Last Updated on June 13, 2023 by Matt Musico
There’s some interesting symmetry going on when taking a peek at who is among the Brewers home run leaders for a single season. Since the organization’s first season in 1969, they’ve watched nine 40-homer seasons happen. Within that, there have been three separate seasons of 41 homers and another three seasons of 45 home runs.
Also, the very top of the leaderboard is occupied by just three dudes. Let’s get into it.
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Brewers Home Run Leaders: Top 5
Prince Fielder: 50 Home Runs in 2007
Prince Fielder‘s 50-homer campaign was the start of a special run for him in a career that was cut way too short. This was the first of six straight years where he slugged at least 30 dingers, which he accomplished between his time with the Brewers and the Detroit Tigers. He won his first Silver Slugger award and was selected to his first All-Star Game in 2007, and this was also the first of two times he’d finish third in NL MVP voting.
Miller Park (sorry, that’s what it’s still to me in my heart) has typically been a haven for left-handed hitters. Fielder certainly took advantage of that, but it wasn’t overly lopsided. The first baseman posted a 1.088 OPS with 27 homers at home, along with a .942 OPS and 23 dingers on the road. He enjoyed three months with an OPS above 1.000, but May and September were a little better than the rest. In May, Fielder slashed .321/.397/.655 with 13 homers and 28 RBI, and he eventually followed that with a .333/.478/.733 line with 11 homers and 22 RBI to finish out the year in September.
Prince Fielder: 46 Home Runs in 2009
After a “ho-hum” year in 2008, where he slugged 34 homers with 102 RBI (I’m kidding, obviously), Fielder came back in 2009 with the final 40-homer season of his career while challenging his own franchise single-season home run record. Although he didn’t lead the league in dingers, his 141 RBI did as he posted his best single-season OPS (1.014) and finished fourth in MVP voting.
In this case, though, his power numbers were nearly identical at home and on the road. In Milwaukee, Fielder slugged 23 home runs with 70 RBI, and as a visiting player, he also slugged 23 home runs but accompanied it with 71 RBI. It was also unlikely that many expected him to finish with 40-plus homers after the month of April Fielder experienced. Once the calendar turned to May, he had just three homers with a .825 OPS in 22 games. It helps when August and September included 21 total homers, though (11 in August, 10 in September).
Gorman Thomas: 45 Home Runs in 1979
As we’ll see below, Gorman Thomas held on to the Brewers’ single-season home run record for quite a while despite a few close calls. You should also take a second to Google him because he had an excellent mustache that just signified baseball in the 1970s if you ask me. He played parts of five seasons with Milwaukee before his record-setting year in 1979, and the foreshadowing was the year prior. In 1978, Thomas accumulated more than 280 plate appearances for the first time in his career and it led to 32 home runs, which was his first of five 30-homer campaigns.
He technically had more homers in the first half than the second half, but Thomas definitely upped his power following the All-Star break. Prior to the midsummer classic, he slugged 23 homers with a .510 slugging percentage in 384 plate appearances. He received 100 fewer trips to the plate following the All-Star Game, but his slugging percentage went up to .577 and he collected another 22 homers. His final two months were nearly identical, too.
Thomas slashed .278/.378/.673 with 12 homers and 32 RBI in August, followed by a .280/.385/.624 line, nine home runs, and 21 RBI in September on his way to setting the Brewers’ center field home run record.
Richie Sexson: 45 Home Runs in 2003
I don’t know why, but I always forget how great of a power hitter Richie Sexson was during his MLB career. He spent 12 years in the big leagues and had six different 30-homer efforts. He surpassed the 40-homer plateau just twice, and we’ll be talking about both of them here.
He earned his second and final trip to the All-Star Game in 2003 and also finished 12th in NL MVP voting. That was one of just two times he finished in the top-15. Those 45 homers obviously tied the Brewers’ single-season record and it was a career-high mark for him, and his 124 RBI nearly matched what he did in 2001.
There really wasn’t one area where Sexson busted out to make this performance possible — he was consistent in many aspects. He hit 25 homers before the All-Star break and another 20 afterward. The slugger also hit 23 homers at home and 22 on the road. He didn’t hit more than nine dingers in a single month, but he started with that number in April and reached that number again in September. In between, Sexson hit seven homers on three different occasions, with June being the only month he didn’t (he hit six).
Richie Sexson: 45 Home Runs in 2001
Sexson joined the Brewers midway through the 2000 season and posted a .559 slugging percentage with 14 home runs in 257 plate appearances. Turns out it was just foreshadowing for the following year. He slashed .271/.342/.547 with those 45 homers and 125 RBI, both of which are single-season career-high marks. Unlike 2003, Sexson’s 2001 performance was a little more lopsided in some instances.
He posted a .923 OPS with 28 homers at home, while his OPS dropped to .857 with 18 homers on the road. It’s crazy to think he didn’t appear in the All-Star Game, but it’s because his first half wasn’t the best part of his season. He went into the midsummer respite with a .792 OPS and 18 home runs through 348 plate appearances. Over his final 319 trips to the plate, his OPS jumped up to .995 while hitting 27 home runs. He finished with a flourish, too — in September, Sexson hit 12 homers (his only double-digit month) and collected 32 RBI while slashing .324/.397/.694.
Brewers Home Run Leaders: The Rest
Here’s what the rest of the top-26 most powerful seasons in Brewers history looks like at the moment:
- Christian Yelich, 2019: 44 home runs
- Ryan Braun, 2012: 41
- Ben Oglivie, 1980: 41
- Chris Carter, 2016: 41
- Gorman Thomas, 1982: 39
- Prince Fielder, 2011: 38
- Jeromy Burnitz, 1998: 38
- Gorman Thomas, 1980: 38
- Ryan Braun, 2008: 37
- Christian Yelich, 2018: 36
- George Scott, 1975: 36
- Rowdy Tellez, 2022: 35
- Bill Hall, 2006: 35
- Jesus Aguilar, 2018: 35
- Mike Moustakas, 2019: 35
- Larry Hisle, 1978: 34
- Geoff Jenkins, 2000: 34
- John Jaha, 1996: 34
- Ben Oglivie, 1982: 34
- Jeromy Burnitz, 2001: 34
- Prince Fielder, 2008: 34
Interested in seeing where other single-season performances currently fall? Check out the rest of the details on FanGraphs.
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