Going, Going, Gone: The Teams With the Most Home Runs in MLB History
Let’s just say baseball’s home run barrage started in the National League with the Chicago Colts.
Way back in 1884, the origins of the Chicago Cubs – the Colts, then the White Stockings – began a run of eight straight seasons in which they led the league in home runs.
Later, the New York Yankees did the same for six consecutive seasons (1936-41) in the American League.
Of course, that streak must have irked their old rivals so much that the Brooklyn Dodgers went on to post seven seasons in a row (1949-55) as the NL leader in round-trippers.
Today, it feels as though every team is banging home runs at a staggering level. Smaller parks, perhaps a smaller strike zone, juiced ball – juiced players, at one point – there could be many reasons the overall totals have elevated like a hanging Jamie Moyer cutter getting squared up. (Sorry Jamie, but you did surrender the most home runs in MLB history: 522)
Whose hitters are going yard most often? Let’s dive into the record books to explore which MLB teams have been the best at hitting home runs.
Most Home Runs in a Season
The place to be in the 2019 season was the seating beyond the outfield fences. The 30 Major League Baseball teams combined to belt the most home runs in history – 6,776, or 10% more than the next-highest season of 6,105 in 2017.
The top four in the rankings also occurred that year: the Minnesota Twins slugging a single-season home run record of 307 to edge the Yankees (306), with the Houston Astros (288) third and the Los Angeles Dodgers (279) fourth. Each team surpassed the Yanks’ 267 homers in 2018.
The Twins had one fewer homer than the Yankees to begin the final day of 2019 regular season, but in a 5-4 loss to the Kansas City Royals, C.J. Cron, Jake Cave and Jason Castro (the team’s 307th overall) combined for three compared to Aaron Judge’s solo home run in the Yankees’ 6-1 loss to the Texas Rangers.
To say the Twins’ 307 homers were unexpected is an understatement after they only hit 166 a season earlier. But in 2019, five Twins slugged at least 30 – Nelson Cruz with 41, then Max Kepler (36), Miguel Sano (34), Eddie Rosario (32) and Mitch Garver (31). Meanwhile, the Yankees had an MLB-record 14 players reach double figures in home runs hit, led by Gleyber Torres (36) and Gary Sanchez (34).
The 2019 Los Angeles Dodgers hold the league record in the NL with 279. They also had second-most long balls over a two-year span in MLB, next to only the Yankees.
Most Home Runs in a 154-Game Schedule
The AL increased its schedule from 154 games to 162 in 1961 and the NL did the same one year later.
During the 154-game era, the NL boasted the only four teams to slug at least 200 home runs. The 1947 New York Giants (led by Hall of Fame slugger Johnny Mize’s 51 homers) and the 1956 Cincinnati Redlegs hit 221 each and the 1953 Brooklyn Dodgers had 208, though each of the three teams played a 155th regular-season game.
The 1955 Dodgers hit 201 round-trippers in 154 games.
The Yankees’ 193 homers in 1960 marked the AL standard for a 154-game season.
Interestingly, a year later, in the first AL season of 162 games, their total shot up to a then-record 240 while Roger Maris hit his historic 61 home runs.
The St. Louis Cardinals were considered one of the game’s top home run-hitting teams between 1920-49, but they didn’t come close to matching the dominant power runs of the Giants and Yankees.
Exit Stage Right (Field), Exit Stage Left (Field)
The Yankees have not only won the most World Series, but they’ve also slugged the most home runs in baseball history – earning their Bronx Bombers nickname. In fact, when the AL schedule was 154 games, they posted both the top six seasons for home runs and 16 of the top 30 seasons in the junior circuit.
Today, every team has gotten into the home run act.
Heading into the 2022 season, an incredible 110 of the top 115 home run seasons – 217 or more round-trippers – have occurred since MLB expanded to 30 teams in 1993.
Represented in those 110 season totals are 27 different franchises – all but the Royals, Pittsburgh Pirates and the Miami Marlins.
No team has relied on the home run more than the Reds in the shortened 2020 season.
They scored 59.7% of their runs via the long ball – 145 of 243 over 60 games, or a whopping 6.5% more than any other team in baseball history. They also set the season record in home run-to-hit percentage – 23.1 with 90 home runs out of 390 hits.
Most Home Runs by a Team in a Game
On Sept. 14, 1987, the Toronto Blue Jays set the single-game record that still stands with 10 home runs in an 18-3 win over the Baltimore Orioles. Ernie Whitt smacked three homers in the rout, while George Bell and Rance Mulliniks hit two apiece.
It was Bell’s 44th and 45th homers of an AL MVP season in which he ended up with 47.
The Reds are second on that all-time list with the nine they hit in a 22-3 rout of the Philadelphia Phillies on Sept. 4, 1999. Eddie Taubensee belted a pair as eight different Cincinnati players went deep in that contest, including Greg Vaughn’s 30th of the year. Incredibly, Vaughn finished that season with 45 homers, crushing 14 in September alone.
Twenty-nine teams have hit eight homers in a game. The Dodgers have done it three times (in 2002, 2019 and 2021), so have the Twins (1963 and twice in 2019). The Boston Red Sox, Detroit Tigers, Yankees, Rangers, Blue Jays and Washington Nationals and Cleveland have hit eight twice.
Most Home Runs in a Single Postseason Game
It had to feel good for the Chicago Cubs and their fans in 2015 when the club hit a playoff-record six home runs in an 8-6 win over the hated rival St. Louis Cardinals in Game 3 of the NL Division Series.
Kyle Schwarber hit one of those bombs and provided perhaps the most memorable moment of the series in Game 4 when he hit a home run off Cardinals left-hander Kevin Siegrist that landed on top of the Wrigley Field videoboard in right field. The ball was later placed inside a plexiglass case by the Cubs and returned to where it landed.
The Cubs are one of many tied for second on this list with five homers in a playoff game. They hit that number in Game 1 of the 1984 NLCS against the San Diego Padres. The Dodgers (2020 and 2021) and Oakland Athletics (1989, 2020) have done this twice and the Chicago White Sox (2005), Astros (2017), Yankees (1928), Padres (2020) and Cardinals (2004) once.
Which team will be the next to produce a staggering home run total? Only the outfield fences know.
Banner graphic by Matt Sisneros. Research support provided by Josiah Sukumaran of Stats Perform.
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