Last Updated on September 28, 2023 by Matt Musico
The Philadelphia Phillies have been around a long time, and with all that opportunity, they’ve watched 14 different seasons of 40-plus home runs happen by a player wearing their uniform. When looking at single-season Phillies home run leaders, there’s been a lot of repeat offenders over the years. But in 2022, a new dude has thrown his hat into the ring.
Let’s dig into some of the details, shall we?
Phillies Home Run Leaders: Top 6
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Ryan Howard: 58 Home Runs in 2006
The drop in production from Ryan Howard was a sharp one toward the end of his career, but what he accomplished at the beginning more than made up for it all. As if hitting 22 homers in 88 games as a rookie and winning Rookie of the Year honors wasn’t enough, he broke the Phillies’ single-season home run record in his first full campaign with these 58 dingers. Oh, and he took home NL MVP honors in the process.
One would imagine he took advantage of the dimensions at Citizens Bank Park, and while he did, he was an equal-opportunity slugger. Howard posted a 1.078 OPS with 29 homers and 75 RBI at home, compared to a 1.089 OPS with 29 homers and 74 RBI on the road. What’s also interesting is how much he elevated his game in the second half. Prior to the All-Star Game, Howard was hitting .279/.341/.582 with 28 home runs and 71 RBI. He slugged 30 homers with 78 RBI in the same number of plate appearances, but his line skyrocketed to .355/.509/.751.
Mike Schmidt: 48 Home Runs in 1980
Mike Schmidt is the Phillies’ all-time home run leader, and until Howard came along, he held both that and the single-season record. Yea, this guy was pretty dang good, and his age-30 season included him leading the league in dingers and RBI (121), as well as bringing home his first NL MVP award (he’d win it again in 1981 and 1986).
He had just slugged 45 homers with 114 RBI the year prior, but he surpassed these marks in 1980 in fewer plate appearances, watching his slugging percentage go from .564 to .624.
Through the first four months of Schmidt’s season, he posted an OPS greater than 1.000 just once (it was in May — 1.189 with 12 homers and 29 RBI). So, naturally, he did it in consecutive months to finish out the season in August and September. Over his final 280 plate appearances, his OPS was up at 1.069 and was accompanied by a .450 wOBA and 188 wRC+. His most powerful month of the year came in September/October, as he slugged 13 homers in 145 trips to the plate.
Ryan Howard: 48 Home Runs in 2008
At this rate, Howard’s .881 OPS had decreased for the second consecutive year after his MVP season in 2006, but he found other ways to make an impact. He led the league in both homers and RBI (146) for the second time in three years and finished second in MVP voting to Albert Pujols. He did also end up winning a World Series later, so that seems like a solid trade-off.
Howard’s year actually started out very slow in April. Through his first 118 plate appearances, he had just five homers and 12 RBI while posting a .640 OPS. This was the beginning of a pattern for the first baseman where he’d post a month with an OPS greater than .900, followed by another month with an OPS below .800. In the months he was good, Howard collected at least 10 homers and 25 RBI, which happened in May, July, and September. That final month was his best work, which included his highest monthly totals for homers (11) and RBI (32), as well as his best OPS (1.274).
Jim Thome: 47 Home Runs in 2003
Jim Thome finds his way on this list while also being heavily featured on the Guardians‘ single-season home run leaderboard. His 47-homer campaign was his first with the Phillies after spending the duration of his career prior to that season in Cleveland. It was actually his third straight season of 40-plus homers, a streak that would reach four when he did it again in 2004.
The majority of Thome’s plate appearances came prior to the All-Star break, so it’s not surprising that the majority of his homers (28, to be exact) came during that time. His overall offensive performance was much better, though, as evidenced by his 1.059 OPS, which went down to .868 in the second half.
Thome hit more than eight homers in a month just once, and it came in June. He made it count by hitting 15 dingers with 31 RBI while slashing .306/.430/.816.
Ryan Howard: 47 Home Runs in 2007
Three straight years with at least 47 homers? It happened for Howard — talk about dominance. As we’ll see below, he hit another 45 in 2009, making it four straight years with at least that many dingers to start his career. Once again, the left-handed slugger started slow-ish out of the gate for the Phillies…at least, he did in the power department.
Once the calendar flipped to June, Howard had hit just nine homers. That was a number he’d surpass in three of the four months that followed. He hit 10 home runs in each of June and July and finished with a flourish by slugging 11 in September. Howard was a true monster with runners in scoring position, posting a .282/.456/.653 line with 18 homers and 91 RBI in that situation.
Kyle Schwarber: 46 Home Runs in 2022
When Kyle Schwarber signed with the Phillies, many people wondered what kind of home run production they’d see from the slugger. After all, he’d be playing half his games in a hitter-friendly Citizens Bank Park.
The answer to that question? Lots and lots of homers. Among the most in a single season in Phillies history, to be exact. While Aaron Judge finished head-and-shoulders ahead of everyone in the home run department for 2022, Schwarber is the National League King and Phillies leader. He’s already set a new career-high mark, and the question now is just where he’s going to land before the season finishes up.
Even with calling The Bank his home park, Schwarber has hit 24 of his 45 homers (as of 10/3/22) on the road. He’s also hit 29 before the All-Star break, nearly joining a group of sluggers to hit at least 30 before the midsummer classic.
Schwarber put himself in this position thanks to a torrid June and July. Entering June 1st, he had 11 homers to his name. He went on to slug 22 over the next two months (12 in June, 10 in July). After a lull in August (three homers in 103 plate appearances), Schwarber got hot again, slugging 10 homers from September 1st to the end of the regular season.
He also added an incredible 488-foot home run in the postseason that we’re all still in awe of.
Phillies Home Run Leaders: The Rest
Here’s what the remainder of the top 30 looks like for Phillies single-season home run leaders:
- Kyle Schwarber, 2023: 46 home runs (…and counting)
- Mike Schmidt, 1979: 45
- Ryan Howard, 2009: 45
- Chuck Klein, 1929: 43
- Jim Thome, 2004: 42
- Cy Williams, 1923: 41
- Dick Allen, 1966: 40
- Mike Schmidt, 1983: 40
- Chuck Klein, 1930: 40
- Greg Luzinski, 1977: 39
- Mike Schmidt, 1975-77: 38
- Chuck Klein, 1932: 38
- Mike Schmidt, 1986: 37
- Pat Burrell, 2002: 37
- Mike Schmidt, 1974 and 1984: 36
- Jayson Werth, 2009: 36
- Mike Schmidt, 1982 and 1987: 35
- Bryce Harper, 2019 and 2021: 35
- Greg Luzinski, 1978: 35
To check out the rest of the Phillies sluggers who have finished behind this group, here’s the full list on FanGraphs.
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