This article was written by L. Robert Davids
This article was published in the 1972 Baseball Research Journal
If a batter hits 47-48 homers a season, he’s going for the fences, right? And if he’s going for the fences, he’s going to strike out a lot, right? Well, yes, and no. In the case of Willie Stargell in 1971, he led the league with 48 homers and 154 strikeouts. Henry Aaron was second in roundtrippers with 47. However, Aaron fanned only 58 times, which is further confirmation that he had one of his best seasons ever in 1971.
The great contrast between Aaron and Stargell in strikeouts, 58 to 154, is fairly typical of the great sluggers of the past. Of those players hitting at least 47 four-baggers, Stargell fanned most frequently, more than three times as often as he blasted one out of the park. This surpassed the marks of Reggie Jackson and Harmon Killebrew in their biggest home run years.
Was there ever a player hitting 47 or more homers who fanned less than that? Yes, three. Johnny Mize did it once and Lou Gehrig and Ted Kluszewski did it twice. Gehrig had the all-tine beat season ratio when he hit 49 homers and fanned only 31 times in his Triple Crown season of 1934. Those players who have hit 47 or more homers in a season are listed below with the number of times they fanned that season. Asterisks indicate league leader.
|1961||Roger Maris||61*||67||1936||Lou Gehrig||49*||46|
|1927||Babe Ruth||60*||89*||1954||Ted Kluszewski||49*||35|
|1921||Babe Ruth||59*||81||1962||Willie Nays||49*||85|
|1932||Jimmy Foxx||58*||96||1964||H. Killebrew||49*||135|
|1938||H. Greenberg||58*||92||1966||Frank Robinson||49*||90|
|1930||Hack Wilson||56*||84*||1969||H. Killebrew||49*||84|
|1920||Babe Ruth||54*||80||1933||Jimmy Foxx||48*||93*|
|1928||Babe Ruth||54*||87*||1962||H. Killebrew||48*||142*|
|1949||Ralph Kiner||54*||61||1969||Frank Howard||48||96|
|1961||Mickey Mantle||54||112||1971||Will Stargell||48*||154*|
|1956||Mickey Mantle||52*||99||1926||Babe Ruth||47*||76|
|1965||Willie Hays||52*||71||1927||Lou Gehrig||47||84|
|1947||Ralph Kiner||51*||81||1950||Ralph Kiner||47*||79|
|1947||Johnny Mize||51*||42||1953||Ed Mathews||47*||83|
|1955||Willie Mays||51*||60||1955||Ted Kluszewski||47*||40|
|1938||Jimmy Foxx||50||76||1958||Ernie Banks||47*||87|
|1930||Babe Ruth||49*||61||1964||Willie Hays||47*||72|
|1934||Lou Gehrig||49*||31||1969||Reggie Jackson||47||142*|