50 Home Runs in a Season
The feat of hitting 50 home runs in a major league season has been accomplished 43 times by 27 different players. Babe Ruth, Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa have accomplished the feat the most times (4). Sosa and McGwire accomplished their four seasons consecutively.
|Ken Griffey Jr.||1997||56|
|Ken Griffey Jr.||1998||56|
Just Missed the Cut
Throughout MLB history, there have been 19 seasons where a player fell just one short of 50 home runs - the 49 home run club.
|Ken Griffey Jr.||1996||49|
60 Home Runs in a Season
When Babe Ruth hit 60 home runs in 1927, it was thought of as a once-in-a-lifetime accomplishment and it almost was. It took 34 years for anyone to match, let alone surpass Babe Ruth as the home run king. In 1961, Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle of the New York Yankees had a legendary battle to uncrown the Babe as home run champ. They combined to hit 115 home runs; the most of any teammates in major league history. Roger Maris ended up setting a new record with 61 home runs that season.
It would be another 37 years before anyone would approach 60 home runs again. In 1998, there was another great home run race. This time around, it was between Mark McGwire of the St. Louis Cardinals and Sammy Sosa of the Chicago Cubs. They both surpassed Roger Maris's home run record and the race came down to the final week-end of the season. McGwire reigned as home run king by hitting 70 home runs that season, Sosa finished the year with 66 homers. Many believe that the excitement surrounding the home run race in 1998 was what saved baseball from lack of interest after the 1994 strike. In 1999, McGwire and Sosa once again reached the 60 home run mark but neither reached their totals from the previous year.
Contrary to conventional wisdom at the time, 70 did not last very long as the home run record. In 2001, Barry Bonds set a new home run record with 73 homers. There was much less fanfare over the home run chase than there was in previous years. Sosa hit 64 home runs that year, he is the only player to hit 60 home runs three times in his career. Many baseball fans and journalists have questioned the validity of the home run records post-1998 due to all three players being involved in the PEDs scandal of the 1990s.