MLB Home Run Leaders By Year—1990s
Ken Griffey Jr.
Baseball was in a transitional phase during the ‘90's. You had the dark year of 1994, when a players' strike cancelled the postseason. And then you had a rebirth of the game that included the Great Home Run Race between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa in 1998, plus the emergence of one Barry Bonds. Here are the home run leaders during the decade, juice ball or not, juice bodies or not, no asterisks-in other words, here are the numbers, and you can form your own conclusions:
1999-Mark McGwire, St. Louis Cardinals (65)
McGwire had what could be considered a down year for him in 1999, hitting just 65 homers after banging 70 the year before in setting a new MLB record. But still, 65 is 65 and while there are now plenty of allegations as to why McGwire hit so many homers later in his career, he did hit them. In '99, McGwire batted .278 with the 65 homers, 147 RBI, 21 doubles, 118 runs, and a slugging percentage of .697.
1998-Mark McGwire, St. Louis Cardinals (70)
1998 was a year that is down in history as the year of the Great Home Run Race between McGwire and Sammy Sosa. McGwire and Sosa both broke Roger Maris' previous single-season record of 61 as McGwire knocked 70 out of the park and Sosa had 66. McGwire also tied a career best with 147 runs batted in, and batted .299 with 21 doubles, 130 runs and an otherworldly slugging percentage of .752. Still, Sosa had a higher batting average (.308) and more RBI (158) to win the NL MVP.
1997-Ken Griffey, Jr., Seattle Mariners (56)
Between 1996 and 1999, Ken Griffey Jr. had not begun to deal with his constant nagging injuries yet, and was maybe the best all-around player in baseball. Griffey led the majors in home runs in 1997 with a career high of 56. He also batted .304 with 147 RBI (also a career best) with 34 doubles, 15 stolen bases, 125 runs, an on base average of .382 and a slugging percentage of .646.
1996-Mark McGwire, Oakland Athletics (52)
In his last full season with Oakland, Mark McGwire didn't mess around, leading the majors in home runs with 52. McGwire batted .312 that season (career best) with 113 RBI, 21 doubles, 104 runs, and a slugging percentage of .730.
1995-Albert Belle, Cleveland Indians (50)
Everyone knew Albert Belle as a troubled individual and baseball player, but there was no doubt the guy could hit the ball a mile and was one of the most feared sluggers of his time. In the strike-shortened season of 1995, Belle led the majors with 50 homers in helping the Indians reach their first World Series since 1948. Belle hit the 50 homers in just 143 games, while batting .317 with 126 RBI, 121 runs, 52 doubles (career high), an on base average of .401 and slugging percentage of .690.
1994-Matt Williams, San Francisco Giants (43)
Matt Williams had a nice career that peaked in the strike-shortened year of 1994 when he led the majors with 43 home runs. In just 112 games, Williams batted .267 with the 43 homers, 96 RBI, 74 runs and a slugging percentage of .607.
1993-Barry Bonds, San Francisco Giants (46) and Juan Gonzalez, Texas Rangers (46)
In his first season with the Giants, Barry Bonds won his third NL MVP in four seasons as he tied Texas' Juan Gonzalez for the major league lead in home runs with 46. Bonds hit .336 with the 46 homers, 123 RBI, 38 doubles, 29 stolen bases, 129 runs, an on base average of .458 and a slugging percentage of .677. Meanwhile, Gonzalez hit .310 with 46 homers, 118 runs batted in, 33 doubles, 105 runs and a .632 slugging percentage.
1992-Juan Gonzalez, Texas Rangers (43)
Gonzalez led the majors in home runs in 1992, marking the first of two straight years that he led or shared the lead. That season, Gonzalez hit .260 with 43 homers, 109 RBI, 24 doubles and a slugging percentage of .529.
1991-Jose Canseco, Oakland Athletics (44) and Cecil Fielder, Detroit Tigers (44)
In his last full season with Oakland, Jose Canseco had one of his best overall seasons, tying Detroit's Cecil Fielder for the major league lead in home runs with 44. Canseco batted .266 with the 44 homers, 122 RBI, 26 stolen bases, 115 runs and .556 slugging percentage. Meanwhile, Fielder tied Canseco by banging out 44 homers. He hit .261 with a career best 133 RBI, 25 doubles, 102 runs, and a slugging percentage of .513.
1990-Cecil Fielder, Detroit Tigers (51)
In 1990, Cecil Fielder led the majors in home runs for the first of two straight years in which he either led or tied. That year, Fielder hit 51 homers with 132 RBI, .277 batting average, 25 doubles, 104 runs, and a career best .592 slugging percentage.
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