We already know that David Ortiz is the single-season home run king for the Boston Red Sox. Did he take the top spot among Red Sox all time home run leaders?
Not quite, but he was close. Check out what the standings look like at the moment below. We’ll first detail the top five before listing out the remainder of the top 23.
Red Sox All Time Home Run Leaders: Top 5
Ted Williams: 521 Home Runs
If he wanted to, Ted Williams could’ve hit .300 with his eyes closed. That wasn’t necessary, of course, so he kept his eyes open and slashed .344/.482/.634 over his 19-year career instead. To put that in perspective, his .344 career average is the 10th-highest in MLB history.
One of my favorite Teddy Ballgame stats out there includes an overview of his professional career in the 1940s. I stay general when saying “professional career” because he spent time both playing for the Red Sox and fighting in World War II. Look at what this man did:
Ted Williams in the 1940s:
1940 – led AL/NL in runs and OBP
1941 – .406
1942 – Triple Crown
1943 – WWII
1944 – WWII
1945 – WWII
1946 – AL MVP
1947 – Triple Crown
1948 – Batting Title
1949 – AL MVP
— Austin J. Eich (@Eich_AJ) February 21, 2022
You can’t script something much better than that. It’s mind-boggling to think about every time I see it. Just simply amazing…or splendid, as Austin mentioned above.
Sure, nobody actually kept track of fWAR — or knew what it was, for that matter — during Williams’ playing career, but his career mark of 130.4 is among the most in baseball history. In thinking about his on-field performance in the 1940s, that’s where he did most of his damage in this department. He posted at least 5.0 fWAR in a single season 13 different times. However, the Splendid Splinter posted four consecutive performances of at least 10.0 fWAR in the ’40s. And, since his career was interrupted by military service, those occurrences came in 1941, 1942, 1946, and 1947.
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David Ortiz: 483 Home Runs
David Ortiz accomplished quite a bit during his big-league career, and as of January 2022, he can now add “first-ballot Hall of Famer” to an already-long resume. Big Papi enjoyed 14 different seasons with at least 20 homers as a member of the Red Sox, with 10 of them including at least 30 dingers.
What I really enjoy seeing when I take a gander at his Baseball-Reference page is the homer progression he went on during the early portion of his career. He reached double digits for the first time in 2000 with 10 home runs. That was followed by 18 in 2001 and then 20 in 2002. Then came his breakout in Boston with 31 in 2003 and 41 in 2004. He then got it up to 47 in 2005 before breaking the single-season franchise record in 2006 with 54 round-trippers.
Just as impressive was the end of his career — Ortiz had 30-plus homers and 100-plus RBI in each of his final four seasons (his age-37 to age-40 campaigns).
Carl Yastrzemski: 452 Home Runs
Carl Yastrzemski spent all 23 years of his MLB career with the Red Sox, and he made sure to rack up the stats as much as possible. He enjoyed eight seasons of at least 20 homers, and his power peak was very obvious. He was already an above-average player by the time 1967 rolled around, but that particular campaign put him on the map.
Between 1965 and 1966, Yaz hit a combined 36 homers in 1,251 plate appearances. In 1967, he led the league with 44 in 680 plate appearances. He also led the league in RBI (121) and batting average (.326), among other things, en route to winning AL MVP honors and the Triple Crown.
After slugging another 23 dingers in 1968, Yaz posted consecutive seasons of 40 homers in ’69 and ’70. So, about 27% of his total homers came in about 13% of his actual career.
Jim Rice: 382 Home Runs
Similar to Williams and Yastrzemski, Jim Rice is another former MVP who spent his entire career with the Red Sox. And, similar to Williams, Yaz, and Ortiz, Rice is also a Hall of Famer. Talk about a star-studded leaderboard, right?
During his 16 years in the league, Rice enjoyed four seasons of 30-plus homers and eight seasons of 100-plus RBI. His power peak came early, as he posted three straight seasons with at least 39 homers during his mid-20s from 1977-79. He led the league in homers in ’77 (39) and ’78 (46), with that second year being a single-season franchise record for left fielders. His average production during this three-year span was as follows: .320/.376/.596 with 41 homers, 31 doubles, 12 triples, 128 RBI, and 114 runs scored. Phew.
Dwight Evans: 379 Home Runs
Dwight Evans joins Ortiz as someone who spent nearly all of his career with the Red Sox. Evans spent all but the last year of his time as a big leaguer — his age-39 campaign — with Boston. When looking at Evans’ stats, it’s interesting to see how he grew into his power over the years, which makes sense because he was in the majors by the time he was 20 years old.
Consistency was the key for him to get where he is on Boston’s all-time home run leaderboard — he slugged double-digit dingers in 18 of his 20 MLB seasons. However, he only hit 20-plus twice in his first nine years. Over his final 11 seasons, he surpassed the 20-homer plateau nine times. That included three campaigns of 30-plus homers, as well.
Red Sox All Time Home Run Leaders: The Rest
Here’s what the rest of Boston’s top-23 career home run leaders looks like:
- Manny Ramirez: 274 home runs
- Mo Vaughn: 230
- Bobby Doerr: 223
- Jimmie Foxx: 222
- Rico Petrocelli: 210
- Jason Varitek: 193
- Nomar Garciaparra: 178
- Jackie Jensen: 170
- Carlton Fisk: 162
- Tony Conigliaro: 162
- Xander Bogaerts: 156
- George Scott: 154
- Reggie Smith: 149
- Dustin Pedroia: 140
- Mookie Betts: 139
- Rafael Devers: 139 (…and counting)
- Kevin Youkilis: 133
- Trot Nixon: 133
Check out which current players are currently on the outside looking in by viewing the full list on FanGraphs.
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