Wednesday, September 28, 2016

The 500 Home Run Club, In Perspective

David Ortiz is retiring. This 2016 season has been The Retirement Tour for the man who, for better or for worse, has been the face of baseball exclusively since Derek Jeter retired in September 2014, and side-by-side with Jeter since October 2004.

He has, as of this writing, 540 career home runs -- 4 more than Mickey Mantle, who ingested substances that were most definitely not performance-enhancing -- and has won 3 World Championships.

Of course, he cheated. And don't tell me I have to respect the achievement. Alex Rodriguez got to 500, 600, 660, and ended with 696. Do Red Sox fans respect his achievements? Do they, hell.


For the record, here's the 27 current members of the 500 Home Run Club, in chronological order of when they reached it:

1. George Herman "Babe" Ruth, "the Sultan of Swat," Baltimore, Maryland, 1895-1948, right field, New York Yankees, off Willis Hudlin of the Cleveland Indians, at League Park in Cleveland, August 11, 1929.

The 1st player with 138 career home runs, and the 1st to 200, 300, 400, 500, 600 and 700. Held the career home run record from 1921 to 1974. Finished with 714. Hit 659 of them as a Yankee, easily the club's all-time leader. Won 1915, '16 and '18 World Series with the Boston Red Sox; and 1923, '27, '28 and '32 World Series with the Yankees. One of the 1st 5 members of the Baseball Hall of Fame. All-Century Team. Number 3 retired and Monument dedicated by the Yankees. East 161st Street outside new Yankee Stadium co-named Babe Ruth Plaza.

2. James Emory Foxx, "Double X" or "the Beast," Sudlersville, Maryland, 1907-1967, 1st base, Boston Red Sox, off Bill Beckmann of the Philadelphia Athletics, at Shibe Park in Philadelphia (where he'd previously played for the A's), September 24, 1940.

The 1st righthanded hitter to do it, his name was nearly always written as "Jimmie," not "Jimmy." He was 32 when he hit Number 500, making him the youngest to do it until A-Rod. (Ruth was 34.) Finished with 534, and remained 2nd behind Ruth until surpassed by Willie Mays in 1966. Won 1929 and '30 World Series with the A's. Hall of Fame. Neither the Athletics (who don't do it for players from their Philadelphia period) nor the Red Sox have retired a number for him (his most common number was 3), but the Red Sox have elected him to their team Hall of Fame.

3. Melvin Thomas Ott, "Master Melvin," Gretna, Louisiana, 1909-1958, right field, New York Giants, off Johnny Hutchings of the Boston Braves, at the Polo Grounds in New York, August 1, 1945.

The 1st National League player to do it, Mel was the NL's all-time leader until surpassed by Mays in 1966. Finished with 511. Won 1933 World Series with Giants. Hall of Fame. Number 4 retired by the Giants.

4. Theodore Samuel Williams, "The Splendid Splinter," "The Thumper" and "The Kid," San Diego, California, 1918-2002, left field, Boston Red Sox, off Wynn Hawkins of the Cleveland Indians, at Cleveland Municipal Stadium, June 17, 1960.

Finished with 521, including a home run in his final career at-bat. Won 1946 American League Pennant with Red Sox, but never a World Series. Hall of Fame. All-Century Team. Number 9 retired and statue outside Fenway Park dedicated by the Red Sox. Lansdowne Street outside Fenway renamed Ted Williams Way.

5. Willie Howard Mays Jr. (not "William"), "the Say Hey Kid," Fairfield, Alabama, born 1931, center fielder, San Francisco Giants, off Don Nottebart of the Houston Astros, at the Astrodome in Houston, September 13, 1965. The 1st to do it indoors, although it wouldn't be until the next year that the Astrodome got baseball's 1st artificial turf. (I don't have footage of his 500th, but here's his 600th.)

Finished with 660. Had been 2nd all-time from 1966 to 1972, when Hank Aaron passed him with Number 649. Became the 2nd player, after Aaron, to have 500 homers and 3,000 hits. Won 1954 World Series with the New York edition of the Giants, including his legendary catch that saved Game 1. Hall of Fame. All-Century Team. Number 24 retired officially by the Giants, and unofficially (with a couple of brief exceptions) by the Mets. Statue dedicated by the Giants outside AT&T Park whose official address is 24 Willie Mays Plaza.

