway, he can celebrate being part of history.