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September 13, 2012

BP Unfiltered

Home Runs at Home, Redux

by Geoff Young

Last week in this space, we observed that two players (Miguel Cabrera, Ryan Braun) had hit more home runs in their home ballparks at that time than the San Francisco Giants had hit in theirs. It was good for a chuckle or three but also got me wondering: Has a player ever hit more homers in his ballpark than an entire team has in theirs?

I knew that in 2010, the Mariners narrowly beat Jose Bautista, 35-33. But what if we ventured deeper into the annals of history? Like, say, the past 50 years?

Going back to 1963, it has happened nine times before the current season:


 

Year

Home Runs at Home

Lowest Team

Highest Player

1963

Angels, 24

Harmon Killebrew, 26

Willie McCovey, 26

1966

Athletics, 18

Frank Robinson, 27

1967

Athletics, 19

Carl Yastrzemski, 27

1971

Astros, 18

Hank Aaron, 31

1979

Astros, 15

Fred Lynn, 28

1980

Giants, 24

Mike Schmidt, 25

1981*

Padres, 9

Mike Schmidt, 25

1984

Astros, 18

Tony Armas, 21

1991

Indians, 22

Cecil Fielder, 27

2012**

Giants, 22

Miguel Cabrera, 24

*Strike-shortened season

**Through games of September 12

This isn't a crazy unique occurrence, but it hasn't happened in two decades. Other fascinating information of limited utility I gleaned from this exercise includes:

  • This year's Giants have been outhomered at home, 48-22. This calls to mind the 1981 Padres, who were outhomered at home, 27-9. Ruppert Jones and Luis Salazar led that team with two homers each at Jack Murphy Stadium.

  • Mike Schmidt led the big leagues in home runs at home (or tied for the lead) five times during the period studied. Mark McGwire did it four times, Harmon Killebrew and Frank Thomas did it three times.

  • A few others have done it twice, including a father-son combination. Cecil Fielder led in 1990 (25, tied with Ryne Sandberg) and 1991 (27), Prince Fielder led in 2007 (27) and 2011 (24).

  • I didn't expect to see these players: Rick Monday, 1976 (20); Don Mattingly, 1985 (22); Moises Alou, 2004 (29).

  • I expected to see these guys more often: Willie Mays, 1965 (24); Barry Bonds, 2001 (37).

  • On the team side, the Astros and Cardinals own this. The Astros have finished last in MLB in home runs at home nine times, most recently in 1995. The Cardinals have done it eight times, although not since 1989, the final of five straight seasons doing it under Whitey Herzog.

  • More recently, the Giants have dominated, trailing MLB four times (including this year; their lead over the Padres is nearly insurmountable) since 2006.

  • Those 2006 Giants had the highest total of any lowest-homer-at-home team, knocking 61. The 1981 Padres had the lowest, with 9. The lowest in a non-strike-shortened season was 15, by the Astros in 1979 (Denny Walling led with three; pitchers J.R. Richard and Joaquin Andujar had one a piece).

  • The lowest total by a player that led baseball in homers at home was 17, by Schmidt in 1981. In a non-strike year, the lowest total was also by Schmidt, who hit 19 in 1974. The highest total was 38 by McGwire in 1998.

There. Now we both know way more about home runs at home than we should.

Related Content:  Home Runs

6 comments have been left for this article.

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