Mays and Bonds Top Power – Speed List

This article was written by Ron Liebman

This article was published in the 1974 Baseball Research Journal


One of the most notable trends in the major leagues in the last 20 years has been a revival in the art of base-stealing, which had been declining since the advent of the lively ball in 1920.   Coupled with this revival has been the emergence of a group of players who have been dominant both in home-run hitting and base-stealing.   The period since 1950 has witnessed by far the best levels of speed and power recorded in baseball history.  This trend has been monopolized by the Negro ball players in the National League, who have revolutionized this aspect of baseball.  Willie Mays and Bobby Bonds, both of the Giants, have been the primary specialists in this regard.

Between 1900 and 1950, only on 5 occasions did a player accumulate 20 or more home runs and 20 or more stolen bases in the same season;  since 1951, this has happened no fewer than 50 times!  Prior to 1955, the only players since 1900 to accumulate at least 20 home runs and 20 stolen bases in the same season were Frank Schulte of the Chicago Cubs (1911), Ken Williams of the St. Louis Browns (1921 and 1922), Babe Herman of the Brooklyn Dodgers (1929), Chuck Klein of the Phillies (1931), Earl Torgeson of the Boston Braves (1951), and Jackie Jensen of the Boston Red Sox (1954).   This was quite a select group.

Willie Mays then burst on the scene and performed the feat six years in a row (1955-1960) and had the highest level of home runs and stolen bases in the majors for each of the six seasons.   Mays did not accomplish the combination after 1960, partly because of the increase in home run hitting on the Giant ball club which made base stealing less necessary.   Mays had started a new trend, however, and several other players, especially Henry Aaron and later Bobby Bonds began to achieve significant power-speed plateaus.   A September slump, resulting in only one home run in the last three weeks, cost Bonds an unprecedented 40 hr-40 sb season in 1973.

Willie Mays completed his career in 1973 with 660 homers and 338 stolen bases — the highest lifetime level. Vada Pinson and Henry Aaron are well over the 200 mark in both departments, and Frank Robinson is only one steal away from the two-century milestone.  Several spectacular season milestones also have been achieved by recent players.  Mays (1956 and 1957) Aaron (1963), Bonds (1969  and 1973), and Tommy Harper of the Milwaukee Brewers (1970) have joined Ken Williams (1922) as the only players with 30 or more home runs and steals in one year.   Mays (1955) became the only player to have 50 homers and 20 steals in the same season, and three players (Lou Brock of the Cards in 1967, Cesar Cedeno of the Astros in 1972 and 1973, and Joe Morgan of the Reds in 1973) performed the combo of 20 homers and 50 steals.

The accompanying table shows the league leaders in the annual level of home runs and stolen bases since 1920 when fourbagger totals first reached significant proportions.  Bonds has led the last five years, or ever since he became a regular in 1969.  He also achieved in 1973 the highest level of homers (39) and thefts (43).  This topped the previous high of Ken Williams who had 39 homers and 37 steals in 1922.  Williams, Aaron, and Vince DiMaggio led their leagues 4 times.  In an oddity, two DiMaggio brothers — Vince of the Pirates and Dom of the Red Sox — tied for the lead in their respective leagues in the same season (1942).  Other brothers who show up in this tabulation are Roy and Bob Johnson.

The only player since 1920 to lead in homers and stolen bases in the same season was Chuck Klein of the Phils in 1932 (tied with the Giants’ Mel Ott in homers).  Although Mays led four times in homers and four times in steals, he never topped the NL in both the same season.  Bill Bruton beat him out of the theft crown by one in 1955.

Here are the players with the highest level of homers and steals since 1920.  An asterisk indicates the player who led his league or tied for the lead in one or the other category.   The lower figure is underlined.

Year

National League

HR

SB

 

American League

HR

SB

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1920

Cy Williams

15*

18

 

George Sisler

19

42

1921

Jack Fournier

16

20

 

Ken Williams

24

20

1922

Rogers Hornsby

42*

17

 

Ken Williams

39*

37

1923

George Kelly

16

14

 

Ken Williams

29

18

1924

George Grantham

12

21

 

Ken Williams

18

20

1925

Kiki Cuyler

17

41

 

Goose Goslin

18

26

1926

Billy Southworth

16

14

 

Tony Lazzeri

18

16

1927

Hack Wilson

30*

13

 

Tony Lazzeri

18

22

1928

Kiki Cuyler

17

37

 

