Top 24 Single-Season Padres Home Run Leaders (Videos)

single-season padres home run leaders

Last Updated on May 16, 2024 by Matt Musico

When it comes to single-season Padres home run leaders, there have been just a handful of 40-homer seasons since 1969. At the moment, they all fit neatly into the top five of the franchise’s single-season leaderboard. It had been a while since the last time it occurred…until recently.

As we’ll see below, Fernando Tatis Jr.‘s 42 home runs in 2021 marked the first time a Padres player surpassed 40 since 2009. While it didn’t happen in 2022 (for multiple reasons), it’s not outrageous to think he’ll be all over this leaderboard within the next few years. Be sure to also see where these sluggers land on the Padres’ all-time home run leaderboard, as well.

Padres Home Run Leaders: Top 8

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Greg Vaughn: 50 Home Runs in 1998

Of Greg Vaughn‘s 355 career home runs, 136 came in three seasons. He enjoyed 40-homer efforts on each occasion, but his 1998 campaign for the NL champion Padres was the apex. This performance certainly flies under the radar because even though it was a single-season home run record for the Padres, he did it during a year in which two other guys — Sammy Sosa and Mark McGwire — both hit 60-plus.

However, Vaughn was awarded his only career Silver Slugger award and his third All-Star Game selection (out of four total). He finished fourth in NL MVP voting.

This record-setting performance was powered by a three-month tear between May and July. During this time, which spanned 350 plate appearances, the outfielder slashed .313/.400/.720 with 33 homers, 79 RBI, and 71 runs scored. That was all good for a 191 wRC+.

Fernando Tatís Jr.: 42 Home Runs in 2021

The 2021 campaign was Fernando Tatís Jr.‘s second straight year finishing in the top five of NL MVP voting, and he also brought home his second straight Silver Slugger Award. San Diego started strong as a squad, but its playoff chances faded with a tough second half, which was sort of how the young shortstop’s performance went, as well. He owned a 1.020 OPS with 28 home runs and 60 RBI before the All-Star break before watching his OPS drop to .916 during the final stretch.

His impact (or lack thereof) is a big part of the Padres’ success or failure. In 2021 wins, Tatís slashed .365/.458/.799 with 26 homers and 67 RBI. In losses, his line was .212/.277/.452 with 16 homers and 30 RBI. He was typically penciled into the one-, two-, or four-hole in the lineup, so having him wreak havoc at the top of the order was crucial for San Diego.

As you can imagine, this performance is a single-season franchise record for shortstops.

Phil Nevin: 41 Home Runs in 2001

Phil Nevin‘s power progression to this 41-homer barrage in 2001 is interesting. His first full season’s worth of plate appearances came in 1999 (441). He slugged 24 home runs with 85 RBI. The following year? Those numbers improved to 31 and 107, respectively. The year after that? They went up again to 41 and 126, respectively. That RBI total is among the best single-season performances in franchise history, too.

But after that point, which was Nevin’s age-30 campaign, he’d rack up just two more 20-homer performances over his final five seasons.

His most powerful two-month stretch in 2001 came in June and July when he slugged 18 homers with 51 RBI. Outside of that, he hit eight homers in September and didn’t hit more than six in the three other months of the season.

Ken Caminiti: 40 Home Runs in 1996

The 1996 season was a banner year for Ken Caminiti in many ways. He not only posted career-high marks virtually across the board, but he also won a Gold Glove, a Silver Slugger, and the NL MVP Award. In 639 plate appearances, Caminiti slashed .326/.408/.621 with 40 home runs and 130 RBI. He’d come close on a couple of other occasions, but this was the only year he’d finish with 30-plus dingers and at least 100 RBI.

The third baseman split his home runs right down the middle between home and away games, but he took things to another level in the second half.

After hitting .294/.371/.488 with 12 home runs and 48 RBI before the All-Star Game, those numbers jumped up significantly down the stretch to .360/.443/.760, 28, and 81, respectively. Each of Caminiti’s final three months included an OPS above 1.100. August stood out the most. His 1.271 OPS was the highest he produced in any month that year. The same could be said for the 14 homers he slugged and 38 RBI that were collected.

