Greatest American League Sluggers of All-Time By Team
Cal Ripken, Jr.
The Yankees may have the most recognizable names in home run history in the American League, but that doesn't mean we can't give credit to other teams' all-time home run kings. Here, we take a look at each American League team's current leader, their totals and what they meant to their team.
Baltimore Orioles-Cal Ripken, Jr.
Ripken is best known for being an "iron man," having played in 2,632 consecutive games over twenty-plus seasons. But shattering Lou Gehrig's record isn't the only thing Ripken the player should be remembered for. He is the Orioles' all-time home run king, with 431, almost 100 more than Eddie Murray, who is the franchise's second leading power hitter. Ripken's best overall season was 1991 when he belted 34 homers with 114 RBI and a .323 batting average.
Boston Red Sox-Ted Williams
Outfielder Ted Williams was recognized as one of the greatest baseball players of all-time, but he's known more for hitting .406 in 1941, the last player in the modern era to hit over .400 for a full season. But Williams also had a home run stroke, and after playing for the Sox for his whole career (1939 to 1960), his total of 521 homers is remarkable. Williams' best overall season was 1949 when he hit 43 home runs with 159 RBI and batted .343, on his way to a second career American League MVP Award.
Chicago White Sox-Frank Thomas
First baseman and designated hitter Frank Thomas was one of the greatest sluggers in the game in his prime, and he played for the White Sox from 1990 through their championship season of 2005. During that time, Thomas belted 448 home runs, including a season high of 43 with 143 RBI in 2000 to go along with a .328 batting average. He also won the American League MVP in both 1993 and 1994. After playing one season with the Oakland Athletics, Thomas today plays for the Toronto Blue Jays.
Cleveland Indians-Jim Thome
First/third baseman Jim Thome played for the Tribe from 1991 to 2002, and is the all-time home run leader for this storied franchise that has fielded sluggers like Earl Averill, Manny Ramirez, Larry Doby and Albert Belle. Thome hit 334 homers while with Cleveland, and his last season as an Indian was also his best ever (2002, when he hit 52 homers with 118 RBI and a .304 batting average). Thome left to join the Phillies in 2003 and currently plays for the Chicago White Sox.
Detroit Tigers-Al Kaline
Outfielder Al Kaline is one of the most popular players in Tigers' history, and for good reason. He played his entire career in Detroit (1953 to 1974), hitting 399 home runs to rank first all-time with the franchise. Kaline's best power seasons were 1962 and 1966, clubbing 29 homers both years, and he was an integral part of the team's 1968 championship season. Kaline also was the youngest player in history to win the batting title, when he did so in 1955 by hitting .340 at the age of 20.
Kansas City Royals-George Brett
Third baseman George Brett played his entire career with the Royals, from 1973 to 1993, and leads the franchise in home runs with 317. Not necessarily known as a power hitting team, the second place slugger in Royals' history is current first baseman Mike Sweeney with 196. Brett was one of the greatest hitters the game has ever seen, with a .305 lifetime batting average. But he also had adequate power, and his best home run total was 1985 when he hit 30 to go along with 112 RBI and a .335 batting average in leading the Royals to a World Series title.
Los Angeles Angels-Tim Salmon
Outfielder Tim Salmon played for the Angels for his entire career, from 1993 to 2006, winning the AL Rookie of the Year Award in '93. During that time, he clubbed 299 homers, which ranks him first in franchise history. Salmon helped the Angels win a World Series title in 2002, and his best overall season was 1995, when he hit a career high 34 homers (he equaled this in 2000) with 105 RBI, while batting .330.
Minnesota Twins-Harmon Killebrew
First baseman Harmon Killebrew played almost his entire career with the Twins franchise, which was the Washington Senators before moving to Minneapolis in 1961. During his time with the team, Killebrew hit 559 home runs, which ranks him ninth among the game's all-time leaders. His best season as a Twin was 1969 when he hit 49 home runs (he equaled that mark in 1964) with 140 RBI and a .276 batting average. Killebrew played for the Royals in 1975 before retiring.
New York Yankees-Babe Ruth
For a franchise that fielded sluggers like Lou Gehrig, Mickey Mantle and Joe DiMaggio, Babe Ruth's 659 home runs while with the Yankees still ranks as a franchise record. The Babe played for the Yankees from 1920 to 1934, and his best season with the team was 1927 when he clubbed 60 homers with 164 RBI while batting .356. Ruth was also a very consistent player as his .342 career batting average will attest. He finished his career with 714 homers, currently ranking him third all-time.
Oakland Athletics-Mark McGwire
While he is, fairly or unfairly, recognized as much for steroid allegations as he is for hitting 70 home runs in 1998 while with the Cardinals, first baseman Mark McGwire was still an incredible power hitter as a whole. He played his first eleven-plus seasons with Oakland, hitting 363 home runs during that time, and remains the team's all-time leader. McGwire's best season in an Athletics uniform was 1996 when he hit 52 home runs with 113 runs batted in and a .312 batting average.
Seattle Mariners-Ken Griffey, Jr.
The Mariners began play in 1977 and outfielder Ken Griffey, Jr. is the all-time home run king for the franchise, with 398 as a Mariner during his tenure (1989-1999). Griffey clubbed 56 home runs in both 1997 and 1998 with 146 and 147 RBI those seasons, respectively-his two best power seasons as a Mariner. Griffey was traded to the Cincinnati Reds after the '99 season, and still plays for the Reds today.
Tampa Bay Devil Rays-Aubrey Huff
The Devil Rays were an expansion team in 1998, so it should be no surprise that the team's all-time home run leader has 128. That would be third baseman Aubrey Huff, who played for the Rays from 2000 to 2006. Huff's best offensive season was 2003 when he belted 34 home runs with 107 RBI and hit .311. He currently plays for the Baltimore Orioles.
Texas Rangers-Juan Gonzalez
The Rangers were originally the Washington Senators before moving to Arlington, Texas in 1972. The team's all-time home run leader, Juan Gonzalez, began play with the team in 1989 and remained with the Rangers until 1999, rejoining them again for two seasons in 2002. Gonzalez has 372 lifetime homers as a Ranger, with his best season coming in 1996 (47 home runs, 144 RBI, .314 batting average) when he won the American League MVP Award. Gonzalez is out of American baseball, but still plays the game in his native Puerto Rico.
Toronto Blue Jays-Carlos Delgado
Joe Carter may have the Blue Jays' most memorable home run (to win the 1993 World Series), but first baseman Carlos Delgado is the Jays' all-time homer king with 336 over twelve seasons with the team. In 1999, Delgado hit a career high of 44 home runs, but his best season as a whole came in 2000, when he hit .344 with 41 long balls and 137 RBI. Delgado is currently the Mets' first baseman.