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August 16, 2012

BP Unfiltered

Because No One Else Would Drive Them In

by Geoff Young

In our earlier look at players who were immune to scoring runs, reader blocher asked about guys who hit a lot of home runs but otherwise didn't score much. He mentioned Andre Dawson's 1987 campaign, in which Dawson hit 49 homers but scored only 90 runs.

That is a 1.84 HR/R ratio, which is low, but not one of the 10 lowest in history among batting title qualifiers since 1901:

Player

Year

R

HR

R/HR

Mark McGwire

1997

86

58

1.48

Matt Williams

1994

74

43

1.72

Barry Bonds

2001

129

73

1.77

Harmon Killebrew

1962

85

48

1.77

Juan Gonzalez

1992

77

43

1.79

Ryan Howard

2006

104

58

1.79

Frank Howard

1968

79

44

1.80

Dave Kingman

1975

65

36

1.81

Sammy Sosa

1999

114

63

1.81

Joe Pepitone

1969

49

27

1.81

A few observations:

  • All of these hitters accomplished the feat in the so-called Expansion Era.

  • McGwire's ratio is ridiculous, especially considering that he drew 101 walks that year. We have to drop to a minimum of 300 plate appearances to find a lower ratio (more on that in a moment).

  • Two of these guys had an OBP better than .400: Bonds (.515) and Ryan Howard (.425).

  • Two had an OBP worse than .300: Kingman (.284) and Pepitone (.284).

  • Mark Trumbo is threatening to crack this list in 2012. Through August 15, he had scored 56 runs while knocking 29 homers, for a 1.93 R/HR ratio. Trumbo is the only qualifier this season with a ratio lower than 2, although Adam Dunn (2.00) and Billy Butler (2.05) are close.

Here are the career “leaders” among players with at least 2,000 plate appearances:

Player

Years

R

HR

R/HR

Steve Balboni

1981-1993

351

181

1.94

Mark McGwire*

1986-2001

1167

583

2.00

Ron Kittle

1982-1991

356

176

2.02

Dave Kingman*

1971-1986

901

442

2.04

Russell Branyan

1998-2011

405

194

2.09

Ryan Howard*

2004-2012

643

293

2.19

Dick Stuart

1958-1969

506

228

2.22

Marcus Thames

2002-2011

256

115

2.23

Harmon Killebrew*

1954-1975

1283

573

2.24

Fred Whitfield

1962-1970

242

108

2.24

*Also appears in single-season list

To the bullet points:

  • How awesome would it be to see a footrace with these guys in their prime?

  • The career leader, Balboni, doesn't crack our single-season list because he qualified for the batting title just twice in his career.

  • Balboni also is the guy with a lower ratio than McGwire's 1.48. In 1990, Bye-Bye scored 24 runs while hitting 17 homers, for a 1.41 ratio in 307 plate appearances.

  • The one active player, Ryan Howard, would need to hit 80 home runs without scoring on any other play to beat Balboni's career mark.

  • No seriously, a footrace would be awesome.

Related Content:  Home Runs,  Scoring,  Runs

3 comments have been left for this article.

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