All-Time Home Run Leaders For Every Team (MLB)
Once in a while, I like to take a look at how each of the franchises in Major League Baseball stack up against each other in various ways. Home runs are to baseball what fireworks are to the 4th of July, so I thought this would be a good time to explore each team’s all time home run leaders (for a career.) I broke it down by league, and then by division. While many of the all-time leaders were predictable, there were (for me) a couple of surprises on this list. Let me know what you think:
Note: In some cases, the number of home runs a player hit with a single franchise will not necessarily match their career totals. Home run totals do not include the post-season. An asterisk after a player’s home run total indicates they are still active.
National League East:
1) Braves: H. Aaron – 733
2) Marlins: G. Stanton – 181*
3) Mets: D. Strawberry – 252
4) Nationals / Expos: R. Zimmerman – 189 * / V. Guerrerro – 234
5) Phillies: M. Schmidt – 548
National League Central:
1) Brewers: R. Yount – 251
2) Cardinals: S. Musial – 475
3) Cubs: S. Sosa – 545
4) Pirates: W. Stargell – 475
5) Reds: J. Bench – 389
National League West
1) Diamondbacks: L. Gonzalez – 224
2) Dodgers: D. Snider – 389
3) Giants: W. Mays – 646
4) Padres: N. Colbert – 163
5) Rockies: T. Helton – 369
American League East
1) Blue Jays: C. Delgado – 336
2) Orioles: C. Ripkin, Jr. – 431
3) Rays: E. Longoria – 192*
4) Red Sox: T. Williams – 521
5) Yankees: B. Ruth – 659
American League Central
1) Indians: J. Thome – 337
2) Royals: G. Brett – 317
3) Tigers: A. Kaline – 399
4) Twins: H. Killebrew – 559
5) White Sox: F. Thomas – 448
American League West
1) A’s: M. McGwire – 363
2) Angels: T. Salmon – 299
3) Astros: J. Bagwell – 449
4) Mariners: K. Griffey, Jr. – 417
5) Rangers: J. Gonzalez – 372
Some thoughts about this list:
– Two of the three currently active players on this list — Giancarlo Stanton and Ryan Zimmerman — are each currently on their respective team’s Disabled List.
– Aaron’s total is still ridiculous and awesome.
– Have the Mets ever produced another home run hitter aside from Strawberry?
– Stanton is a monster. Just 25-years old, and he’s already pushing 200 homers.
– It would be kind of cool if Zimmerman could someday tie Guerrerro for the franchise record for what are essentially two different teams.
– Yount was better than many of us probably remember.
– Musial and Stargell tied within their division. That’s pretty cool.
– How weird is it that Sosa has been almost totally disregarded altogether in our collective baseball memory? My first guess for all-time Cubs leader was Ernie Banks, though I am quite aware of Sosa’s accomplishments.
– Bench is the only catcher on this list (though Delgado started out as one with the Blue Jays.)
– Perhaps unfairly, Luis Gonzalez (probably a very likable guy) seemed to me the most random name on this list.
– Given all the great players in their history, it’s strange in a way that no Dodgers player ever reached the 400 homer plateau for that franchise.
– Good to see Mays, not Bonds, still holding the Giants career record.
– What’s up with the Padres? As a franchise, they’re like that guy who shows up on Draft Day for your fantasy league draft, then you never see or hear from him again all season. Except they’ve been doing this for about a half-century.
– If Todd Helton isn’t someday elected to the Hall of Fame, Rockies fans should riot.
– Interesting that Ruth and Delgado are the only two players on the A.L. East list that didn’t spend their careers with just one team.
– As for Ripkin, I wonder how many homers Manny Machado will hit before he’s done?
– If Williams was still alive today, he could probably recall what pitch he hit off of each pitcher for every one of his 521 homers.
– Jim Thome slugged 612 homers in his career. When was the last time you heard anyone mention Jim Thome?
– We don’t normally think of Brett as a power hitter, but no Royal ever hit more home runs.
– You have to wonder if Al Kaline or Tim Salmon ever wake up in the dead of night thinking of that one more career homer that would have made for a nice, round number.
– Tim Salmon never appeared in a single All-Star game.
– In a pretty good era for pitchers, Killebrew topped 40 homers eight times.
– I’m not sure you (or I) could name five better right-handed hitters in baseball history than Frank Thomas.
– For Oakland, McGwire first led the A.L. in home runs as a rookie at age 23 (with 49) in 1987. Nine years later, he led the A.L. in homers for the second time at age 32 (with 52) in 1996. In between, he apparently discovered the Fountain of Youth.
– If you include defense and base-running as well as the ability to hit for both average and power, I’m not sure there’s a first baseman in baseball history I’d pick ahead of Jeff Bagwell.
– Not only were Ken Griffey, Jr. and Stan Musial both born in the company town of Donora, Pennsylvania, they were both born on November 21st (49 years apart.)
– While we’re on the subject, Bagwell and Thomas were born on the same day, May 27, 1968.
– Juan Gonzalez’s career is like that rock band you were once so impressed with, but now look back on with a tinge of embarrassment (you’re careful to never mention to your friends that you used to own one of their LP / Cassette / CD.) Full Disclosure: I once owned a Bay City Rollers record. Have at me, boys and girls.
I don’t have much to add except that I do think Jim Thome is thought of for his home run prowess. I don’t think I could have said 612 off the top of my head, but I could have told you he was up there (and if I knew it, it’s hardly secret).
The only other thing I have to add is an untruth. When I first saw Tim Salmon’s name, I thought, “I used to date a girl who went to high school with him.” But now that I think about it, it was JT Snow she went to school with (also Rob Nenn).
