A Place For Us: The Greatest Slugger/Park Romances

Mel Ott, along with Bobby Orr, Ernie Els and Brian Eno, is a core member of the Hall of Fame of Crossword Puzzle Answers. The Polo Grounds had one of the most evocative names for a ballpark in all of baseball history. Together, Ott and the Polo Grounds (which was a ten- or fifteen-minute walk from Yankee Stadium) produced the greatest combination of home run hitter and home park that the major leagues has ever seen. The stats to prove it are after the jump.

Here is a list of the most home runs hit by a player at any particular park.  In most cases, all were hit by the slugger in question as a home team player, but there are some cases where a small number of the player’s homers listed here occurred while playing for the visiting team.

1. Mel Ott, 323 homers at the Polo Grounds
2. Sammy Sosa, 293 homers at Wrigley Field
3. Ernie Banks, 290 homers at Wrigley Field
4. Mickey Mantle, 266 homers at Yankee Stadium
5. Mike Schmidt, 265 homers at Veterans Stadium
6. Frank Thomas, 263 homers at US Cellular Field/New Comiskey Park
7. Babe Ruth, 259 homers at Yankee Stadium
8. Stan Musial, 253 homers at Sportsman’s Park/Busch Stadium
9. Lou Gehrig, 251 homers at Yankee Stadium
10. Ted Williams, 248 homers at Fenway Park
11. Carl Yastrzemski, 237 homers at Fenway Park
12. Willie McCovey, 236 homers at Candlestick Park
13. Paul Konerko, 235 homers at US Cellular Field/New Comiskey Park
14. Billy Williams, 231 homers at Wrigley Field
15. Al Kaline, 226 homers at Tiger Stadium
16. Harmon Killebrew, 224 homers at Metropolitan Stadium
17. Chipper Jones, 216 homers at Turner Field
T18. Todd Helton, 212 homers at Coors Field
T18. Norm Cash, 212 homers at Tigers Stadium
T18. Ron Santo, 212 homers at Wrigley Field
21. Eddie Mathews 211 homers at Milwaukee County Stadium
22. Yogi Berra, 210 homers at Yankee Stadium
23. Jim Rice, 208 homers at Fenway Park
24. Dale Murphy, 205 homers at Fulton County Stadium
25. Willie Mays, 203 homers at Candlestick Park

Mel Ott had 323 homers in his home games and 188 homers in his away games. That’s 135 more homers at home than on the road. I believe the only other player in MLB history to have over 100 more homers at home than on the road is Frank Thomas. The Big Hurt had 312 total homers in home games and 209 in away games, for a net home over road number of 103. I believe, although I’m not positive with respect to possible pre-1919 players, that Joe DiMaggio had the largest net road-game homer over home-game homer number (213 road, 148 home, for a net of 65).

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Richard Chester
Richard Chester
8 years ago

Goose Goslin is right behind DiMaggio with 64 more homers on the road than at home. Goslin holds the record for the most homers by a visiting player at Yankee Stadium.

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
8 years ago
Reply to  birtelcom

Eddie Yost had 51 more road homers than home homers. Almost anyone who spent most of their careers with Griffith Stadium as their home park had many more homers on the road.

Ken Williams had 88 more at home than on the road.

Lawrence Azrin
Lawrence Azrin
8 years ago

from “GRIFFITH STADIUM HOME RUNS” by Andrew Sharp: “In 1915, 1917, 1918 and 1945, no Washington player hit a ball out of the park for a home run. In 1945, when the team finished in second place, 1.5 games behind Detroit, no Washington player hit a ball THAT CLEARED THE FENCES AT HOME {caps mine}. The lone Griffith stadium HR by the home team was an inside‐the‐parker by Joe Kuhel that didn’t come until Sept. 7. In 1920, 1924 and 1926, just one out‐of‐the‐park homer was hit each season by the home team. In 1919 and 1923, two Washington players… Read more »

