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Most homers in final season

Posted by Andy on September 26, 2011

Loyal reader Andy P. writes in to ask which players hit the most homers in their final season in the majors. He noticed that Jermaine Dye hit 27 bombs in his final season and guessed that perhaps Dave Kingman had the most in 1986 with 35.

He's right:

Rk Player HR Year Age Tm G PA AB R H 2B 3B RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS Pos
1 Dave Kingman 35 1986 37 OAK 144 604 561 70 118 19 0 94 33 126 .210 .255 .431 .686 *D/3
2 Mark McGwire 29 2001 37 STL 97 364 299 48 56 4 0 64 56 118 .187 .316 .492 .808 *3
3 Ted Williams 29 1960 41 BOS 113 390 310 56 98 15 0 72 75 41 .316 .451 .645 1.096 *7
4 Barry Bonds 28 2007 42 SFG 126 477 340 75 94 14 0 66 132 54 .276 .480 .565 1.045 *7/D
5 Jermaine Dye 27 2009 35 CHW 141 574 503 78 126 19 1 81 64 108 .250 .340 .453 .793 *9/D
6 Hank Greenberg 25 1947 36 PIT 125 510 402 71 100 13 2 74 104 73 .249 .408 .478 .885 *3
7 Jack Graham 24 1949 32 SLB 137 573 500 71 119 22 1 79 61 62 .238 .326 .430 .756 *3
8 Roy Cullenbine 24 1947 33 DET 142 607 464 82 104 18 1 78 137 51 .224 .401 .422 .823 *3
9 Albert Belle 23 2000 33 BAL 141 622 559 71 157 37 1 103 52 68 .281 .342 .474 .817 *9D
10 Kirby Puckett 23 1995 35 MIN 137 602 538 83 169 39 0 99 56 89 .314 .379 .515 .894 *9D/8645
11 Phil Nevin 22 2006 35 TOT 129 450 397 54 95 13 0 68 48 106 .239 .323 .438 .761 D3/792
12 Sammy Sosa 21 2007 38 TEX 114 454 412 53 104 24 1 92 34 112 .252 .311 .468 .779 *D9
13 Paul O'Neill 21 2001 38 NYY 137 563 510 77 136 33 1 70 48 59 .267 .330 .459 .789 *9/D
14 Will Clark 21 2000 36 TOT 130 507 427 78 136 30 2 70 69 69 .319 .418 .546 .964 *3/D
15 Dave Nilsson 21 1999 29 MIL 115 404 343 56 106 19 1 62 53 64 .309 .400 .554 .954 *2/D
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 9/25/2011.

Two seasons really stick out here--Ted Williams and Barry Bonds. They both played at a very high level. A few other guys here retired early for one reason or another.

This entry was posted on Monday, September 26th, 2011 at 7:36 am and is filed under Uncategorized. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

118 Responses to “Most homers in final season”

  1. The Eagles had a horrid offensive line, which is how he learned to scramble and why he got sacked so many times until he learned to run better.

  2. Johnny Twisto Says:

    The Eagles had a horrid offensive line, which is how he learned to scramble and why he got sacked so many times until he learned to run better.

    He led the league in sacks five of the seven (relatively) full seasons he played for Philly. He was 2nd and 3rd in the others. When was it he learned to scramble? I think he always could. I'll allow that his line probably sucked, but he probably also invited some sacks by rolling out against plan and causing the protection to break down.

    Actually, looking closer, '86 wasn't even a full season. He played 15 games but only started 5. Ron Jaworski was still the #1 guy most of the season. Cunningham only attempted 209 passes and yet got sacked 72 times! That was the record season (since surpassed by David Carr '02). Jaworski was (as best I remember) pretty immobile by that time, and got sacked 22 times in 245 past attempts. I assume they mostly played behind the same line.

    There you go, BSK, time to pick a new team. You rooted for Cunningham because he wouldn't take a beating, when in fact he got beat on more than anyone, even though he had the tools to avoid it. Your entire fandom is based on a lie.

  3. Were is the nightly recap? The biggest night of the season so far!!!

  4. @103 I meant "where" of course!

  5. Hey-

    I was like 6-years-old. And I suffered through the Bobby Hoying era, two different Detmer eras, and the short-lived idea that Doug Pederson was somehow a stop-gap (he wasn't even that!). I DESERVE THIS!

    (And by "this" I mean another couple decades of heartbreak.)

    Ironically, all of the QBs who've enjoyed any success with the Eagles since my childhood have been mobile African-American QBs, even when that was not the intent (see: Vick). I think that's sort of cool, even if the long-term success of such an approach (scramblers, not AAs) is still in question. I like that the Eagles think outside the box and don't fall victim to "conventional wisdom". They just fall victim to Andy Reid's game mismanagement and an apparent inability/unwillingness to remember that you usually need at least two linebackers on the field.

  6. So JT and BSK are Brefren no more?

    Incidentally I too was a fan of those Cunningham Eagles team. Makes me feel quite old that their buffoon coach's son is now a buffoon coach himself.