Hey Smak, Thing is, Thome is a likely Hall of Famer, but I just don’t hear all that much buzz about him, and never really have. Maybe it’s just the East-Coast bias thing.
The girls I dated went to school with guys that lived in the suburbs, smoked pot, and eventually became corporate executives. I guess that’s what they were looking for in a husband, because none of them ever married me.
Glad to have you back,
Fun to read. And what a bunch of sluggers here.
Of course we never really know as much about these people as we think we do, but let that not stop me at the moment. It just doesn’t seem right that Sosa would be at the top of the list ahead of Ernie Banks, so I’m quite fine not thinking about him as the Cubs’ rep. on this list. Give me guys like him Henry Aaron, Al Kaline and Willie Stargell.
Just how is Donora, Pennsylvania going to be able to do any better at anything than giving us two of the best hitters ever?
I’m with you on just ignoring the reality of Sosa at the top of the Cubs list in favor of Ernie Banks. As for Donora, I’m pretty sure they’re happy if they can pay what my dad used to call “the light bill.”
Thanks, and take care,
Very interesting – especially after watching last night’s HR derby. Joc Pederson could be the first Dodger to crack the 400 HR plateau. Maybe even 500. While there’s only 1 catcher on the list, Yogi’s 305 as a catcher is higher than 8 teams.
Pederson certainly has the power. He just needs to make more consistent contact. As for Yogi, I wonder how he felt about being passed over in favor of Bench as one of the four greatest living players? Good point about all the homers he hit, too.
Thanks for reading,
Yogi was probably too infirm to attend, and MLB wanted all their honorees to be present, I’m sure.
I have read a few sabermetrics-oriented bloggers complaining “the greatest living player”, Barry Bonds, was not invited to attend. I, for one, I’m glad he wasn’t. I mean, you wouldn’t invite Rosie Ruiz to a gathering of “the greatest living marathon runners”, now, would you?
Nor would you invite Scott Walker to a union rally. Some guys just aren’t going to be welcome in certain venues. Actually, what irritated me were the pre-game commercials featuring retired Reds ballplayers such as Bench, Morgan, Perez, Larkin…and most prominently of all, Pete Rose. As a baseball fan, I find it insulting to see him working his way towards “rehabilitation” in MLB. I’d actually prefer to put up with Barry Bonds rather than Pete Rose.
I would like to say for the record that I hope no Padre ever breaks Colbert’s record, as I love the notion that an orginal ’69 Padre holds that record.
Nate Colbert’s record seems pretty safe right now, though if Justin Upton remains with them for a decade or so, he could crack it.
Way too many actual and implied PED users on this list, which I guess is to be expected. I love your comment about the Padres. The Mets are just not good at generating long-term talent. They had what appeared to be a future all-time great in David Wright, and then squandered his talent while overpaying him at the same time. Wright is at 231 HRs now but who knows if his career will even last another 29 more HRs …Prediction: it will be at least 20 years before someone on the Mets surpasses Straw’s franchise record …
Hi Jason, Yeah, the Mets have a history of developing top pitchers, but for some reason, sluggers just ain’t the Queens way.
I have to agree with you that it will be at least that long before Strawberry’s team record is broken. Brandon Nimmo isn’t going to be that guy.
I was looking at the homer leaders for the three Southern California teams a bit ago: it’s striking that after about 150 combined seasons, Salmon with 299 has the most. The Angels and LA Dodgers have had a lot of good hitters though; with the Padres, it’s a puzzle to figure out how a team in such a good baseball city can be so consistently mediocre.
I guess relatively big ballparks must explain some of it. As for San Diego, I guess if you had their beaches, you wouldn’t worry all that much about the local baseball team.
Frankly, I wouldn’t drink the tap water in Donora, but something was brewing there, eh?
I wonder if they even play baseball anymore in Donora these days? The town is down to 4700 people (from a high of about 14,000 several decades ago.)
I love these kinds of lists and throw in your thoughts and we got a hoedown!! I never think of David Wright as a home run hitter but he’s gonna catch Strawberry next season. Braun will be topping Yount in 6 home runs. Because of free agency and players jumping around from team to team, I thought this list woulda had a few more surprises. The Padres total is wonderful.
Wright has always had moderate home run power, (25 per 162 games), but assuming he breaks Strawberry’s team record, he’ll have done it in about 2,000 more at bats. Straw averaged 34 homers per 162 games. Yount is my favorite Brewer of all time.
Thanks for reading and for the comment,
Interestingly, take away his Red Sox career, and Ruth would still be 5th all-time on the HR list (one behind Mays, along with A-Rod, Aaron and Bonds). Let’s do a little math … excluding 1914 where he appeared in just 5 games, Ruth tallied just 20 home runs total in his first full seasons. After the Red Sox switched him LF on a regular basis in 1919 (his first year with +100 appearances in the OF), Ruth averaged 40 HR’s for the rest of his career. Extrapolate that to include the other 4 seasons — and account for the appearances he did make — and it’s easy to see him at 800-850 dingers, meaning neither Aaron nor Bonds would likely ever have passed him (though Bonds’ steroid-inflated cranium might have kept him around for a few more years, trying to pass Babe).
Interesting points. It does make me wonder, though, how many homers Ted Williams would have finished with if not for WWII and Korea. He might have been the all time leader as well (or something approaching it.)
Thanks for the interesting comment.
Bill, “Saturday Night” is a classic. No Bay City Rollers dissing from this guy. Although I agree with you on Juan Gonzalez, he had some skills, but he was not a likable guy.
Kevin, Just for you I’ve downloaded their “Saturday Night” hit video and added it to the post. Enjoy!