The Oakland Athletics have moved around a couple of times since being established in 1901. Prior to landing in Oakland, the team also played in Philadelphia and Kansas City. Even though the organization has been around for that long, only two players have slugged more than 300 home runs among the Athletics all time home run leaders.
And until Mark McGwire took over as the A’s all-time home run leader, Jimmie Foxx held that honor and the franchise’s single-season home run record at the same time. As it currently stands, Foxx seems to be safely entrenched in second place here, and he still owns the season-long record. It’s actually the longest single-season home run record for any franchise.
Now, let’s get into the details of the top five before listing the top-20 home run hitters in Athletics history.
Athletics All Time Home Run Leaders: Top 5
Mark McGwire: 363 Home Runs
It’s safe to say that most of what McGwire is remembered for as a big leaguer happened during his years with the Cardinals. After all, his 70-homer barrage in 1998 and the 65 he hit in 1999 are still at the top of St. Louis’ single-season leaderboard.
But Big Mac actually spent the majority of his career in Oakland. And as anyone can imagine, his tenure was a powerful one.
McGwire enjoyed eight different seasons with 30-plus homers by the Bay. However, he saved some of his best work for last before leaving to play for St. Louis. In 1996, he slugged a league-leading 52 home runs. It was McGwire’s first of four straight seasons with at least 50 dingers. And before Oakland traded him in July of 1997, the first baseman collected 34 (!) homers in just 433 plate appearances. Talk about maximizing your trade value.
The two-month stretch McGwire experienced in June and July of 1996 was just insane, though. He hit 27 homers and collected 46 RBI during this span. His triple slash in each month was equally insane, too. In June, McGwire slashed .329/.513/.915. It’s hard to duplicate that kind of performance, but he nearly did just that. Through 98 July plate appearances, he hit .321/.459/.859.
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Jimmie Foxx: 302 Home Runs
Jimmie Foxx spent 11 years with the Athletics. However, his homer production was centralized over a much shorter period of time. He debuted in the big leagues as a 17-year-old in 1925. Foxx’s first four years included just 215 games and 664 plate appearances, with 118 of those games and 473 of those plate appearances coming in 1928. The right-handed slugger collected a total of 16 homers in those four years.
But from 1929-35, Foxx never hit fewer than 30 dingers. His final four years with the A’s before moving on to the Boston Red Sox were especially impressive. He led the league in homers three times and slugged more than 40 dingers three times. Foxx collected two MVPs in his final four years with the A’s. He also averaged 46 home runs, 144 RBI, and 128 runs scored while slashing .350/.457/.687.
To accurately put a player’s impact into proper perspective, I like seeing where they’re still taking residence on various leaderboards. When looking at who has hit the most home runs all-time, Foxx’s 534 career dingers still rank 19th in baseball history. The last time he suited up for a big-league game was in 1945. That’s baller.
Reggie Jackson: 269 Home Runs
Reggie Jackson played for more teams than McGwire did, but they share one similarity. Although they each played the majority of their respective careers in Oakland, the first thought many fans have of them is with another team. We already discussed that regarding Big Mac. For Jackson, the first thought for many fans is likely what he did for the New York Yankees in the 1977 World Series.
Despite that, just under 48% of Jackson’s 563 career homers came with the Athletics. He finished his career in Oakland during the 1987 season but also spent his first nine years as a big leaguer with the organization.
The 47 homers he slugged in 1969 ended up being a single-season career-high mark, which included a bunch before the All-Star break. Even though he didn’t get close to that number again, he slugged 20-plus homers in his first eight full seasons in the majors. His most powerful three-year stretch with the A’s came at the end between 1973 and 1975. Jackson hit at least 29 homers in each campaign and led the league in dingers twice (32 in ’73, 36 in ’75). He finished within the top five of MVP voting all three years and took home the hardware in ’73. In that MVP performance, his 117 RBI also led the league while he hit .293/.383/.531 in 629 plate appearances.
Jose Canseco: 254 Home Runs
Jose Canseco made quite an impact with the Athletics during the nine years he spent with the club. The most impactful part came in the late 1980s and early 1990s. He played a role in Oakland’s 1989 World Series title, along with taking home 1986 AL Rookie of the Year honors and 1988 AL MVP honors. That ’88 season was a little extra special, too. With 42 homers and 40 stolen bases, Canseco became the first player to ever post a 40-40 season.
Canseco’s last full season with the Athletics in 1991 was one of his best, as well. The 44 homers he hit led the league and ended up being the second-highest single-season total he’d produce in his career. The 122 RBI he collected were also his second-highest total ever. This was the fifth time since he debuted in 1985 that he had played in more than 100 games. It was also the fifth time he drove in at least 100 runs. Canseco reached the century mark in a single season just one other time the rest of his career (107 RBI in 1998 for the Blue Jays).
It’s hard not to love the symmetry in Canseco’s power numbers when looking at 1991 monthly stats. In April and May, he hit four homers each month. He slugged 10 in each of June and July, before hitting eight in August and then September. The outfielder even posted an identical 1.047 OPS in June and July. This performance led to him finishing in the top five of MVP voting for the final time (he placed fourth) while winning his third of four Silver Sluggers.
Bob Johnson: 252 Home Runs
Unlike the other four players ahead of him in these standings, Bob Johnson never enjoyed a 40-plus homer performance for the Athletics. He was quite consistent in the 10 years he spent with the organization, though.
He debuted in 1933, which was his age-27 season. That’s certainly on the later side, but he was clearly ready for the Show. Johnson slugged 21 homers with 93 RBI through 627 plate appearances as a rookie and never looked back. In his first nine big-league seasons, he never hit fewer than 20 dingers and compiled 90-plus RBI. In each of the final seven seasons of this streak, Johnson topped the century mark in the RBI category, too.
Johnson posted an OPS greater than .900 in six different seasons. The only time he strung more than one of those performances together came between 1936 and 1939 when he did it four years in a row. His averages during this time included a .312/.415/.546 line with 26 homers, 30 doubles, 10 triples, 114 RBI, and 103 runs scored.
Athletics All Time Home Run Leaders: Rest of the Top 20
Here are the players who make up the remainder of the top 20 on Oakland’s all-time home run leaderboard:
- Eric Chavez: 230 home runs
- Al Simmons: 209
- Jason Giambi: 198
- Sal Bando: 192
- Gus Zernial: 191
- Sam Chapman: 174
- Rickey Henderson: 167
- Khris Davis: 159
- Miguel Tejada: 156
- Dwayne Murphy: 153
- Matt Olson: 142
- Terry Steinbach: 132
- Matt Stairs: 122
- Gene Tenace: 121
- Eddie Joost: 116
- Joe Rudi: 116
Still interested in the sluggers that fall outside of the Athletics’ top 20? Then head over to FanGraphs to check it out.