Greatest National League Sluggers of All-Time By Team
When you think of great National League power hitters, you might think of the great home run race between Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa in 1998, or of Barry Bonds hitting 73 homers in 2001. But each franchise has a name at the top of its all-time home run leader board that you may or may not instantly recognize. Here is a list of National League teams and the top slugger in history for each:
Arizona Diamondbacks-Luis Gonzalez
Outfielder Luis Gonzalez is a journeyman player who joined the D-backs in 1999, helping the team reach the postseason in only its second year of existence. Gonzalez also had his best years in Arizona, clubbing 224 home runs while with the team, including an astonishing 57 in 2001 to go along with 142 RBI and a .325 batting average. That was also the year the D-backs won it all in a classic series against the Yankees, when Gonzalez had the game winning hit in Game 7. Today Gonzalez plays for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Atlanta Braves-Hank Aaron
Henry "Hank" Aaron is currently the all-time home run leader in baseball history with 755, at least until Barry Bonds catches up to him. Aaron belted 733 of his career long balls while with the Braves franchise in both Milwaukee and Atlanta, but what is somewhat remarkable is the fact that he never hit more than 47 in a single season. Aaron accomplished that feat in 1971 to go along with 118 RBI and a .327 batting average. He also hit 44 homers in a season four separate times. Aaron might be best remembered for breaking Babe Ruth's long-standing career home run mark of 714 in 1974.
Chicago Cubs-Sammy Sosa
Outfielder Sammy Sosa is probably best remembered for the great home run race with Mark McGwire in 1998, in which he finished with 66 long balls to McGwire's 70. But Sosa won the National League MVP Award that year, and in all belted 545 career homers with the Cubs. Sosa played for the Cubs from 1992 to 2004, and to go along with that magical year of 1998, his best overall season may have been 2001 when he hit 64 homers with 160 RBI and a .328 average. Today Sosa plays for the Texas Rangers.
Cincinnati Reds-Johnny Bench
Catcher Johnny Bench was a huge part of the Reds' "Big Red Machine" years in the 70s. He remains one of the greatest hitting catchers of all-time as well, hitting 389 homers for the Reds, the only team he ever played for. In 1970, Bench hit 45 home runs with 145 runs batted in to go along with a .293 batting average, in helping his team to the National League pennant. He also won the National League MVP Award in both 1970 and 1972.
Colorado Rockies-Todd Helton
The Rockies entered the league as an expansion team in 1993, so it's no surprise that their all-time home run king, first baseman Todd Helton, only has 292 long balls while with the team. Though not necessarily known as a power hitter, Helton has a career lifetime batting average of .333 for the only team he's ever played for (1997-present), but his power numbers can never be ignored either. Helton had an incredible year in 2001 when he hit 49 homers with 146 RBI and .336 batting average.
Florida Marlins-Mike Lowell
The Marlins were an expansion team in 1993, and won World Series titles in both 1997 and 2003. But after each championship, the teams were dismantled. And so, the all-time home run leader for the franchise is third baseman Mike Lowell with 143. Lowell played for the Marlins from 1999 to 2005, and his best season was the championship year of 2003 when he belted 32 home runs with 105 RBI. Lowell currently plays for the Boston Red Sox.
Houston Astros-Jeff Bagwell
For any player who began his big league career in the nineties like first baseman Jeff Bagwell did with the Astros in 1991, it's unusual that they play their entire career for one team. But Bagwell did, and hit a lot of bombs up until retiring in 2005, collecting a total of 449 for his career. Bagwell hit 47 homers with 132 RBI and a .310 batting average in 2000, but his best year overall may have been the strike-shortened season of 1994. In that season, Bagwell belted 39 home runs with 116 RBI in just 110 games, and he hit a staggering .368 on his way to winning the National League MVP Award. Today Bagwell is still with Houston as an assistant to the General Manager.
Los Angeles Dodgers-Duke Snider
Outfielder Duke Snider played the bulk of his career in a Dodgers' uniform, first in Brooklyn and then later when the team moved to Los Angeles in 1958. Snider had his best home run total in 1956 when he hit 43, but his best overall season was 1954 when he clubbed 40 long balls to go with 130 RBI and a .341 batting average. Snider helped a Brooklyn Dodgers' dynasty win seven National League pennants and two World Series titles.
