By hitting the 310th home run of his career on Tuesday, Mike Trout surpassed Edgar Martinez to take over sole possession of the ninth spot on the list of career home runs hit by an AL West player.
I have been excited to watch Mike Trout climb his way up this leaderboard. I find this ascension to be particularly satisfying because one day I will be able to brag to all my Dodger-loving friends that it is an Angel who is the all-time AL West home run champion. Man, that is going to be very sweet.
But as I have been focusing on Trout and the AL West, I got to wondering about the other divisions and who their all-time home run champs are. I made some predictions and then spent way too much time on Fangraphs and baseball-reference and found the answers I was searching for.
But first, a little background information.
The American League’s West and East divisions and the National League’s West and East divisions were all created in 1969. The Central divisions in both leagues were created in 1994. That means that several teams have belonged to two divisions since 1969. The Brewer franchise, however, has bounced all over the divisional map. It belonged to the AL West from 1969-1971, then to the AL East from 1972-1993, then to the AL Central from 1994-1997, and finally to the NL Central from 1998-Present.
Anyhow, here are the top ten leaders in home runs by an AL West player and the top five in all of the other divisions. Do you know who the six divisional home run champions are?
AL West 1. 417 Griffey, Jr. (SEA) 2. 372 Juan Gonzalez (TEX) 3. 363 Mark McGwire (OAK) 4. 362 Reggie Jackson (OAK/CAL) 5. 345 Alex Rodriguez (SEA/TEX) 6. 321 Rafael Palmeiro (TEX) 7. 320 Nelson Cruz (TEX/SEA) 8. 317 George Brett (KCR) 9. 310 Mike Trout (LAA) 10. 309 Edgar Martinez (SEA) AL Central 1. 498 Jim Thome (CLE/CHW/MIN) 2. 432 Paul Konerko (CHW) 3. 351 Miguel Cabrera (DET) 4. 344 Frank Thomas (CHW) 5. 294 Magglio Ordonez (CHW/DET) AL East 1. 483 David Ortiz (BOS) 2. 431 Cal Ripken, Jr. (BAL) 3. 385 Dwight Evans (BOS) 4. 382 Jim Rice (BOS) 5. 365 Joe Carter (CLE/TOR) NL West 1. 586 Barry Bonds (SFG) 2. 396 Jeff Bagwell (HOU) 3. 373 Johnny Bench (CIN) 4. 371 Dale Murphy (ATL) 5. 369 Todd Helton (COL) NL Central 1. 504 Sammy Sosa (CHC) 2. 445 Albert Pujols (STL) 3. 386 Aramis Ramirez (PIT/CHC/MIL) 4. 359 Lance Berkman (HOU/STL) 5. 352 Ryan Braun (MIL) NL East 1. 548 Mike Schmidt (PHI) 2. 468 Chipper Jones (ATL) 3. 409 Andre Dawson (MON/CHC/FLA) 4. 382 Ryan Howard (PHI) 5. 368 Andruw Jones (ATL)
Once I was finished compiling these lists, I saw that several of my expectations failed to materialize.
I was expecting the totals in the Central divisions to lag behind the others since they hadn’t been around as long, but the divisions apparently arrived just in time for the steroid and juiced ball era.
I had expected that Albert Pujols was going to be the champion of the NL Central. If only he had stayed in St. Louis. What could have been.
I also expected that there would have been a Yankee in the top five, but alas that is not the case. Sorry Yankee fans, but having a top five player in all-time AL East home runs is not something you can brag about.
But the most satisfying sight on these lists, outside of Mike Trout at number nine in AL West home runs, is that there are no Dodgers in the top five in the NL West. And no one really came close. The best power hitters the Dodgers have had in the last fifty years have been Mike Piazza and Adrian Beltre, but they foolishly let these two leave the franchise and find glory elsewhere.