Being on any MLB home run leaderboard is an honor, but it’s a little different when done in the Bronx. When it comes to Yankees all time home run leaders, the top five is a real tough club to enter.
Of the sluggers within that group, the one who played in an MLB game most recently is Mickey Mantle. He last played in a big-league game in…1968. So, yea, it’s been a while. However, the second half of the top-10 is littered with Yankees hitters from the organization’s most recent dynasty in the late 1990s and early 2000s. We’ll first spend time talking about the top five in detail before listing out the remainder of the top 30.
Yankees All Time Home Run Leaders: Top 5
Babe Ruth: 659 Home Runs
When detailing the all-time home run leaders at each position, I just assumed Babe Ruth would make an appearance. I mean, he’s still third all-time in home runs overall. Ruth also played the majority of his games in the outfield, so my thought is he’d stick at one position long enough to be the leader. I was surprised to find out that wasn’t the case. After I was done being shocked, I realized he was an equal opportunity slugger wherever he played on the diamond.
In 20 games played at first base, Ruth slugged five home runs. He added another 23 in 56 games as a center fielder, as well as seven dingers while pitching. The Great Bambino essentially split his playing time in left field (896 games) and right field (1,062) down the middle. He hit 287 homers as a left fielder and 327 as a right fielder. In case you were wondering, he posted a slugging percentage better than .700 in each scenario, too.
This is just another way of saying that Ruth was cut from a different cloth. Even though Roger Maris holds the Yankees’ single-season home run record, Ruth takes up the majority of space. That shouldn’t be surprising at all.
Mickey Mantle: 536 Home Runs
Mickey Mantle played in at least 100 games for the Yankees 16 times in his 18 big-league seasons. But still, he’s one of those “What could’ve been?” scenarios because he played hurt so often. If he was fully healthy even for a couple of more years than he was, he’d be pushing 600 career dingers. Despite that, his 536 home runs are the most all-time for switch hitters. Mantle accumulated twice as many plate appearances as a left-handed hitter than a right-handed hitter. His career homers reflect that (372 as a lefty and 163 as a righty), but he slugged better than .540 in each situation.
The Commerce Comet accomplished quite a bit during his Hall of Fame career. He appeared in 20 All-Star Games, won three MVP awards, and was part of seven World Series-winning teams. In fact, his 18 postseason home runs (all in the Fall Classic) are still among the most all-time.
Mantle’s first MVP season in 1953 was a little extra special because it included a Triple Crown. He led the league with a .353 average to go along with 52 home runs and 130 RBI. The outfielder also led the league in runs scored (132), slugging percentage (.705), OPS (1.169), and total bases (376). He was good all year during this campaign, but Mantle set himself up for a historic performance within the first two months. Through May 31st that year, he had already slashed .414/.505/.860 with 20 home runs and 50 RBI. And, no — that’s not a typo. Just unreal.
Lou Gehrig: 493 Home Runs
Although he played a large portion of his career in the shadow of Ruth, Lou Gehrig found a way to become a legend in his own right. After all, someone had to protect the Sultan of Swat in the lineup, right? If it wasn’t for his ALS diagnosis, who knows how much longer he could’ve played (and dominated). He retired in 1939, but just the year prior, he produced a .932 OPS with 29 home runs and 114 RBI.
The consistent dominance he showed throughout his career was remarkable. From 1927-38, he hit at least 20 home runs with 100-plus RBI each year. If we look strictly at the 11-year stretch between 1927 and 1937, he was in another stratosphere. This period consisted of 1,695 games and 7,707 plate appearances. Gehrig slashed .350/.459/.659 while averaging 39 home runs, 154 RBI, and 141 runs scored. He averaged that! This is how a ballplayer gets himself on the verge of 2,000 RBI in fewer than 20 years (he had 1,995 career RBI, to be exact).
Gehrig led the league in both homers and RBI on two different occasions. The first time was in 1931 when he slugged 46 dingers with a whopping 185 RBI. He collected 42 RBI through the end of May, but it’s what he did the rest of the way that’ll make your jaw drop. The first baseman posted four consecutive 30-plus RBI months to finish the year. His best was in July when he drove in 41 while slugging 11 dingers.
Joe DiMaggio: 361 Home Runs
Joe DiMaggio was a ridiculously good hitter during his Hall of Fame career. However, we were robbed of exactly how good he could’ve been because three years of his prime were taken from him due to serving in World War II. Through his first seven seasons, DiMaggio slashed .339/.403/.607 while averaging 31 home runs with 133 RBI. That was through his age-27 season. Over his final six seasons (beginning with his age-31 campaign), those numbers were .304/.392/.540, 24, and 101, respectively.
Those are still numbers any ballplayer would love to have. But still, can you imagine what he could’ve accomplished if he didn’t lose those years of his career? Phew, boy.
His most powerful season in the big leagues came in his age-22 campaign. In 1937, he slashed .346/.412/.673 with career-high marks in homers (46) and RBI (167). Crazy enough, he did that despite accumulating just one plate appearance in April. His best month of the season was in July. Through 139 plate appearances, DiMaggio slashed .430/.504/.984 with 15 home runs and 42 RBI.
Yogi Berra: 358 Home Runs
When it comes to listing out Yogi Berra‘s career accomplishments, you only need to mention three things. The Hall of Famer was an 18-time All-Star, was part of 10 World Series-winning teams, and took home three MVP awards. He’s also fifth on the Yankees’ all-time home run leaderboard without ever having hit more than 30 home runs in a season.
Berra hit exactly 30 twice in his career (1952 and 1956). Other than that, it was his yearly consistency that got him to where he eventually landed. After hitting two homers in seven games as a rookie in 1946, the backstop rattled off 16 straight seasons with at least 10 homers. On 11 of those occasions, Berra slugged at least 20 dingers.
Between 1950 and 1956, Berra pulled off something we’re familiar with Mike Trout doing. During this seven-year stretch, he finished within the top three of MVP voting six times. The one time he didn’t? He finished fourth, which happened in 1952. While manning a physically taxing position like catcher, he averaged 27 home runs with 108 RBI and 93 runs scored during this time.
Yankees All Time Home Run Leaders: The Rest
The rest of the Yankees’ top-30 career home run leaders looks like this:
- Alex Rodriguez: 351 home runs
- Bernie Williams: 287
- Jorge Posada: 275
- Derek Jeter: 260
- Graig Nettles: 250
- Don Mattingly: 222
- Aaron Judge: 217 (…and counting)
- Jason Giambi: 209
- Mark Teixeira: 206
- Dave Winfield: 205
- Robinson Cano: 204
- Roger Maris: 203
- Bill Dickey: 202
- Tino Martinez: 192
- Paul O’Neill: 185
- Charlie Keller: 184
- Tommy Henrich: 183
- Bobby Murcer: 175
- Tony Lazzeri: 169
- Joe Pepitone: 166
- Bill Skowron: 165
- Elston Howard: 161
- Roy White: 160
- Hank Bauer: 158
- Joe Gordon: 153
Who is on the outside and looking in at this leaderboard? Check out the rest of FanGraphs.