Adrián González: 40 Home Runs in 2009

After having a couple of cups of coffee with the Texas Rangers to begin his big-league career, Adrián González immediately became a power source for the Padres. His first full season came in 2006 when he slugged 24 home runs with 82 RBI. In the four seasons that followed, he never hit fewer than 30 dingers and finished with fewer than 100 RBI once.

Coincidentally enough, that non-100-RBI performance came when he hit a career-high number of homers, as he collected 99 RBI in 2009. Baseball, man.

González took advantage of certain opportunities to reach that magical number of 40. He slugged 28 of his dingers away from Petco Park, and 24 of them came before the All-Star break. But if we drill down a little more, April and May are what set him off on the path. He collected 20 homers and 40 RBI in that time.

Nate Colbert: 38 Home Runs in 1970 & 1972

For the time being, Nate Colbert is the Padres’ all-time home run king with 163 career dingers. He got there in just six seasons with San Diego (866 games played). All five of his 20-homer seasons came with the Padres. He surpassed the 30-homer plateau twice. As we can see, he slugged 38 dingers in both 1970 and 1972.

That ’72 campaign also resulted in 111 RBI (a career-high mark), an All-Star Game selection, and an eighth-place finish in NL MVP Award voting. July and August are what made this season a special one for Colbert. Across 55 games played, he slashed .293/.374/.664 with 22 homers and 51 RBI. The teams he hit the most home runs against in 1972 included the Atlanta Braves and New York Mets (six each).

Adrian Gonzalez: 36 Home Runs in 2008

The 2008 season was just part of a fun power progression throughout the beginning of Gonzalez’s MLB career. He hit one in 2004 and followed that with six in 2005, 24 in 2006, 30 in 2007, and 36 in 2008 (as you can see above, he finished it off with 40 in 2009). This particular campaign also included 119 RBI, which ended up being a single-season career-high mark for the left-handed slugger.

Petco Park has historically been a pitcher-friendly venue. Gonzalez did a good job of performing despite that, but he couldn’t exactly escape it in 2008. In 341 plate appearances at Petco, he produced a .788 OPS with 14 home runs and 49 RBI. Through 359 trips to the plate on the road, those numbers settled in at .946, 22, and 70, respectively. Gonzalez’s performance also spiked with runners on base. When the bases were empty, his OPS was .771, but it jumped 200 points to .973 when he was in the batter’s box with at least one base occupied.

Padres Home Run Leaders: The Rest

The Padres have watched a player slug at least 30 homers in a season on 24 different occasions. Here are the rest of those:

Check out the rest of San Diego’s single-season home run leaderboard on FanGraphs.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who holds the record for most home runs in a single season by a Padres player?

The Padres’ single-season home run king is Greg Vaughn. He hit 50 homers during the 1998 season for San Diego.

Which Padres player hit 40 or more home runs in a single season?

A Padres hitter has slugged at least 40 home runs in a season five times: Greg Vaughn (50 in 1998), Fernando Tatis Jr. (42 in 2021), Phil Nevin (41 in 2001), Ken Caminiti (40 in 1996), and Adrian Gonzalez (40 in 2009).

Who are the top five Padres players in home runs for a single season?

The five most powerful home run seasons in Padres history include Greg Vaughn (50 in 1998), Fernando Tatis Jr. (42 in 2021), Phil Nevin (41 in 2001), Ken Caminiti (40 in 1996), and Adrian Gonzalez (40 in 2009).

Has any Padres player ever led the MLB in home runs for a single season?

San Diego has watched one of its hitters lead the league in home runs twice: Greg Vaughn in 1998 (50 homers) and Fernando Tatis Jr. in 2021 (42 homers).

What was the single-season career-high mark for home runs by Tony Gwynn?

While Tony Gwynn is among San Diego’s all-time home run leaders, it mostly happened because he spent 20 years with the Padres. Mr. Padre enjoyed five double-digit home run seasons in his career. The best of all came in 1997 when he went deep 17 times. He was obviously a batting average merchant, winning seven batting titles and finishing his Hall of Fame career with a .338 average.

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