6. Mickey Charles Mantle (not "Michael"), "the Commerce Comet," Commerce, Oklahoma, 1931-1995, center fielder, New York Yankees, off Stu Miller of the Baltimore Orioles, at the original Yankee Stadium in New York, May 14, 1967.

Finished with 536, still the all-time leader among switch-hitters. Hit Number 500 lefthanded. Won 1951, '52, '53, '56, '58, '61 and '62 World Series with the Yankees, 12 Pennants total. Hall of Fame. All-Century Team. Number 7 retired by the Yankees.

7. Edwin Lee Mathews, "Eddie," born in Texarkana, Texas but grew up in Santa Barbara, California, 1931-2001, 3rd base, then with the Houston Astros, off Juan Marichal of the San Francisco Giants, at Candlestick Park in San Francisco, July 14, 1967.

Eddie finished with 512. Won 1957 World Series with the Milwaukee Braves, and also the 1958 NL Pennant. He and Aaron hit 863 home runs while teammates, an all-time record. Hall of Fame. Number 41 retired by the Braves after they moved to Atlanta. 

8. Henry Louis Aaron, "Hammerin' Hank" or "Bad Henry," Mobile, Alabama, born 1934, right fielder, Atlanta Braves, off Mike McCormick of the San Francisco Giants, at Atlanta Stadium (later renamed Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium), July 14, 1968, exactly 1 year to the day after Mathews did it (and against the same team).

Hank ended up with 755, making him the all-time leader from 1974 to 2007. His 733 home runs with the Braves franchise (albeit in 2 different cities) are the most with 1 single team. He just edged Willie Mays by a few weeks to become the 1st player to have both 500 home runs and 3,000 hits. Finished with 3,771 hits. This means that even if you took away all 755 of Hank's home runs, he still had over 3,000 hits (3,016). He and Mathews still hold the record for most home runs hit by teammates: 863.

I don't have footage of his 500th home run, but I do have footage of his 715th home run. Won the 1957 World Series with the Milwaukee Braves, winning the Pennant-clinching game (not the season finale) with an 11th-inning home run. Won another Pennant in 1958, and the NL Western Division title in 1969. Hall of Fame, All-Century Team, Number 44 retired by Braves and their successors in Milwaukee, the Brewers.

9. Ernest Banks (no middle name), "Ernie" or "Mr. Cub," Dallas, Texas, 1931-2015, shortstop and later 1st baseman, Chicago Cubs, off Pat Jarvis of the Atlanta Braves, at Wrigley Field, May 12, 1970.

Finished with 512. Never reached the postseason. Hall of Fame. All-Century Team. Number 14 retired and statue dedicated by the Cubs.

10. Harmon Clayton Killebrew, "Harm" or "The Killer" (actually, was renowned as a nice guy), Payette, Idaho, 1936-2011, 3rd baseman and later 1st baseman, Minnesota Twins, off Mike Cuellar of the Baltimore Orioles, at Metropolitan Stadium, August 10, 1971.

Finished with 573, still the leader among righthanded hitters in American League play. Helped the Twins win the 1965 AL Pennant, and the 1969 and '70 AL Western Division titles. Hall of Fame. Number 3 retired and statue dedicated outside Target Field by Twins. The street that separated Metropolitan Stadium from the Metropolitan Sports Center was named Killebrew Drive, and it still exists, as part of the Mall of America complex.

11. Frank Robinson (no middle name), "Robbie" or "The Judge," born in Beaumont, Texas but grew up in Oakland, California, born 1935, right fielder, Baltimore Orioles, off Fred Scherman of the Detroit Tigers, at Memorial Stadium, September 13, 1971, just 34 days after Killebrew reached the mark.