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
8 years ago
Reply to  Lawrence Azrin

And to think that on 9/10/50 Joe DiMaggio by himself hit 3 HRs into the distant LF bleachers.

oneblankspace
oneblankspace
8 years ago

Franchises moving really hurt some players: Aaron had 195 in Milwaukee and 190 in Atlanta. Thome played in two parks in Cleveland and two in Philadelphia. Bench played in two parks in Cincinnati. Mathews it 9 in Atlanta and 11 in Boston.

oneblankspace
oneblankspace
8 years ago
Reply to  oneblankspace

or maybe Mathews hit that many.

Albanate
Albanate
8 years ago

Anyone know who hit the most road homers at a particular stadium?

bstar
bstar
8 years ago
Reply to  Albanate

We don’t have data for pre-1920, but Babe Ruth hit 79 at the Polo Grounds from 1920 and beyond. That includes 694 of his 714 home runs, so I would wager a few more that 79. That’s got to be close to the record.

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
8 years ago
Reply to  bstar

Those HRs at the Polo Grounds were not road HRs. The Polo Grounds was the Yankees home park then.

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
8 years ago

Ruth did hit 68 HRs at Shibe Park.

bstar
bstar
8 years ago

My total bad, Richard. It did seem like a huge number.:-)

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
8 years ago
Reply to  bstar

If you go to Ruth’s HR log on BR all of his HRs are listed. He hit a total of 85 HRs at the Polo Grounds. Ten of them came as a member of the Red Sox prior to 1920.

John Autin
Editor
8 years ago
Reply to  Albanate

No idea of the record, but … it’s always fun to note that Mike Schmidt hit 50 HRs in Wrigley Field in just 138 games. That’s a rate of 59 HRs per 162 games. He averaged 36/162 in Veterans Stadium.

bstar
bstar
8 years ago
Reply to  John Autin

Wrigley was the site of Michael Jack’s 4 HR game against the Cubs in ’76:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CHN/CHN197604170.shtml

John Autin
Editor
8 years ago
Reply to  John Autin

Other visiting HR notes:

– If you knew nothing else about Babe Ruth, you could tell he was a fantastic slugger by his Griffith Stadium totals of 31 HRs in 152 games. In 1921, only 27 HRs were hit there all season; Ruth’s 3 matched the top home totals of the Senators’ leaders, Goslin and Rice.

For 1926-28 combined, a total of 76 HRs were hit in Griffith Stadium. Ruth tied Goslin for the lead with 11.

– Ted Williams in Tiger Stadium, 55 HRs in 162 starts (.670 SLG).

John Autin
Editor
8 years ago
Reply to  birtelcom

Musial just missed this list with 49 at the Polo Grounds, tops among visitors there in the searchable era. Next-best was 28 by … Bill Nicholson?

Wow — Nicholson hit 136 of his 235 HRs on the road, 58%. Pretty rare for a Wrigley-based slugger.

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
8 years ago

Birtelcom: You could also add the name Alou to the Hall of Fame of Crossword Puzzle Answers.

John Autin
Editor
8 years ago

Sid Gordon averaged 22 HRs per 162 games for his career. But he hit 27 in 108 games at Ebbets Field, a rate of 40 per 162.

Gordon hit 120 of his 202 HRs on the road, just under 60%.

The visiting leader in Ebbets Field (from 1919 on) was Stan Musial with 37. No one else hit more than 30 there. Seems low for such a HR haven.

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
8 years ago
Reply to  John Autin

Eddie Yost hit 68.3% of his HRs on the road. While Griffith was his home park 77.2% were on the road.

John Autin
Editor
8 years ago

Bill Mazeroski hit 11 HRs in 44 games in the LA Coliseum, batting .325 with a .944 OPS.

He must have had down-the-line power. He also fared well in the Polo Grounds (6 HRs in 31 G, .531 SLG), but not well in Wrigley, which has short alleys but deep lines.

