Each year a home run champion is declared in the American League and the National League. There is no vote. There is no politicking. This is simply statistical. A player can burn every bridge with the media and still win the award if he can back it up on the field. History will show some teams have had more home run champions than others. Here we will determine which team or teams have gone the longest.
First let us knock out this century by taking a look at the home run champions going backwards from 2013 to 2000.
Chris Davis – Baltimore Orioles 53
Pedro Alvarez – Pittsburgh Pirates 36
Paul Goldschmidt – Arizona Diamondbacks 36
Miguel Cabrera – Detroit Tigers 44
Ryan Braun – Milwaukee Brewers 41
Jose Bautista – Toronto Blue Jays 43
Matt Kemp – Los Angeles Dodgers 39
Jose Bautista – Toronto Blue Jays 54
Albert Pujols – St. Louis Cardinals 42
Carlso Pena – Tampa Bay Devil Rays 39
Mark Teixeira – New York Yankees 39
Albert Pujols – St. Louis Cardinals 47
Miguel Cabrera – Detroit Tigers 37
Ryan Howard – Philadelphia Phillies 48
Alex Rodriguez – New York Yankees 54
Prince Fielder – Milwaukee Brewers 50
David Ortiz – Boston Red Sox 54
Ryan Howard – Philadelphia Phillies 58
Alex Rodriguez – New York Yankees 48
Andruw Jones – Atlanta Braves 51
Manny Ramirez – Boston Red Sox 43
Adrian Beltre – Los Angeles Dodgers 48
Alex Rodriguez – Texas Rangers 47
Jim Thome – Philadelphia Phillies 47
Alex Rodriguez – Texas Rangers 57
Sammy Sosa – Chicago Cubs 49
Alex Rodriguez – Texas Rangers 52
Barry Bonds – San Francisco Giants 73
Troy Glaus – Anaheim Angels 47
Sammy Sosa – Chicago Cubs 50
From these seasons we can eliminate several teams from contention for this disreputable record.
American League East
Baltimore Orioles – Chris Davis 2013
Boston Red Sox – David Ortiz 2006
New York Yankees – Mark Teixiera 2009
Tampa Bay Devil Rays – Carlos Pena 2009
Toronto Blue Jays – Jose Bautista 2011
American League Central
Chicago White Sox – ?
Cleveland Indians – ?
Detroit Tigers – Miguel Cabera 2012
Kansas City Royals – ?
Minnesota Twins – ?
American League West
Houston Astros – ?
Los Angeles/Anaheim Angels – Troy Glaus 2000
Oakland Athletics – ?
Seattle Mariners – ?
Texas Rangers – Alex Rodriguez 2003
National League East
Atlanta Braves – Andruw Jones 2005
Florida/Miami Marlins – ?
New York Mets – ?
Philadelphia Phillies – Ryan Howard 2008
Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos – ?
National League Central
Chicago Cubs – Sammy Sosa 2002
Cincinnati Reds – ?
Milwaukee Brewers – Ryan Braun 2012
Pittsburgh Pirates – Pedro Alvarez 2013
St. Louis Cardinals – Albert Pujols 2010
National League West
Arizona Diamondbacks – Paul Goldschmidt 2013
Colorado Rockies – ?
Los Angeles Dodgers – Matt Kemp 2011
San Diego Padres – ?
San Francisco Giants – Barry Bonds 2001
This leaves us with the following teams yet to be determined: Chicago White Sox, Cleveland Indians, Kansas City Royals, Minnesota Twins, Houston Astros, Oakland Athletics, Seattle Mariners, Florida/Miami Marlins, New York Mets, Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos, Cincinnati Reds, Colorado Rockies, San Diego Padres
Without going through it year-by-year, these are the most recent players to lead the league in home runs from the remaining teams:
1999 Seattle Mariners – Ken Griffey Jr. – 48
1997 Colorado Rockies – Larry Walker – 49
1996 Oakland Athletics – Mark McGwire – 52
1995 Cleveland Indians – Albert Belle – 50
1992 San Diego Padres – Fred McGriff – 35
1991 New York Mets – Howard Johnson – 38
1978 Cincinnati Reds – George Foster – 40
1974 Chicago White Sox – Dick Allen – 37
1969 Minnesota Twins – Harmon Killebrew – 49
As of now we are left with five teams: Kansas City Royals, Minnesota Twins, Houston Astros, Florida/Miami Marlins, and Washington Nationals/Montreal Expos.
The Marlins and Nationals/Expos franchises have never had a home run champion. However, in 1970 Frank Howard did league the American League in home runs for the Washington Senators, a separate franchise from the Nationals/Expos so this does not count.
Also, it has been determined that the Kansas City Royals and Houston Astros have never had anyone lead the league in home runs. They join the Marlins and Nationals/Expos having never achieved this feat.
The longest drought, however, goes to the Minnesota Twins. This is a team that during the steroid era had distanced themselves from allegations. Marty Cordova led the team in home runs in 1996 with 16 and in 1997 with 15. Matt Lawton hit 21 in 1998 and Ron Coomer dropped the team lead down to 16 in 1999. Thank goodness for Harmon Killebrew.