Finished with 586. Won the 1961 NL Pennant with the Cincinnati Reds (and nearly another in 1964). Won the AL Pennant with the Orioles in 1966, 1969, 1970 and 1971, winning the World Series in 1966 and 1970. NL Most Valuable Player in 1961, AL MVP in 1966, making him the only man to win the MVP in both Leagues. Hall of Fame. Number 20 retired by the Reds, who dedicated a statue of him outside Great American Ball Park, and also by the Orioles.

12. Willie Lee McCovey, "Stretch," Mobile, Alabama, born 1938, 1st baseman (also played some left field), San Francisco Giants, off Jamie Easterly of the Atlanta Braves, at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, June 30, 1978. (I've seen footage of this homer, but YouTube doesn't seem to have it. Here's a profile of him.)

Finished with 521. Won the 1962 NL Pennant and the 1971 NL West title with the Giants. Hall of Fame. NL MVP in 1969. Number 44 retired by the Giants, who also dedicated a statue of him outside AT&T Park, and named the body of water beyond the right field fence McCovey Cove.

13. Reginald Martinez Jackson, "Reggie," "Jax," "Buck," "Candyman" or "Mr. October," Wyncote, Pennsylvania, born 1946, right fielder, California Angels, off Bud Black of the Kansas City Royals, At Anaheim Stadium (now Angel Stadium), September 17, 1984. It came 17 years to the day after his 1st home run.

Finished with 563. With the Oakland Athletics, won the World Series in 1972, 1973 and 1974, and the AL West in 1971 and 1975. With the Yankees, won the World Series in 1977 and 1978, the AL Pennant in 1981, and the AL East in 1980. With the Angels, won the AL West in 1982 and 1986. MVP of the AL and the World Series in 1973. In 1977, became the 1st man, and is still the only one, to win the World Series MVP with 2 different teams.

Number 9 retired by the A's, Number 44 retired by the Yankees. With Graig Nettles wearing 9 on the Yankees, Reggie wanted to switch to 42 in honor of Jackie Robinson, but that was already worn, too, so he chose 44 in honor of the aforementioned Hank Aaron. Hall of Fame, Monument Park.

14. Michael Jack Schmidt, "Schmitty" or "Schmitter," Dayton, Ohio, born 1949, 3rd baseman, Philadelphia Phillies, off Don Robinson of the Pittsburgh Pirates, at Three Rivers Stadium, April 18, 1987.

Finished with 548. Won the 1980 World Series, the 1983 NL Pennant, and the 1976, 1977 and 1978 NL East titles with the Phillies. Won the NL MVP in 1980, 1981 and 1986. Won 10 Gold Gloves.

Grew up as a fan of the Cincinnati Reds, and wore Number 20 in honor of the aforementioned Frank Robinson. Number 20 retired and statue outside Citizens Bank Park dedicated by the Phillies. On the Phillies' 100th Anniversary in 1983, their fans voted him the franchise's greatest player ever -- and he still had 5 more full seasons, 1 of them an MVP season, to go.

15. Eddie Clarence Murray (not "Edward"), Los Angeles California, born 1956, 1st baseman, Baltimore Orioles, off Felipe Lira of the Detroit Tigers, at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, September 6, 1996

Finished with 504. Along with Aaron and Mays, 1 of 3 to get 500 homers and 3,000 hits honestly. Palmeiro and A-Rod made it 5, dishonestly. Murray is the only one to get to 3,000 hits first. Won the 1979 AL Pennant and the 1983 World Series with the Orioles. Also won the 1995 AL Pennant with the Cleveland Indians, in between his tenures in Baltimore, and was with them when he got his 3,000th hit. Hall of Fame, Number 33 retired by the Orioles.

16. Mark David McGwire, "Big Mac," from the Los Angeles suburb of Pomona, California, born 1963, 1st baseman, St. Louis Cardinals, off Andy Ashby of the San Diego Padres, at Busch Memorial Stadium in St. Louis, August 5, 1999.

Finished with 583. Had he not taken steroids, injuries may well have ended his career in the mid-1990s, with about half that. Won the AL Pennant with the Oakland Athletics in 1988, 1989 and 1990, and another AL West title with them in 1992. Won the NL Central Division with the Cardinals in 2000. But 1989 remained his only World Series win.

