An Analysis of MLB Home Runs by Ballpark
Whether it’s a goal, touchdown, or ace, each sport boasts its own exultant moments. But the most triumphant act in all of American sports may belong to baseball: the home run. Shattering the game’s familiar rhythms in an instant, a homer can bring a crowd to its feet no matter the score. Plus, you can’t beat the fan participation when a ball sails into the stands – catching one is the stuff kids’ dreams are made of around the country
In honor of the home run’s storied tradition, we set out to scour recent MLB history for the teams, stadiums, and players that have treated fans to the most dingers. Studying stats from the last five seasons, we’ve determined which clubs and individual pros are best at delivering the thrill of the homer for their fans. Ready to find out how your team stacks up in our home run rankings? Let’s go deep.
Clubs That Clobber It
While the Orioles made team history in 2016 with three players accruing at least 30 home runs, their love affair with the long ball goes back further. In fact, the O’s have had at least 88 more homers than any other team over the last five seasons, an accolade that may ease the sting of going without a World Series since 1983. The Blue Jays merited second place, a fact that might not surprise their power-hitting first baseman Justin Smoak. Citing higher pitch speed and greater off-speed opportunities, Smoak has welcomed a recent surge in long ball success across the league.
Among teams with the lowest home run production, however, we found some clubs that have proved pretty successful in recent years. Recent World Series winners the Royals and Giants fell within the bottom five. But before you conclude that home runs and championships are inversely correlated, consider the Marlins, who haven’t seen the postseason since their 2003 World Series win. We can only assume that Giancarlo Stanton’s recent tear will go a long way in reversing the club’s home run troubles.
Homes of the Homer
Camden Yards may have inspired imitators with its “retro” baseball stadium design, but the beloved venue has no peer when it comes to producing home runs. Yankee Stadium took our second spot, while the Blue Jays’ venue, Rogers Centre, earned third place for witnessing the long one. These teams also ranked among those with the most homers overall, however, so the chicken-and-egg debate might be in order. Are these parks homer-friendly, or are the teams that play there merely blessed with exceptional power?
The parks with the least home runs may suggest an answer: The Marlins’, Pirates’, and Giants’ venues are regarded as some of the worst for hitters. San Francisco’s AT&T Park, for instance, boasts a right field that’s 421 feet deep (the game’s longest). Wrigley Field, on the other hand, is a bit of a head-scratcher; its dimensions aren’t quite as physically intimidating. That being said, Cubs fans sure wish their park had seen at least one less homer: the infamous Steve Bartman incident of 2003.
Power Hitters’ Favorites Places
With hundreds of homers to his name, perhaps strongman Chris Davis would have found success anywhere. But his relationship with Camden Yards is a special one, with 204 homers at home over the last five seasons. That’s 70 more than the top National League player-venue combo: Joey Votto at Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park. In fact, American League players were more likely to produce the long ball at home overall. Two-time MVP Mike Trout has also had more home runs than Votto, with a whopping 172 in five seasons while calling Angel Stadium home. José Bautista similarly hit 150 homers at Rogers Centre in Toronto.
Our data make clear, however, that stars can still make home runs while the rest of their team struggles. Ryan Howard, Eric Hosmer, and the aforementioned Stanton are outliers to their respective team’s homer struggles. For teammates tempted to blame their ballparks for their modest home run tallies, these guys’ records put their excuses to the test.
Homering Against the Home Team
Some teams have fond memories of ballparks other than their own, precisely because they have a record of demoralizing opposing fans with the long ball. The Brewers, for instance, must enjoy their visits to the Reds at the Great American Ball Park, where they’ve dinged Cincinnati for 158 home runs in the past five seasons. The Mets have a similarly rude record of abusing their hosts in Philadelphia, going deep on the Phillies 156 times over that period.
In the American League, the Red Sox have the most extensive record of beating up on the Orioles. But the Orioles have their own record of victimizing the opposition they visit, dinging the Yankees and Blue Jays 138 times apiece. In fact, the whole AL East Division was pretty aggressive when away from home, with Toronto taking aim at the Rays with 136 homers in their park as well. In the Central Division, the Twins have a habit of frustrating Indians fans, while the Mariners take the Astros deep in their own park most often out West.
Giving Fans What They Came For
If you’re root, root, rooting for the home team, no trip to the park is complete without your side sending one into the stands. The Orioles have the best track record of doing just that, homering 616 times at Camden Yards over the last five seasons. The Rockies earned the second spot for going long in front of their home crowd, a stat that will surprise none of the pitchers unfortunate enough to visit Coors Field. Armed with a high-altitude advantage, hitters have reduced talented pitchers to baffled witnesses of the park’s “moonshot” homers.
Once again, the Blue Jays and Yankees neared the top of our list, each giving their fans 528 at-home dingers over the last five seasons. But the Houston Astros made a surprise appearance in our fifth spot, smacking 511 homers into the stands of Minute Maid Park. The team and its fans were both happy to learn the stadium survived Hurricane Harvey relatively unscathed in 2017, so their unabashed treatment of visiting pitchers could continue.
Out of the Park in the Postseason
Of course, no discussion of the long ball would be complete without mention of the 2017 postseason’s pyrotechnics. In fact, the Astros’ remarkable title run hinged on homers at a few important junctures, including their historic Game 5 performance, in which five players took the Dodgers deep to forge an unlikely comeback. Of course, Los Angeles boasts some bombers of its own – including Enrique Hernandez, who delighted fans with a historic three homers in a single NLCS game against the Cubs. It’s no wonder the Astros and Dodgers combined for 25 homers total during the World Series, a new record.
These pennant winners weren’t the only ones to contribute to the staggering 104 homers hit during the 2017 playoffs, however. Aaron Judge, the Yankees’ sublime rookie, sent one to the stands in his playoff debut, one of five homers hit in that contest against the Twins. If that home run total seems strikingly high for a single game, this postseason made it seem routine. Seven playoff games witnessed five or more homers this year, a fitting conclusion to a year that saw more home runs hit than any season in history.
Going, Going, Gone
Whether your team is headed to the postseason or simply struggling to reach .500, home runs can make a visit to the ballpark worth the trip. Nothing in the world of sports quite matches the suspense of a deep shot to the stands or the ritual of rounding the bases. Even if your club is in a slump, our data show there’s always a good chance of a homer by the home team. That’s the kind of hope that baseball fans around the country can cling to.
When you do show up to support your team, make sure you’ve got the latest gear to prove your loyalty. At Fanatics, we take pride in being America’s best retailer of sports paraphernalia. That means when a home run ball is headed your way in the stands, you’ll be looking great for the cameras.
To compile the statistics cited in this project, we utilized data from the last five full seasons of MLB play, according to ESPN’s Home Run Tracker.
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