  7. I'm happy to look past mine and JT's differences. Sounds like he, like most non-Sox/Eagle hybrid fans, is not. :-p

  8. WHOOPS! Did I somehow log into http://www.football-reference.com?!?!???

  9. Belle was an awesome hitter...he may have not been warm and fuzzy off the field but neither was Cobb, Speaker, or Hornsby all who were alleged
    Klansmen.. funny thing about Belle, he was an Eagle Scout,,,,,
    Williams at age 42 hitting .316 with 29 homers and only 41 strikeouts...
    They guy came back from two wars, the second at age 34 and he hit .388 at age 38.. great fisherman and his friends in Boston were theater ushers and cops and you would'nt want to have a meal with him and pick his brain... the Boston Media killed him especially a guy named Dave Egan, who wrote when Braves manager Casey Stengel got hit by a cab that the guy deserved a key to the city.... those moron writers cost him at least three
    MVP's and Williams never bitched...

  10. I was watching a Pirates game back in the early 90's when they did the nightly "Trivia Question": "Who hit the most home runs in their final year in Major League Baseball"? I was immediately dialing on the phone to try to get in to let them know it was Dave Kingman. I could not get through and went back to watching the game. Next half inning they announced the winner and the correct answer: Ted Williams.

    Must have been in '93. Things kinda went downhill around there, you know...

  11. @1

    Ted stated in his book that he was offered $100,000 for 1961 and that he could just pinch hit if he chose to. But he was ready to retire. He said in retrospect that if he had known Carl Yastrzemski would come along in 1961, he might have hung on for another year.

  12. @102

    If I remember that season correctly, Cunningham was used only on 3rd and Long, for the dual threat of being able to pass or run for a first down. Credit Buddy Ryan with that genius of a game plan. So in Cunningham's defense teams knew it was a pass play, and were coming for him.

    As a young fan, it was quite exciting to have him come in the game (similar to the excitement of seeing today's teams line-up in a "wildcat"). But as a more sophisticated fan, I see that it was a pretty dumb thing to do.

  13. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    @24/ Zachary Says: Ted Williams' career still astonishes me. The guy was just insanely good. I also just love his story - came from tough circumstances, worked his way to the top of the nation's pastime, gave up almost five years of his prime to be a marine pilot, and then topped it off by becoming one of the greatest fisherman ever..."

    Zachary - I am surprised that no one has mentioned this yet, but the one purely phsical attribute that:
    - hitting well at a MLB level
    - fly fishing
    - flying as a marine pilot

    all have in common, is extraordinary eye-hand coordination. Plus, all are some what solitary accomplishments. Ted Williams took his physical gifts and developed them to the highest level possible.

    1995 AL MVP: Belle vs.Vaughn -
    Belle and Vaughn were tied for the AL lead with 121 RBI, plus their other mainstream stats were close enough that the writers could attribute enough of the "intangibles" to Vaughn. Plus, there was the fact that Belle piled up a lot of his numbers when the Indians already had a big lead.

    It wasn't so much that the writers liked Vaughn (though he was legitimately well-liked throughout baseball), but that Albert Belle was absolutely _DESPISED_ by the writers. There is also no legitimate reason that he was dropped from the HOF voting as quickly as he was (two years).

  14. "I think Kong was a victim of his own declining skill set."

    Does one skill count as a set? Whether it does or not, at the end of his career, his one skill, hitting home runs, was still very much in working order. During his career, if a team wanted Kong, it was because they wanted a guy to hit 30 home runs a season and pretty much nothing else. Any hope of Kingman being anything more than the most one-dimensional player in the game had dissipated by the mid-70's. I guess in 1987, none of the powers that be wanted a player of Kingman's all too specific talents.

  15. Yikes, how bad with the press do you have to be if you can't get the MVP with that season but Jeff Kent can!

  16. Lawrence Azrin Says:

    @115/ If you're merely (among) the best hitters in the league, as was Belle, the writers can rationalize not giving him awards. If you are historically great, as was Barry Bonds, it's impossible for the writers to ignore you.

  17. Just for fun:

    Vaughn
    G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS
    68 312 52 76 7 2 24 60 39 .290/.391/.607/.998
    72 324 46 89 21 1 15 66 29 .309/.386/.545/.931

    BOS: 39-29 (+3.0) Pre-AS; 47-29 (+7.0) Post-AS

    Belle
    G PA R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB AVG/OBP/SLG/OPS
    67 294 52 81 27 1 14 51 31 .312/.384/.585/.969
    76 337 69 92 25 0 36 75 42 .322/.415/.787/1.202

    CLE: 46-21 (+12.0) Pre-AS; 54-23 (+30.0) Post-AS

  18. Most home runs by a pitcher in his final season:

    5, Jim Tobin, Bos (N)-Det, 1945

    3, Tommy Byrne, NY (A), 1957
    3, Ernie Wingard, St.L. (A), 1927