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Most homers in a season where all hits are homers

Posted by Andy on January 27, 2011

I know we've posted this before, but I get a lot of email questions about this so I thought I'd post it again.

Here are the most HR in a season where all of that batter's hits were homers:

Rk Player HR H Year Age Tm G PA AB R 2B 3B RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS Pos
1 Jorge Sosa 3 3 2006 28 TOT 46 32 24 4 0 0 3 2 11 .125 .192 .500 .692 *1
2 Keith McDonald 3 3 2000 27 STL 6 9 7 3 0 0 5 2 1 .429 .556 1.714 2.270 /*2
3 Clem Labine 3 3 1955 28 BRO 60 37 31 4 0 0 5 3 18 .097 .176 .387 .564 *1
4 Ed Sanicki 3 3 1949 25 PHI 7 15 13 4 0 0 7 1 4 .231 .286 .923 1.209 /*98
5 Robert Person 2 2 2002 32 PHI 17 29 24 3 0 0 7 2 17 .083 .154 .333 .487 *1
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 1/26/2011.

Obviously this is for a minimum of 2 HR in the season, as a whole pile of guys have had just 1 hit and 1 HR in a season, including a few in recent years. Notice how often the guy is a pitcher.

Incidentally, this list was found by simply setting HR = hits in the criteria in the Batting Season Finder search.

Also here are the leaders among pitchers for most HR given up in a season when all hits given up at HR:

Rk Player HR H Year Age Tm G GF W L IP R ER BB SO ERA ERA+ BF AB BA OBP SLG OPS OPS+
1 Vladimir Nunez 2 2 2009 34 ATL 1 1 0 0 1.0 4 4 2 1 36.00 16 7 5 .400 .571 1.600 2.171 469
2 Nerio Rodriguez 2 2 1999 28 TOR 2 1 0 1 2.0 3 3 2 2 13.50 42 10 8 .250 .400 1.000 1.400 241
3 Mike Smith 2 2 1985 24 CIN 2 1 0 0 3.1 2 2 1 2 5.40 78 13 12 .167 .231 .667 .897 147
4 Bill Laxton 2 2 1970 22 PHI 2 2 0 0 2.0 3 3 2 2 13.50 35 11 8 .250 .455 1.000 1.455 297
5 Julio Navarro 2 2 1966 30 DET 1 0 0 0 0.0 3 3 0 0 inf 6 3 2 1.000 1.000 4.000 5.000 1294
6 Bill Bradford 2 2 1956 34 KCA 1 1 0 0 2.0 2 2 1 0 9.00 57 9 8 .250 .333 1.000 1.333 252
7 Fred Baczewski 2 2 1955 29 CIN 1 0 0 0 1.0 2 2 0 0 18.00 32 5 5 .400 .400 1.600 2.000 404
8 Jack Spring 2 2 1955 22 PHI 2 1 0 1 2.2 2 2 1 2 6.75 67 11 10 .200 .273 .800 1.073 182
9 Ernest Groth 2 2 1949 27 CHW 3 3 0 1 5.0 3 3 3 1 5.40 83 21
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 1/26/2011.

Since 1901, nobody has given up more than 2 HR in such a season.

This entry was posted on Thursday, January 27th, 2011 at 10:15 am and is filed under Season Finders. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

29 Responses to “Most homers in a season where all hits are homers”

  1. Robert Person is a pitcher that hit both a granny and a 3run in one game, while pitching 5innings 5Ks 1run ball. In Phila it's even known as the "Robert Person" game.

  2. Fitz I was just thinking the same thing. I remember that game quite vividly.

  3. I watched that Person game live on TV when it happened.

  4. Tough start (and end) to Julio Navarro's 1966 season... HBP, HR, HR. He wouldn't pitch in MLB again until 1970.

  5. @4

    I also watched that game, and Person just missed hitting a 3rd that day. It had the distance but went left of the pole.

  6. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    Ernest Groth (#9 on the pitcher list) pitched two innings of relief in a 1949 appearance against the Tigers. He faced eight batters — every hitter in the Tigers order except center fielder Johnny Groth. For some reason this really disappoints me.

  7. Sanicki has hella career rate stats. But he's still no Larry Gowell. (Check Gowell's hitting, pitching, AND fielding. Nobody can match that.)

  8. I'm not trying to take all the fun out of the Robert Person Game, but ... he hit those HRs off Bruce Chen and Masato Yoshii. Chen has the highest qualifying HR rate in MLB history at 1.63 HR/9 IP (min. 1,000 career IP), and Yoshi's 1.33 HR/9 ranks 24th among pitchers with at least 700 IP.

    Person was the 3rd pitcher in 3 years to go deep off Chen, following Felipe Lira and Darren Dreifort.

    Yoshii had already given up HRs to FOUR other pitchers before Person: Dreifort, Joe Nathan, Jeff D'Amico and Andy Ashby (the only one he hit in 521 career ABs).

    P.S. Person hit two other HRs in his career; one was against Carl Pavano.

  9. If Keith McDonald hit three home runs in nine at bats, who couldn't the Cardinals let him have 600 at bats. For all we know he might have had 200 homers that season.

  10. @7, Kahuna, you've done it again. I was looking for some connection between the 3 MLB players named Groth, who apparently were not related.

    BTW, exactly one week before that game you cited, Johnny Groth hit a pair of HRs to lead Detroit to an Opening Day win over the ChiSox.

    Johnny Groth's page on Wikipedia notes that, after he had a big year at AAA Buffalo in 1948, "Time, Collier's, The Saturday Evening Post, and Life all tabbed him for superstardom in 1949." What did they all miss? Park factor, for one thing. Buffalo was a hitter's paradise; in 1948, they had 4 of the league's top 5 in OPS, and the club's 174 HRs were 40% more than the other 7 teams averaged. The Bisons averaged 5.31 R/G, but finished 9 games under .500.