Milwaukee Brewers-Robin Yount
Shortstop Robin Yount was one of the best hitting shortstops of all-time, and he played in Milwaukee for his entire career, from 1974 to 1993. Yount played for the Brewers before they moved to the National League in 1998, and during his tenure hit a franchise-leading 251 home runs. In 1982, Yount hit 29 home runs with 114 RBI and .331 batting average, leading the Brew Crew to the National League title and the first World Series appearance in their history.
New York Mets-Darryl Strawberry
The Mets have existed as a franchise since 1962, but their all-time home run king, outfielder Darryl Strawberry, only played for them for eight seasons (1983-1990). Strawberry hit 252 homers as a Met, winning the National League Rookie of the Year in 1983, and leading his team to a World Series title in 1986. Strawberry's best year as a pro was 1987 when he hit 39 homers with 104 RBI while batting .284. After leaving as a free agent in 1990, he went on to play for the Dodgers, Giants and Yankees, battling many off-the-field problems. But Strawberry may have had one of the sweetest power strokes of any player in history.
Philadelphia Phillies-Mike Schmidt
Third baseman Mike Schmidt played for the Phillies for his entire career and remains one of the city's greatest sports legends, as well as one of baseball's greatest all-time sluggers. Schmidt belted 548 homers during his 18-year career (1972-1989), and his best season was 1980, with 48 home runs, 121 RBI and a .286 batting average en route to the Phillies winning a World Series title against Kansas City. Schmidt also won the National League MVP three times-1980, 1981, and 1986.
Pittsburgh Pirates-Willie Stargell
First baseman Willie Stargell, affectionately nicknamed "Pops" late in his career, played his entire career for the Pirates, hitting 475 homers during that time (1962-1982). Stargell helped his team win championships in both 1971 and 1979, and his best season overall was 1971 when he hit 48 homers with 125 runs batted in with a .295 batting average. He also was the World Series MVP in 1979. Stargell tragically passed away from a stroke in 2001 at the age of 61.
San Francisco Giants-Willie Mays
Outfielder Willie Mays, known as the "Say Hey Kid," is one of the all-time great sluggers in baseball history. Playing nearly his entire career in a Giants uniform (including time in both New York and San Francisco), Mays hit 646 home runs with the franchise. Mays hit 52 bombs in 1965, but his best season as a whole was with the New York Giants in 1955 when he hit 51 to go along with 127 RBI and a .319 batting average. His only World Series ring was won in 1954 when the Giants beat the Cleveland Indians and Mays won the National League MVP in both 1954 and 1965. Mays still serves as a special assistant to the President of the Giants.
San Diego Padres-Nate Colbert
The Padres began play in 1969, but have never won a title to go along with just two National League pennants. In between, there have been a lot of difficult years for this franchise, so it shouldn't be a surprise that the team's all-time home run king, first baseman Nate Colbert, hit just 163 with the team. Colbert played for the Padres from 1969 to 1974, and his best season for them was 1972 when he hit 38 homers with 111 RBI. Colbert went on to play for Detroit, Montreal and Oakland before retiring in 1976.
St. Louis Cardinals-Stan Musial
First baseman Stan "The Man" Musial played his entire career in a Cardinals uniform, and is one of the most beloved St. Louis athletes of all-time. Musial played for the team from 1941 to 1963, belting 475 career homers. Musial led the Cards to three World Series titles, and his best season overall was 1948, when he hit an astounding .376 with 39 homers and 131 runs batted in. Musial also won the National League MVP Award three times.
Washington Nationals-Vladimir Guerrero
Though he never played in Washington, outfielder Vladimir Guerrero is the franchise home run leader with 234, all hit when he played for the Montreal Expos from 1996 to 2003. Guerrero's best season was 2000 when he hit 44 homers with 123 RBI and batted .345. He left the team as a free agent to sign with the Anaheim Angels, and Guerrero still plays for the Angels today.