Anthony McCarron, SNY.tv | Twitter |
When both Aaron Judge and Brett Gardner recently predicted this year's Yankees would break the big-league mark for team home runs set by last year's Yanks, it got us thinking:
Where do these record homer-bashing clubs end up in October? Does owning that prestigious standard all but guarantee a parade that season?
Not exactly, as we saw with the 2018 Yankees.
But there is precedent for record clubs winning it all and even securing a spot among baseball's all-time best teams. Heck, homers are the pinnacle result of a single at-bat. So if your team hits a bunch of them, fantastic.
Still, of the 13 clubs to break the team homer record since 1900, only three went on to win the World Series that same year, according to information compiled by Major League Baseball. One other club set the mark and then lost in the Fall Classic.
The last three teams to establish the record - the 1996 Orioles, the 1997 Mariners and '18 Yanks - all failed in the playoffs, meaning the 1961 Yankees, led by Mickey Mantle and Roger Maris, are the last team to set the homer record and win it all in the same year.
But, if the 2019 Yankees can pull off this doubleheader, they'd have a place in rare company. In MLB history, only the 1927 Yankees, the 1936 Yankees, and the '61 Yanks have both set the team home run record and won the World Series.
|Team Home Run Leaders in MLB History|
|2018 Yankees -- 267|
|1997 Mariner -- 264|
|1996 Orioles -- 257|
|1961 Yankees -- 240|
|1947 Giants -- 221|
|1936 Yankees -- 182|
|1932 Athletics -- 172|
|1930 Cubs -- 171|
|1927 Yankees -- 158|
|1921 Yankees -- 134|
|1920 Yankees -- 120|
|1913 Phillies -- 73|
|1911 Phillies -- 60|
Those aren't just three of the greatest teams in Yankee history - they're three of the finest clubs in big-league lore. The 1927 "Murderer's Row" Yankees won 110 games, the 1936 club was 102-51 and the "M&M Boys" helped the '61 Yanks to 109 victories. The 1921 Yankees, led by Babe Ruth, broke the homer record set by the previous year's Yanks and reached the World Series, but lost to the New York Giants.
Other record-setting teams didn't get that far. The 1911 Phillies smacked 60 homers, beating the previous mark by 12, but finished only six games above .500 at 79-73. The 1947 New York Giants hit 221 home runs to shatter the '36 Yanks record of 182, but went 81-73.
But each of the 13 teams to set the record, not surprisingly, was a winning club. In fact, the teams combined for a .604 winning percentage, which translates to just shy of 98 wins over at 162-game schedule.
None of it, of course, forecasts anything concrete for this year's Yankees. But it's fun to think about how many home runs they might hit this year. Judge and Gardner certainly have a case in thinking the Yankees have a shot at the record of 267. After all, Giancarlo Stanton led the '18 Yanks with just 38 homers, and both he and Judge could easily eclipse that mark this year - both have 50-homer seasons on their resumes.
No other Yankee hit more than 27 homers last year. Gary Sanchez figures to rebound from an 18-homer nightmare season, and Greg Bird or Luke Voit could provide big power along with Gleyber Torres and Miguel Andujar.
Twelve Yankees hit at least 10 homers, an MLB record. And the club was the darling of MLB's Statcast, pounding 124 hits with an exit velocity of 110 miles per hour or better, most in the bigs.
As Judge told reporters last weekend in Florida: "You get this whole team healthy, we're going to crush the record that we set last year. We've got a good team, a lot of guys that could make a lot of solid contact, and a lot of big boys that when they make contact, man, it goes. We're a team that's primed and ready to do that."
The Yankees lost to the Red Sox in the division series in four games last year. Both teams hit the same number of home runs in the series - four - and the Red Sox have been roundly praised for their clutch hitting since going on to win the World Series.
Homers are great and can help win tons of ballgames. But they're no championship guarantee, especially in an unpredictable playoff era where title dreams can be derailed in a short series.
Sometimes, though, as evidenced by the big Yankee clubs in 1927, 1936 and 1961, home runs can launch a team into the baseball stratosphere.