The Baltimore Orioles have been around for a long time. Since 1901, to be exact. During that time, they’ve watched some great players don the orange and black for the organization, including a number of Hall of Famers. However, the Orioles single-season home run leaders have changed quite a bit since the turn of the century. See who’s made it onto the list and who has been pushed aside below.
You can also check out the organization’s all-time home run leaders here.
Orioles Single Season Home Run Leaders: Top 5
Chris Davis: 53 Home Runs in 2013
I can just see it now — in 20 years, baseball fans will be looking at some of the most powerful seasons in Orioles history and think, “Chris Davis?!? I thought he was terrible!” Well friends, before everything went south, he was one of the game’s most feared sluggers for a short period of time.
If his 33-homer, 85-RBI performance in 2012 was the breakout, then 2013 was his peak. Davis posted a 1.004 OPS while leading baseball in home runs (53), RBI (138), and total bases (370), along with being the proud owner of a 168 wRC+ and 7.1 fWAR.
Davis hit 37 of his home runs prior to the All-Star break, with 22 of them coming in the months of May and June alone. He also just tore up right-handed pitching to the tune of a .316/.415/.728 line with 40 homers and 93 RBI in just 434 plate appearances.
Brady Anderson: 50 Home Runs in 1996
Thanks to when he accomplished this feat, Brady Anderson‘s 50-homer campaign will always raise eyebrows. I mean, how can it not, right? Outside of this performance, he enjoyed just two other seasons of 20-plus homers and never hit more than 24 in a season. In the two years before 1996, Anderson hit 28 dingers in 1,182 plate appearances. In the two years after 1996, he combined for 36 dingers in 1,270 plate appearances.
The 6.9 fWAR (nice) he produced during this year was the best of his career, but Anderson did put together other solid seasons, as he had three other seasons with at least 3.0 fWAR. No matter how you slice it, though, 1996 is the clear outlier and it doesn’t make a ton of sense. What’s even more interesting — and confusing — is that he didn’t even really take advantage of the hitter-friendly conditions at Camden Yards! Anderson hit 19 homers at home and 31 on the road.
Frank Robinson: 49 Home Runs in 1966
After 10 stellar seasons with the Cincinnati Reds, Frank Robinson landed with the Orioles in 1966 for his age-30 campaign. He was apparently a fan of making good first impressions because once the season was done, he was the AL MVP and won a Triple Crown thanks to a .316 average, 49 home runs, and 122 RBI. He also led the league in on-base percentage (.410), slugging percentage (.637), and obviously, OPS (1.047).
This was the only time in his career that Robinson would take home the single-season home run crown, and it was the start of a six-year tenure in Baltimore that was just as good as what he did in Cincy. The Hall of Famer slashed .300/.401/.543 with the Orioles, which was similar to what he did with the Reds (.303/.389/.554). He also added five different seasons with at least 20 homers, with three of them including more than 30 round-trippers.
This powerful portion of his career enabled Robinson to still have the 10th-most home runs all time in MLB history.
Chris Davis: 47 Home Runs in 2015
Entering 2015, Davis had a streak of three straight years with at least 20 home runs, including two campaigns of 30-plus. But 2014 was a down year for the slugger (before he had worse years, that is) — his OPS dipped 300 (!) points to .704 while slugging 26 home runs and collecting 72 RBI. It jumped all the way back up to .923 the following year with his league-leading 47 dingers, as well as 117 RBI and 100 runs scored.
Unlike his 2013 performance, Davis switched things around by having a slower start followed by a strong finish. He entered the All-Star break with a .787 OPS, 19 home runs, and 52 RBI, but came back and posted a 1.078 OPS with 28 home runs and 65 RBI in the second half. He did that in 34 fewer plate appearances, too.
Between the two seasons we’ve highlighted here, Davis combined for 100 home runs. That accounts for just under 34.0% of the 295 home runs he hit during his 13-year MLB career.
Mark Trumbo: 47 Home Runs in 2016
We’ve talked about this already, but the Orioles had the pleasure of watching one of their players capture the single-season home run crown multiple times in recent years. Mark Trumbo marked the fourth straight year an Oriole earned those honors since 2013. Coincidentally enough, Trumbo accomplished this feat the year after Davis did it for the second time, and he hit the exact same number of home runs in the process. Baseball is a funny game like that.
Trumbo was known for having decent pop at the plate before this performance — he enjoyed consecutive 30-homer seasons in 2012 and 2013 for the Los Angeles Angels. However, this year definitely sticks out. If we combine his home runs from 2015 and 2017 together, it’s just 45 dingers. Trumbo’s first-half production (.923 OPS) and second-half production (.754 OPS) are quite stark, but it’s interesting that 17 of his 47 homers came in the final two months of the season. August was his most powerful of all, which included 10 dingers.
Orioles Single Season Home Run Leaders: The Rest
Jim Gentile (46 in 1961), Rafael Palmeiro (43 in 1998, 39 in 1995 and 1996), Nelson Cruz (40 in 2014), Ken Williams (39 in 1922), and Boog Powell (39 in 1964) also produced seasons worthy of being on this list. If you’re looking for players beyond the top 10, check them out here, courtesy of FanGraphs.