John Autin
Editor
8 years ago

Albert Pujols is going to miss visiting Pittsburgh. He has 29 HRs in 89 games at PNC Park, with a .376 BA and 1.170 OPS. No other visitor has more than 14 HRs there. It’s Albert’s top HR site outside of St. Louis.

John Autin
Editor
8 years ago

The leading visitor to Safeco Field? Rafael Palmeiro, 17 HRs in 43 games — 16 in 30 games from 2001-03. Jim Gentile hit 8 HRs in 10 games in LA’s Wrigley Field. No other visitor there hit more than 4. The top visiting total in Yankee Stadium was 31 by … Mickey Vernon?!? Vernon hit 172 career HRs, no more than 20 in a season; most years he hit about 10. But he really was a decent power hitter, it’s just that his home park killed his numbers. Over 2/3 of his career HRs were on the road. In Griffith,… Read more »

John Autin
Editor
8 years ago
Reply to  John Autin

Whoops, I missed one — Goose Goslin hit 32 in Yankee (in 160 games). I forgot to sort by HRs after searching for most games with a HR.

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
8 years ago
Reply to  John Autin

Ted Williams hit 30 HR at Yankee Stadium, fewer than either Goslin or Vernon, and yet he has more than twice as many career HRs as either of them. 18% of Vernon’s career HRs were at YS.

In 1914 Gavvy Cravath hit all 19 of his HRs at Baker Bowl. That is the greatest number of HRs where all were hit at home. Too bad his complete HR log is not available. The reverse record is held by Goslin who, in 1926, hit all his 17 HRs on the road.

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
8 years ago

I just saw that Cravath’s HR log is available. He hit 93 of his 119 HRs (78.8%) at home.

kds
kds
8 years ago

In 1918 Ruth, still pitching a significant amount, tied for the league lead with 11, all on the road. In 1919 he broke the all time season record with 9 at home and 20 on the road. (In a short season.) Should anyone have been surprised when he demolished his own record the next year with the Polo Grounds as his home park?

John Autin
Editor
8 years ago

Willie Mays played 56 games in Ebbets Field, and hit 28 HRs. In 1954-56 alone, he hit 21 in 32 games there.

Hartvig
Hartvig
8 years ago
Reply to  John Autin

Holy Cow! If that had been his home stadium and if he had been able to keep up that pace and if he played every home game (77 in those days) he would have averaged 38.5 home runs at home per season. I checked every 50+ home run season I could think of and the only person to hit more was Hank Greenberg at Tiger Stadium in 1938 when he hit 39 of his 58 at home. Sammy Sosa hit 38 in one of his and I think one other person did as well but I don’t remember who it… Read more »

Hartvig
Hartvig
8 years ago
Reply to  birtelcom

D*mn! I checked Sosa then McGwire- or vise-a-versa maybe- so I must have got them mixed up & that’s where I came up with a second 38HR season.

That’s what I get for posting at 2 am.

Still, 28 home runs in 56 games is just a ridiculous number.

Great article birtelcom.

bstar
bstar
8 years ago

Barry Bonds hit 14 HR in 34 career games at Turner Field, including 6 solo shots in 3 games in 2001(but only 3 walks). I believe that was the series that the Braves eschewed the common thought that year and said “You know what? I think we’re going to go ahead and pitch to Barry Lamar”. Pitching to Bonds that year was like punting to Devin Hester.

kds
kds
8 years ago

If I counted correctly, Bonds hit HR in 36 out of 40 parks he played in. Are these records?

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
8 years ago
Reply to  kds

Sammy Sosa homered in 45 out of 48 parks. I don’t if that’s a record.

Richard Chester
Richard Chester
8 years ago

i.e., I meant I don’t know if that’s a record.

Insert Name Here
Insert Name Here
8 years ago

I’ve made this into a Sporcle quiz:
http://www.sporcle.com/games/redsoxfan34/a-place-for-us