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The List: Player's HRs > Team's W's

So, I called up the Elias Sports Bureau with a question: What was the latest date in a season on which a player had more home runs than his team had wins? Strange question, I admitted, but one that had a purpose.

I was thinking, of course, that Washington Nationals slugger Adam Dunn must be nearing some sort of record, seeing as how it's mid-June now, and he has 17 home runs for a 16-win team. Surely, no one could sustain such a thing much deeper into a season, right?

Turns out, Dunn is not even close to the record. The answer to my question, according to Elias: Sammy Sosa of the 1999 Chicago Cubs. That year, Sosa had still out-homered the Cubs' win total as late as September 19: 61 homers to 60 wins. But the Cubs rallied in the last two weeks of the season to finish with 67 wins, while Sosa hit only two more homers, finishing with 63.

Obviously, then, no one has ever out-homered his team's win total for an entire season - although Dunn is on pace to hit 44 homers on a team that is on pace for 42 wins. In my own (admittedly incomplete) research, I could only find a handful of examples of sluggers who came within even 10 homers of their team's win total. And here they are, chronlogically:

5. Wally Berger, 1935 Boston Braves. He put up a league-leading 34 homers for a sad-sack team that went 38-115, while driving in a staggering 130 of the Braves' 575 runs.

4. Ralph Kiner, 1950 and 1952 Pirates. Pirates fans of the late 1940s and early '50s got used to Kiner being the lone bright spot. He got within 10 homers of the team's win total in both these seasons, blasting 47 in 1950 (57-96) and 37 in 1952 (42-112).

3. Frank Thomas, 1962 Mets. If you were looking to out-homer your team's win total, the 1962 Mets would have been a good place to try. Thomas (no, not that Frank Thomas) almost did it, going yard 34 times for the 40-120 expansion Metropolitans.

2. Mark McGwire, 1999 Cardinals. He couldn't do it with his 70-homer campaign in 1998 (when the Cards won 83 times), but Big Mac did it the following year, hitting 65 more for a 75-win disappointment.

1. Sammy Sosa, 1999 Cubs. Sixty-three homers. Sixty-seven wins. Can we go ahead and call this the greatest year anyone ever had for an absolutely horrible team? There it is, Mr. Dunn -- your mission, if you choose to accept it.

By Dave Sheinin  |  June 17, 2009; 7:59 AM ET
 
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Comments

Did you want that with or without juice?

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There it is, Mr. Dunn -- your mission, if you choose to accept it.

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 17, 2009 9:05 AM | Report abuse

no, he didnt do steroids until 2003, and only that one time when he was tested. and the corked bat was an accident. Sosa for HOF!

Posted by: sect104 | June 17, 2009 10:09 AM | Report abuse

Oh, that's right, 104. I forgot that the corked bat was only for BP. ;-)

Posted by: natsfan1a1 | June 17, 2009 10:12 AM | Report abuse

Actually, although he is a pitcher and you were talking about position players, I would nominate Steve Carlton's 1972 season as the best year any baseball player ever had for a horrible team. In 1972, Steve Carlton won 46% of the Phillies' games, going 27-10 for a team that was 59-97 and finished last in the NL East!

Posted by: Dougmacintyre | June 17, 2009 10:47 AM | Report abuse

The comments to this entry are closed.

 
 
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