He was voted to the All-Century Team while still active, before his humiliation before Congress and his eventual confession. He has never come close to election to the Hall of Fame. His Number 25 has not been retired by either of his teams, although the Cardinals withheld it from circulation until David Bell arrived as a coach, since his father Buddy and grandfather Gus both wore it as players. And the Missouri legislature, which had previously voted to name the St. Louis area's section of Interstate 70 the Mark McGwire Highway, has renamed it the Mark Twain Highway.

17. Barry Lamar Bonds, born in the Los Angeles suburb of Riverside, California but grew up in the San Francisco suburb of San Carlos, California, born 1964, left fielder, San Francisco Giants, off Terry Adams of the Los Angeles Dodgers, at AT&T Park in San Francisco, April 17, 2001.

Finished with 762, the most in major league history. The only man with at least 400 home runs and 400 stolen bases, and has 500 of both. He probably would have reached all of those milestones even if he hadn't used steroids, making his use of them even less excusable.

He won NL Eastern Division titles with the Pittsburgh Pirates in 1990, 1991 and 1992; and NL Western Division titles with the Giants in 1997, 2000 and 2003. The Giants won the NL Wild Card and then the Pennant in 2002, but he never won a World Series.

He has never come close to election to the Hall of Fame. The Giants have not officially retired Number 25, but have withheld it from circulation in honor of Barry and in memory of his father Bobby Bonds.

18. Samuel Kelvin Peralta Sosa, "Slammin' Sammy," San Pedro de Macoris, Dominican Republic, born 1968, right fielder, Chicago Cubs, off Scott Sullivan of the Cincinnati Reds, at Great American Ball Park in Cincinnati, April 4, 2003.

Finished with 609. He might have had half of that had he never used steroids. Won the NL's Wild Card in 1998 and its Central Division in 2003, but never won a Pennant. He has never come close to election to the Hall of Fame. His Number 21 is not currently being worn by a Cubs player, but it has never been seriously considered for retirement.

19. Rafael Palmeiro Corrales, "Raffy," born in Havana, Cuba but grew up in Miami, Florida, born 1964, 1st baseman, Texas Rangers, off Dave Elder of the Cleveland Indians, at what's now named Globe Life Park in Arlington, Texas, May 11, 2003, only 37 days after Sosa did it.

Finished with 569. The 4th man to have both 500 home runs and 3,000 hits, and easily the least legitimate to have both. Without steroids, he might have reached 400 home runs and 2,700 hits. Had 3,020 hits when he was released by the Orioles following the public release of the fact that he had failed a steroid test -- thus proving that he had lied to Congress when he said he never used them -- and while he hasn't gone to jail for perjury, neither has he ever been employed in professional baseball again.

Reached the postseason with the Orioles in 1996 and '97, and the Texas Rangers in 1999 before returning to the O's. He has never come close to election to the Hall of Fame, and his number has not been retired by any team.

20. George Kenneth Griffey Jr., "Ken" or "Junior," born in Donora, Pennsylvania (as were his father, who hit 152 in his career, and Stan Musial, who finished with 475) but grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, born 1969, center fielder, Cincinnati Reds, off Matt Morris of the St. Louis Cardinals, at Busch Memorial Stadium in St. Louis, June 20, 2004.

Finished with 630, and, as far as is publicly known, they were all legit. He won AL Western Division titles with the Seattle Mariners in 1995 and 1997, but never won a Pennant. But he has a very special legacy that may be more important than any postseason achievement: More than any single person, he saved Major League Baseball in the Pacific Northwest with his performance in 1995. If not for what he did that season, the bond issue to fund Safeco Field would not have passed, and the Mariners would have moved to Tampa Bay for the next season. 

He was elected to the All-Century Team while only halfway through his career. He was honored this year by election to the Hall of Fame, the retirement of his Number 24 by the Mariners, and election to the Cincinnati Reds Hall of Fame.

