Last Updated on August 30, 2023 by Matt Musico
You can tell the Reds all time home run leaders are a bit different from many other teams because a catcher is currently at the top — and a Hall of Fame one, at that. How much longer will Johnny Bench be the franchise’s home run king? We’ll soon see if the active player who recently passed Frank Robinson for second all-time has enough juice left to keep going for the top spot.
We’ll detail the top five below before listing out the remainder of the top 25. After you’re done looking at all the details, check out the Reds’ single-season home run leaderboard.
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Reds All Time Home Run Leaders: Top 5
Johnny Bench: 389 Home Runs
Johnny Bench is among the team-specific all-time home run leaders (for now), and he truly revolutionized the catcher position. Similar to how Cal Ripken Jr. showed that shortstops could be big-time offensive contributors, that’s exactly what Bench did during his Hall of Fame career.
He owned the career and single-season home run records for catchers before Mike Piazza broke the career mark in 2004 and Salvador Perez broke the single-season mark while playing for the Royals in 2021. He at least still has the franchise’s single-season catcher record. Bench spent the entirety of his 17-year career in Cincinnati, and boy did he rack up some stats. The two-time MVP won 10 Gold Gloves, appeared in 14 All-Star Games, and won two World Series titles.
The backstop enjoyed 11 seasons of 20-plus home runs, with four of them being 30-plus and two of those ending in 40-plus. He led the league in dingers twice (45 in 1970 and 40 in 1972). It’s interesting that he could never put those 30-plus homer campaigns together in consecutive seasons. Bench did come close with two 40-homer campaigns over a three-year stretch. While adding in 27 homers and 61 RBI in 1971, he ended up averaging 37 dingers and 111 RBI with a .267/.342/.519 line over the course of 1,937 plate appearances from 1970-72.
Joey Votto: 355 Home Runs (…and counting)
Joey Votto. Still. Bangs.
He slugged 36 home runs and drive in 99 RBI as recently as 2021, making it the third time he surpassed the 30-homer plateau. It wouldn’t have been possible without a red-hot tear in the second half, though. Prior to the All-Star break, the first baseman had hit 11 homers in 248 plate appearances. Following the midsummer classic, he slugged 25 homers in just 285 trips to the plate. July was the month where most of the damage happened — he slashed .319/.440/.734 with 11 dingers and 25 RBI. In the three months prior to this stretch, he slugged just 10 homers with 34 RBI in about double the plate appearances.
Votto has never led the league in home runs but has enjoyed nine seasons of at least 20 dingers. At the moment, he’s guaranteed to be with the organization through 2023 (there’s a team option for 2024). Overtaking Bench will be difficult, but he can at least further cement his second-place spot on this list in franchise history.
Frank Robinson: 324 Home Runs
Frank Robinson’s 586 career dingers are still among the most home runs of all time, and it wouldn’t have been possible without a powerful 10-year run with the Reds to start his career. His MVP performance in 1966 with the Orioles also played a role, as his 49 homers that year were good for a single-season career-high mark. However, his power was more consistently elite before the Reds traded him to Baltimore.
Seven of his 10 seasons in Cincy ended with at least 30 home runs, and there was only one time he finished with fewer than 29 in a season (he hit 21 in 140 games during the 1963 campaign). His tenure with the organization included five straight years with 31-plus dingers between 1958 and 1962. Robinson finished in the top 20 of MVP voting each year. This also included three top-10 finishes and actually winning the award in 1961.
This period spanned 3,148 plate appearances, and he made the most of those trips to the batter’s box. Robinson slashed .309/.395/.584 during this time while averaging 35 homers, 34 doubles, five triples, 110 RBI, and 107 runs scored.
Tony Pérez: 287 Home Runs
Tony Pérez was one of those guys who seemingly played forever. His MLB career spanned 23 seasons, and although he played for four different teams, the majority of his time came with the Reds. He spent 16 years overall with the franchise. This included the first 13 years of his career, followed by the final three after stops with the Montreal Expos, Boston Red Sox, and Philadelphia Phillies.
Pérez enjoyed eight different seasons of 20-plus homers for the Reds, but the obvious peak came in 1969 and 1970 when he hit 37 and 40 homers, respectively. Let’s take a closer peek at this 1970 season, which was easily the best of his career.
Not only did Pérez set single-season career-high marks in homers (40) and RBI (129), the same could be said for his batting average (.317), on-base percentage (.401), and slugging percentage (.589). He also placed third in NL MVP voting, which was the best he’d ever finish. Although the infielder stepped to the plate more in the first half (387) than in the second half (294), he clearly did the majority of his work to start the year. That can be evidenced by his slugging percentage (.678 vs. .477) and home runs (29 vs. 11) between these two periods.
He was rather consistent through the first three months. In April, May, and June, Pérez slugged at least eight homers and drove in 20-plus runs. Over the final three months, he did that just once (he hit eight homers with 24 RBI in August) and slugged just one dinger in September.
Adam Dunn: 270 Home Runs
Adam Dunn enjoyed six seasons of 40-plus homers, and the majority of them came with Cincinnati. He’s made an appearance on the Reds’ single-season home run leaderboard, and one of my favorite things about Dunn’s career is what he did between 2004 and 2008.
Five of his 40-homer campaigns came during this period, and check out how similar his homer and RBI numbers were during this time:
- 2004: 46 homers, 102 RBI
- 2005: 40 homers, 101 RBI
- 2006: 40 homers, 92 RBI
- 2007: 40 homers, 106 RBI
- 2008: 40 homers, 100 RBI
Now that’s what you call consistent! Dunn’s second-best single-season OPS with a full year’s worth of plate appearances came in 2007 when that number checked in at .940. The left-handed slugger hit 24 of his 40 home runs prior to the All-Star break, but he took things to another level after the midsummer classic. Following a .905 OPS performance in the first half, that number jumped up to .985 in the second half.
He never hit double-digit homers in a month during this particular campaign, but his best overall month was August. It included a 1.064 OPS with nine homers and 25 RBI.
Reds All Time Home Run Leaders: The Rest
Here’s what the remainder of the Reds’ top-25 career home run leaders looks like:
- Ted Kluszewski: 251 home runs
- George Foster: 244
- Jay Bruce: 233
- Ken Griffey Jr.: 210
- Eric Davis: 203
- Barry Larkin: 198
- Brandon Phillips: 191
- Eugenio Suarez: 189
- Vada Pinson: 186
- Wally Post: 172
- Gus Bell: 160
- Pete Rose: 152
- Lee May: 147
- Dan Driessen: 133
- Reggie Sanders: 125
- Ernie Lombardi: 120
- Sean Casey: 118
- Frank McCormick: 110
- Todd Frazier: 108
For the sluggers on the outside looking in at this list, check out the details on FanGraphs.
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