    Johnny Groth did post a .407 OBP in each of his first 2 full seasons in the bigs, but he never had anything like the power he flashed at Buffalo.

  11. @10 -- Bill, the Cards did give McDonald 2 whole at-bats in 2001, and when he failed to connect either time, they must have concluded that the magic was gone.

    Seriously, though, McDonald wasn't actually a good hitter, even in the minors, nor did he have good power.

  12. Not only were Keith McDonald's three homer his only hits that season, but they were the only hits of his career. He's the only guy with more then one homer to have only home runs as his hits.

  13. In 1966 Julio Navarro had two home runs in the two at bats he had all season for Detroit. If the Tigers had known that, maybe they would have let him have 600 at bats to see if he could have 600 home runs and a slugging percentage of 4.000 to go his 1.000 batting average. At that time I believe Babe Ruth was the only person with 600 lifetime homers. Also his 1.000 batting average would have been more than twice that of any regular player, including Rogers Hornsby and Hugh Duffy.

  14. I was amazed to find that it's actually been 3 and a half years since I first posted on this topic:

    http://www.baseball-reference.com/blog/archives/193

  15. @8

    John Kull says hello

  16. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    Julio Navarro's nickname is hilarious: "Whiplash." Could he have gotten it because he allowed so many home runs? Navarro is one of only five pitchers whose big-league careers began before 1980 who pitched 200+ innings and allowed more than 0.15 HRs per IP. (The other four are George Spencer, Ken Mackenzie of the '62 Mets et al., Dan Pfister, and Bill Faul.)

    Since 1980, another 115 pitchers have qualified for the 200+ IP, 0.15+ HR/IP list. The IP leader and best starter is Ted Lilly. Lowest ERA+ belongs to reliever Justin Speier.

  17. @13, Julio Navarro didn't HIT two HRs, he gave up two HRs.

  18. @16

    Ken Mackenzie...the only '62 Met with a winning record (5-4). With that HR/IP ratio and the Polo Grounds as his home park, how did he do it?!

  19. @7 Good one Dvd, His one start was "mopped up" by the great Steve Blateric in his wonderful 1972 season!

  20. I remember Keith McDonald well. Homered in his first two big league at bats then again in his 5th(?). In the 2000's, the Cardinals had Keith McDonald, Chris Richard, Gene Stechshulte, Hector Luna, Adam Wainwright and Mark Worrell all homer in their first big league at bat.

  21. Ed "Butch" Sanicki was my friends high school baseball coach during the early 60's.

    Ed Sanicki also holds another interesting distinction in that his First 3 hits in the major leagues were all home runs.

  22. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    To add to #21, on the list of players whose career OPS+ exceeded 200, sorted by greatest number of plate appearances, Butch Sanicki ranks second all time with 20 PA, trailing only some big lummox named Ruth.

  23. Sanicki is 2nd on the list of fewest career games by a batter with 3 or more home runs - he played 7 games, Charlie Reilly in 1889 played 6.

  24. So with all the talk of Robert Person, I thought I would post the link below. According to this (very) recent article, Person is looking to make a comeback after SEVEN years out of baseball. I think it would be pretty cool to see him make it back, as unlikely as it is.

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2011/writers/jeff_pearlman/01/07/robert.person/index.html

  25. @7, Dvd Avins -- Great find on Larry Gowell!

    And not only did he get a hit (a double) in his only MLB at-bat, it was also "the last hit by a pitcher in a regular season American League game before the start of the designated hitter rule. The baseball Gowell hit was accepted as a historical baseball into the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, NY, where it now resides."
    Per B-R Bullpen, http://www.baseball-reference.com/bullpen/Larry_Gowell

    Also, he allowed 1 run in 5 IP in his only start -- but took a loss as the Yankees fell, 1-0; Gowell's double was one of 3 Yankee hits off Jim Lonborg that day, and their only XBH. He turned in 2 more decent years in AAA after that 1972 cameo, but never got another shot at the bigs. His page sponsor speculates that "his career was held back by his not being able to pitch Fri. & Sat. due to his 7th-Day Adventist religion."

  26. @Scoop

    I would not like to see him come back, too many pre-Howard, Utley, Charlie bad memories

  27. Among all hitters with at least 20 PAs, Ed Sanicki has by far the highest SLG (.882) and isolated power (.588).

    But how about Welington Castillo, who debuted with the Cubs this year? He went 6 for 20 with a HR and 4 doubles. He has the highest career ratio of XBH to Hits in modern MLB history (min. 5 hits).

  28. Most triples in a season in which all hits were triples:
    2, by 7 different players, including:

    -- Limb McKenry, a pitcher with the Reds in 1915-16. In 1916, Limb went 2 for 5, both triples. He also had 2 triples among his 5 hits the year before. With 4 triples out of 7 career hits, he has the highest ratio of triples to hits of any hitter with at least 4 hits. (BTW, the 1915 Reds featured three Reds, a Lefty, a Rube, a Heinie, a Curly, a Goat, a Fritz, an Ivy and an Ivey, King Lear, Silent George Twombly, and Shufflin' Phil Douglas. I believe that's more nicknames than there are in all the major leagues today.)

    -- Mark Johnson, rookie with the 1998 ChiSox. Johnson got just 2 hits in 23 AB that year, both triples. (Did I mention that he was a catcher?) He logged over 500 PAs in 1999-2000 combined, but didn't hit another triple until 2001.

  29. @24, 26 - It doesn't appear from the article that Person is trying to make it back as a major league pitcher, but as a scout or a coach.