21. Frank Edward Thomas Jr., "the Big Hurt," Columbus, Georgia, born 1968 (on May 27, the same day as Jeff Bagwell), 1st baseman, Toronto Blue Jays, off Carlos Silva of the Minnesota Twins, at the Metrodome in Minneapolis, June 28, 2007.

Finished with 521, and, as far as is publicly known, they were all legit. Won Division titles with the Chicago White Sox in 1993 and 2000, but was hurt for most of their 2005 World Championship season, and did not appear in the postseason, but was given a World Series ring. Won another Division with the 2006 Oakland Athletics. Hall of Fame, and the White Sox have retired his Number 35 and dedicated a statue to him at U.S. Cellular Field. 

22. Alexander Emmanuel Rodriguez, "Alex" or "A-Rod," born in Manhattan, New York, New York, but grew up in Miami, Florida, born 1975, shortstop and later 3rd baseman, New York Yankees, off Kyle Davies of the Kansas City Royals, at the old Yankee Stadium, August 4, 2007, only 37 days after Thomas did it.

He is the youngest player to achieve the milestone, and the only one to do it with me in the ballpark: I was in the upper deck in right field, and had the perfect view of it. He is the 5th player to have 500 homers and 3,000 hits, and the 3rd, after Aaron and Mays, to have 600 homers and 3,000 hits. He finished with 696 homers -- more than anyone except Bonds, Aaron and Ruth -- and 3,115 hits. How many he'd have if he hadn't used performance-enhancing drugs -- or hadn't been caught, or if MLB had decided it wasn't worth pursuing -- is open to speculation.

Won the World Series with Yankees in 2009, 1 of 11 postseason berths in his career so far. It seems unlikely he'll ever get into the Hall of Fame, although the Yankees giving him a Plaque in Monument Park and retiring his Number 13 once again seem possible, especially if Brian Cashman is no longer the general manager by the time those decisions would need to be made.

23. James Howard Thome, "Jim" or "the Thomenator," Peoria, Illinois, born 1970, 1st baseman, Chicago White Sox, off Dustin Moseley of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, at U.S. Cellular Field in Chicago, September 16, 2007, only 41 days after A-Rod did it. He was the 1st player to do it with a walkoff home run.

Finished with 612, and, as far as is publicly known, they were all legit. Reached the postseason with the Cleveland Indians in 1995, '96, '97, '98, '99 and 2001; the White Sox in 2008; the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2009; the Minnesota Twins in 2010; and the Baltimore Orioles in 2012. Won AL Pennants with the Indians in 1995 and '97. Seemed to especially enjoy going deep against the Yankees, especially in the '97 and '98 Playoffs.

The Indians have dedicated a statue to him at Progressive Field. His number is not currently being worn by an Indians player, and they may be waiting until he is elected to the Hall of Fame before they retire it. He will be eligible in 2018.

24. Manuel Aristides Ramirez Onelcida, "Manny" or "ManRam," born in Santo, Domingo, Dominican Republic, went to high school in Manhattan, New York, New York, born 1972, left fielder, Boston Red Sox, off Chad Bradford of the Baltimore Orioles, at Oriole Park at Camden Yards in Baltimore, May 31, 2008.

Finished with 555. He might have finished with 500 without the steroids. Reached the postseason with the Cleveland Indians in 1995, '96, '97, '98 and '99; the Red Sox in 2003, '04, '05 and '07; the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2008 and '09; and the Tampa Bay Rays in 2011. Won AL Pennants in 1995, '97, 2004 and '07. Won the World Series in 2004 and '07. We may never know when he started cheating, thus we may never know which of his Cleveland achievements are legit; none of his Boston achievements are.

He will be eligible for the Hall of Fame in the election whose results will be announced this January. He will not get in this time, and he should never get in. Both the Indians and the Red Sox, who could have retired his number, are currently giving Number 24 to pitchers. If that's an insult on purpose, I like it.

25. Gary Antonian Sheffield, "Sheff," Tampa, Florida, born 1968, right fielder, New York Mets, off the Milwaukee Brewers, April 17, 2009. He is the only player to do it as a pinch-hitter.