Goose Goslin

17

16

1929

Babe Herman

21

21

 

Marty McManus

18

17

1930

Babe Herman

35

18

 

Goose Goslin

37

17

1931

Babe Herman

18

17

 

Ben Chapman

17

61*

 

 

 

 

 

Lou Gehrig

46*

17

1932

Chuck Klein

38*

20*

 

Roy Johnson

14

20

1933

Chuck Klein

28*

15

 

Tony Lazzeri

18

15

1934

Jack Rothrock

11

10

 

Bob Johnson

34

12

 

Arky Vaughan

12

10

 

 

 

 

1935

Augie Galan

12

22

 

Odell Hale

16

15

 

Ival Goodman

12

14

 

 

 

 

1936

Pepper Martin

11

23*

 

Frank Crosetti

15

18

 

 

 

 

 

Joe Kuhel

16

15

1937

Augie Galan

18

23*

 

Gerald Walker

18

23

1938

Vince DiMaggio

14

11

 

Chas. Gehringer

20

14

 

Ernie Koy

11

15

 

 

 

 

1939

Harry Lavagetto

10

14

 

Bob Johnson

23

15

 

 

 

 

 

Charlie Keller

15

18

1940

Terry Moore

17

18

 

Joe Gordon

20

18

1941

Vince DiMaggio

21

10

 

Jeff Heath

24

18

1942

Dolph Camilli

26

10

 

Dom DiMaggio

14

16

 

Pete Reiser

10

20*

 

Charlie Keller

26

14

 

Vince DiMaggio

15

10

 

 

 

 

1943

Vince DiMaggio

15

11

 

Bobby Doerr

16

8

 

 

 

 

 

Stan Spence

12

8

1944

Johnny Hopp

11

15

 

Geo.Metkovich

9

13

1945

Johnny Barrett

15

25

 

Geo.Stirnweiss

10

33*

 

Tommy Holmes

28*

15

 

 

 

 

1946

Buddy Blattner

11

12

 

Eddie Lake

8

15

 

Pete Reiser

11

34*

 

Mickey Vernon

8

14

1947

Jackie Robinson

12

29*

 

Eddie Lake

12

11

1948

Gene Hermanski

15

15

 

Al Zarilla

12

11

1949

PeeWee Reese

16

26

 

Larry Doby

24

10

 

Jackie Robinson

16

37*

 

S. Robertson

11

10

1950

Sam Jethroe

18

35*

 

Elmer Valo

10

12

1951

Earl Torgeson

24

20

 

Gil McDougald

14

14

1952

Jackie Robinson

19

24

 

Minnie Minoso

13

22*

1953

Duke Snider

42

16

 

Minnie Minoso

15

25*

1954

Wally Moon

12

18

 

Jackie Jeneen

25

22*

1955

Willie Mays

51*

24

 

Jackie Jensen

26

16

1956

Willie Mays

36

40*

 

Minnie Minoso

21

12

 

 

 

 

 

Jim Rivera

12

20

1957

Willie Mays

35

38*

 

Mickey Mantle

34

16

1958

Willie Mays

29

31*

 

Mickey Mantle

42*

18

1959

Willie Mays

34

27*

 

Mickey Mantle

31

21

1960

Willie Hays

29

25

 

Jimmy Piersall

18

18

1961

Frank Robinson

37

22

 

Jim Landis

22

19

1962

Vada Pinson

23

26

 

Ed Charles

17

28

 

 

 

 

 

Chuck Hinton

17

20

1963

Henry Aaron

44*

31

 

Ed Charles

15

15

 

 

 

 

 

Chuck Hinton

15

25

1964

Frank Robinson

29

23

 

Zoilo Versalles

20

14

 

 

 

 

 

Leon Wagner

31

14

1965

Henry Aaron

32

24

 

Zoilo Versalles

19

27

1966

Henry Aaron

44*

21

 

Tommy Agee

22

44

1967

Lou Brock

21

52*

 

Reggie Smith

15

16

1968

Henry Aaron

29

28

 

Roy White

17

20

1969

Bobby Bonds

32

45

 

Paul Blair

26

20

1970

Bobby Bonds

26

48

 

Tommy Harper

31

38

1971

Bobby Bonds

33

26

 

Reggie Jackson

32

16

1972

Bobby Bonds

26

44

 

Richie Allen

37*

19

1973

Bobby Bonds

39

43

 

Reggie Jackson

32*

22

 

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