Finished with 509. He probably would have had at least 400 without the steroids. Reached the postseason with the 1997 Florida Marlins (his only Pennant and his only World Series ring); the 2002 and '03 Atlanta Braves; and the 2004, '05 and '06 Yankees.

He is eligible for the Hall of Fame, but has not gotten in. He has usually wore Number 10 or 11, but no team has retired one for him. Nor has any team elected him to their team Hall of Fame. 

26. Jose Alberto Pujols Alcantara, "Albert," "Phat Albert" or "El Hombre" (a not to Musial's nickname "Stan the Man"), born and raised in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, went to high school in New York, New York and in Independence, Missouri, born 1980, 1st baseman, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, off Taylor Jordan of the Washington Nationals, at Nationals Park in Washington, April 22, 2014.

He currently has 591, putting him in the discussion with Aaron, Mays and Musial -- and Bonds, if you don't care that he used -- as the greatest offensive force the National League has ever known. He says he has never used steroids. A previous slugging St. Louis Cardinals 1st baseman, Jack Clark, accused him of it on a radio show, and Pujols sued him. Clark retracted his accusation and apologized, and Pujols dropped the suit. Reached the postseason with the Cardinals in 2001, '02 '04, '05, '06, '09 and '11; and with the Angels in 2014. Won the NL Pennant with the Cards in 2004, and the World Series with them in 2006 and 2011.

He is still active, so he is not yet eligible for the Hall of Fame. Without serious evidence of steroid use, he will probably get in. The Cardinals have not given out Number 5 since he left, so it will likely be retired for him after he retires as a player.

27. David Americo Ortiz Arias, Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, born 1975, designated hitter, Boston Red Sox, off Matt Moore of the Tampa Bay Rays, at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg, September 12, 2015.

Currently has 540. Had he not used steroids, he'd have been lucky to get half that many. Reached the postseason with the Minnesota Twins in 2002; and with the Red Sox in 2003, '04, '05, '07, '08, '09, '13 and '16, winning both the Pennant and the World Series in 2004, '07 and '13. Was caught cheating in 2003, therefore every achievement in Boston, and possibly the one in Minnesota, is fraudulent.

He cheated. He got caught. He lied about it. He got exposed as a cheater and a liar about it. He still lies about it. But all his achievements have been allowed to stand. And he will almost certainly be elected to the Hall of Fame when he becomes eligible in 2022. The Red Sox will almost certainly retire his Number 34. They'll probably put up a statue of him outside Fenway Park. I wonder if the inscription will include his "Our Fuckin' City!" quote?


Lou Gehrig, who had to retire due to illness, and Fred McGriff both finished with 493, coming the closest to 500 without going over. The active players between 400 and 500 are: Adrian Beltre with 445, Miguel Cabrera with 443, Carlos Beltran with 420, and Mark Teixeira with 408. Beltre is 37, and has a good shot at it. Cabrera is 33, and will almost certainly make it. Beltran is 39, and probably won't make it. Teix is retiring this week.

he next active player is Ryan Howard with 381, but at 36 and with his injuries, I don't think he's going to make it. No other active player even has 311; with the "Steroid Era" apparently over with Ortiz's retirement, we will have the fewest number of players over the 300 mark in a long time.

The position with the most players with at least 500 home runs is 1st base, with 9. There have been 7 right fielders, 3 center fielders, 3 left fielders, 3 3rd basemen, 1 shortstop and 1 designated hitter. No 2nd baseman has done it. Nor has any catcher.

Ruth, Mantle, Jackson, A-Rod and Sheffield played for the Yankees, but only Ruth, Mantle and A-Rod did it as Yankees. Reggie hit his 300th as a Yankee, and he and Sheff each hit his 400th in Pinstripes.

Ott hit his 500th with the New York Giants. Mays did it with the Giants, but after the move to San Francisco. No player has 500 with the Dodgers, in Brooklyn or Los Angeles, or both. The Dodgers' all-time leader is Duke Snider, with 389 of his 407 as a Dodger. He is also the Brooklyn leader with 316. Eric Karros is their leader in Los Angeles, with 270. Mays, Murray and Sheffield have over 500 and have played for the Mets, but only Sheff, who spent the least time as a Met of the 3, did it as a Met. The Mets' career home run leader is Darryl Strawberry with 252. David Wright, already the club's all-time hits leader, has 242, but with his injuries, he may not be able to surpass Straw in home runs by a Met.

A-Rod hit his 500th in the city where he was born, but not in the one where he grew up. Bonds and Thome did it near, if not actually in, their hometowns. Bonds, Griffey, A-Rod and Thome all, in one way each, did it for their "hometown teams."

Ruth, Ott, Williams, Mays, Mantle, Aaron, Banks, Killebrew, Schmidt and Bonds each hit at least 500 home runs for one team. But only Ruth, Ott, Williams, Mantle, Banks and Schmidt did it for only one team.

Of the 27, 10 grew up (or "were trained as players," if you prefer, a better gauge of "where they were from" than "were born") in the Southeast: Mays, Aaron and McCovey from Alabama; Palmeiro, A-Rod and Sheffield from Florida; Ott from Louisiana, Mantle from Oklahoma, Banks from Texas, and Thomas from Georgia. If you count Texas and Oklahoma as part of the Southwest, that's 2, and 8 from the Southeast. California has 6: Williams, Mathews, Robinson, Murray, McGwire and Bonds. The Caribbean has 4: Sosa, Ramirez, Pujols and Ortiz from the Dominican Republic. The Northeast has 3: Ruth and Foxx from Maryland, and Jackson from Pennsylvania. (All from the Middle Atlantic States. New England has produced none.) The Midwest has 3: Schmidt and Griffey from Ohio, and Thome from Illinois. Killebrew, from Idaho, is the only one from the Rocky Mountains.

Eleven of them were black Americans: Mays, Aaron, Banks, Robinson, McCovey, Jackson, Murray, Bonds, Thomas, Griffey and Sheffield. Six were Hispanics: Sosa, Palmeiro, A-Rod, Ramirez, Pujols and Ortiz. Williams was Mexican on his mother's side, but he refused to accept this, so, as we would say today, he "self-identified" as a non-Hispanic white man. Of the non-Hispanic white players, 4 were of German descent (Ruth, Ott, Schmidt and Thome), 3 were English (Foxx, Williams and Mathews), 1 was Welsh (Mantle), 1 was Irish (McGwire) and 1 was French (Killebrew).

Thirteen were righthanded: Foxx, Mays, Aaron, Banks, Robinson, Killebrew, Schmidt, McGwire, Sosa, A-Rod, Thomas, Ramirez and Pujols. Twelve were lefthanded: Ruth, Ott, Williams, Mathews, McCovey, Jackson, Bonds, Palmeiro, Griffey, Thome, Sheffield and Ortiz.

Two were switch-hitters: Mantle and Murray. Both hit many more home runs lefty, since there are far more righty pitchers than lefty ones, but Mantle always insisted he had more power righty. He may have been right: He hit the longest home run ever hit in Washington, and may have hit the longest ones ever in Philadelphia and St. Louis, all within a few days of each other in April 1953; and may have hit he longest in Chicago, in 1955; and all of these were hit righthanded. All 3 of his confirmed home runs off the old Yankee Stadium's frieze (usually erroneously called "the facade") were lefty.

Of the 27, 14 did it at what was then their current home field, 13 on the road. Mathews, Schmidt, Thomas and Ortiz are the only ones to do it on artificial turf; Mathews, Thomas and Ortiz did it in domes.

Of the 27, 14 hit 500 home runs all or mostly in the AL, 11 in the NL. Robinson (343 to 243 NL) and McGwire (363 to 220 AL) were split close to the middle.

Numbers most commonly worn by these players: Ruth, Foxx and Killebrew 3; Ott 4, Pujols 5, Mantle 7, Williams 9, Sheffield 11, A-Rod 13, Banks 14, Robinson and Schmidt 20, Sosa 21; Mays, Griffey and Ramirez 24; McGwire, Bonds, Palmeiro and Thome 25; Murray 33, Ortiz 34, Thomas 35; Mathews 41; Aaron 44, McCovey and Jackson 44.

The player with the most career home runs who's eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame, but not yet in -- and not tainted by steroids -- is the aforementioned Fred McGriff, with 493. Considering how many he has, and there being no serious accusation against him, it's ridiculous to keep him out.

Also with 400 to 499, eligible and not seriously accused are: Jeff Bagwell with 449 (he deserves election), Dave Kingman with 442 (he doesn't), and Darrell Evans with 414 (he doesn't). Retired but not yet eligible: Carlos Delgado with 473 (I don't think he makes it), Chipper Jones with 468 (he'll make it), Adam Dunn with 462 (I don't think so), Vladimir Guerrero with 449 (maybe, his defense will help), Paul Konerko with 439 (I don't think so), Andruw Jones 434 (yes, his defense will make the difference) and Alfonso Soriano with 412 (no, baserunning will help, defense certainly won't).

Jose Canseco has 462, Jason Giambi 440, Juan Gonzalez 434. Good luck.

Between 400 and 499 and in are: Lou Gehrig with 493, Stan Musial and Willie Stargell with 475, Dave Winfield with 465, Carl Yastrzemski with 452, Andre Dawson with 438, Cal Ripken with 431, Mike Piazza with 427 (but he is tainted) and Billy Williams with 426.

Among Yankee Legends not yet mentioned: Joe DiMaggio only played 13 seasons, and finished with 361; Yogi Berra had 358, Graig Nettles had 390 (but that total and his great fielding haven't offset a .248 lifetime batting average which is keeping him out of the Hall), Tino Martinez 339, Bernie Williams 287, Paul O'Neill 281, Roger Maris 275, Derek Jeter 260, Bobby Murcer 252.

A neat quirk, if a sad one due to injury ending the son's career this year: Cecil Fielder and his son Prince Fielder both retired with 319 career home runs. But Bobby and Barry Bonds still have the most of any father-son combination: 1,094 (Barry 762, Bobby 332). The most home runs by brothers is 768, by Hank and Tommie Aaron. Tommie, who also played for the Braves, hit 13.

Between them, these men won 40 World Series: Ruth 7 (1915, '16, '18, '23, '27, '28 and '32), Mantle 7 (1951, '52, '53, '56, '58, '61 and '62), Jackson 5 (1972, '73, '74, '77 and '78), Ortiz 3 (2004, '07 and '13), Foxx 2 (1929 and '30), Robinson 2 (1966 and '70), Ramirez 2 (2004 and '07), Pujols 2 (2006 and '11), and 1 each for Ott (1933), Mays (1954), Mathews and Aaron (both 1957), Schmidt (1980), Murray (1983), McGwire (1989), Sheffield (1997), Thomas (2005) and A-Rod (2009).

Her'es the career hit totals of the club's members: Aaron 3,771, Mays 3,283, Murray 3,255, A-Rod 3,115, Palmeiro 3,020, Robinson 2,943, Bonds 2,935, Ott 2,876, Ruth 2,873, Pujols 2,825 and counting, Griffey 2,781, Sheffield 2,689, Williams 2,654 (remember, he lost 5 years due to military service), Foxx 2,646, Jackson 2,584, Banks 2,583, Ramirez 2,574, Ortiz 2,469 and maybe a few more over these last few days, Thomas 2,468, Mantle 2,415, Sosa 2,408, Thome 2,328, Mathews 2,315, Schmidt 2,234, McCovey 2,211, Killebrew 2,086, McGwire 1,626 -- easily the fewest of the club.

There are 19 members still alive: Mays, Aaron, Robinson, McCovey, Jackson, Schmidt, Murray, McGwire, Bonds, Sosa, Palmeiro, A-Rod, Thomas, Griffey, Ramirez, Sheffield, Thome, Pujols and Ortiz.

While a shocking 126 pitchers have given up 3,000 or more hits in major league play, only 2 has given up 500 or more home runs: Jamie Moyer gave up 522, to 319 different hitters; and Robin Roberts gave up 505. It didn't stop Roberts from getting into the Hall of Fame, and it won't be what keeps Moyer out, as he wasn't quite good enough.

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