If you’ve ever wondered which hitters own the Braves single season home run record at each position, then you’re in the right place. Outside of pitcher and designated hitter, each player had to qualify for the batting title. Each player also had to man their position for at least 75% of the season in question.
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Braves Single Season Home Run Record
Catcher: Javy Lopez, 2003: 43 Home Runs
Javy Lopez was a decent hitting catcher before his record-breaking season. Between 1992 and 2002, he slashed .281/.332/.478 in just over 1,000 big-league games. The power wasn’t always there, though. Lopez posted 20-plus homers four times, with just one of them going beyond 30.
He didn’t hit many homers after 2003, either. After slugging 43 in 129 games, Lopez slugged a combined 46 dingers over his final 347 MLB games, which spanned three seasons.
You wouldn’t have known he was on his way to history after the month of April. Lopez suited up for 19 games within the first month of the season and posted a .755 OPS with four homers and nine RBI. That was followed by 19 combined homers in May and June, as well as never producing a monthly OPS below 1.035 the rest of the way.
Pitcher: Jack Stivetts, 1894: 8 Home Runs
Jack Stivetts played the entirety of his 11-year MLB career in the 19th century. It spanned from 1889 to 1899. He tossed 2,887.2 innings as a big leaguer, which led to a 203-132 record and 3.74 ERA. Stivetts hit seven homers in a season in both 1890 and 1891 before slugging eight in 1894.
He owned a career .783 OPS, and 1894 was one of two seasons that number surpassed .900. Across 263 plate appearances, Stivetts slashed .328/.369/.533 with those eight homers, 64 RBI, and 55 runs scored. He also added 12 doubles and seven triples to his ledger along the way.
First Base: Andres Galarraga, 1998: 44 Home Runs
Technically, Hank Aaron‘s 1971 campaign of 47 homers is the most in one season by a Braves first baseman. However, he only played just over 50% of his games at the position. Between that and him showing up elsewhere on this list, I decided to give the nod to Andres Galarraga since he played the majority of his season at first base.
His 44 homers was the fifth and final time Galarraga slugged 30-plus in the big leagues. It was also the third time he got above 40. On both occasions, these efforts came consecutively. Between 1996 and 1998 (two years with the Rockies, one with Atlanta), the Big Cat averaged 44 home runs, 137 RBI, and 115 runs scored while slashing .309/.381/.594.
His home OPS (.992) and road OPS (.990) were nearly identical, but Galarraga’s power numbers were very different. Of those 44 homers, 28 came on the road and just 16 happened at home in Atlanta. Despite hitting just two in September, the first baseman slugged at least nine dingers in a month three times (10 in April, nine in May, nine in August).
Second Base: Davey Johnson, 1973: 43 Home Runs
For the longest time, Davey Johnson‘s 1973 performance was the standard for second basemen when it came to power. That is, until Marcus Semien broke the record in 2021 with the Toronto Blue Jays. This campaign from Johnson sticks out because it was the only time he slugged more than 20 in a season during his 13-year career. The next-closest single-season homer number he posted was 18 in 1971 for the Baltimore Orioles.
Johnson had already set a single-season career-high mark with 23 homers at the ’73 All-Star break. He accomplished that with a .487 slugging percentage. But he just went berserk upon returning from the midsummer respite. Johnson added another 20 despite 153 fewer plate appearances. It was powered by a .651 slugging percentage.
The second baseman had just seven homers by the end of May. He’d slug no fewer than six in a month the rest of the way. August was easily his best month. It included a .330/.422/.761 line with 12 homers and 23 RBI in just 102 plate appearances.
Shortstop: Dansby Swanson, 2021: 27 Home Runs
The local kid got it done. Dansby Swanson had produced double-digit homers each season between 2018 and 2020. But, his final two years with the Braves hit another level from a power perspective. It included consecutive performances of 25-plus homers, with 2021 being the obvious high-water mark.
Swanson spent the majority of his season hitting in either the fifth of sixth spot of Atlanta’s lineup. He slugged 22 of his homers in these situations, with 13 of them coming as a six-hole hitter. His production was quite even throughout the course of a game, too. The shortstop slugged 10 homers between innings 1-3, nine between innings 4-6, and eight between innings 7-9.
Third Base: Eddie Mathews, 1953: 47 Home Runs
Eddie Mathews, like Aaron, is littered all over the Braves’ single-season home run leaderboard. So, it would’ve been shocking if he didn’t end up on this list somewhere. Mathews posted 10 seasons of 30-plus homers during his career, with four going for more than 40. He led baseball in dingers twice, but none of his performances topped 1953, which was his second big-league season.
He was a much better hitter on the road than at home during this campaign. In front of the home crowd, Mathews slashed .258/.377/.520 with 17 homers and 53 RBI in 333 plate appearances. But in 348 trips to the plate as a visiting player, he hit .343/.434/.727 with 30 homers and 82 RBI.
Mathews hit at least six homers in a month five times (he slugged four in September). His most productive two-month span came in July and August. He combined to hit 21 total homers and reached double digits on both occasions (10 in July, 11 in August).
Braves Single Season Home Run Record
Left Field: Hank Aaron, 1973: 40 Home Runs
And here’s Hammerin’ Hank. It was only a matter of time, folks. The 1973 campaign was the eighth (!) and final time Aaron slugged at least 40 homers in a season. It was impressive for a couple of reasons. One was the fact that this was his age-39 campaign. The other was that Aaron needed just 120 games (465 plate appearances) to reach that number.
This explains how he still finished 12th in MVP voting at the end of the year.
Aaron never slugged more than eight homers in a month, but as usual, he found a way to stay consistent. he never finished below five dingers, which he did twice (April, August). Aaron also slugged seven homers (June, September) and eight homers (May, July) twice each.
While his homer production in wins (22) and losses (18) looked quite even, it was clear that the key to beating the Braves was keeping Aaron in check. When Atlanta was victorious, the outfielder posted a 1.230 OPS, as opposed to an .896 mark in losses.
Center Field: Andruw Jones, 2005: 51 Home Runs
This performance from Andrew Jones is not just the single-season franchise record. It’s also the only time a Braves hitter has surpassed the half-century mark (for now). This was the last of Jones’ power peak. He slugged 30-plus homers five times between 1998 and 2003. However, this league-leading number in 2005 was followed by another 41 homers in 2006.
Jones slugged 434 homers across 17 big-league seasons. About 21% of them came from 2005-06.
The center fielder had just three homers on the year upon waking up on May 1st. But from then to the end of the regular season, he didn’t hit fewer than seven in a month. This included two double-digit months: June (13) and August (11).
It’s interesting to note that the vast majority of Jones’ homers didn’t come until later in games. He slugged just nine through innings 1-3. That number jumped to 23 in innings 4-6 and finished at 17 in innings 7-9. Obviously, this equals 49 dingers, meaning two others came in extra innings.
Right Field: Dale Murphy (1987) & Hank Aaron (lots of times): 44 Home Runs
Dale Murphy‘s 44-homer barrage came right in the middle of a nine-year streak of hitting at least 20 homers in a season. He led the league in dingers twice (1984-85), but this was the only time he got himself over 40 as a big leaguer.
Murphy hit just three homers in April and four in July, but made up for lost time in other months. He slugged 21 between May (11) and June (10), as well as 16 between August (eight) and September (eight).
As for Aaron, is it a coincidence that 44 was the most common number of homers he landed at in a single year? After all, he had to match his uniform number. The right-handed slugger finished with 44 dingers in 1957, 1963, 1966, and 1969. The first time Aaron did it, he was 23 years old. He was 35 years old the last time he did it. How about that for consistency and longevity?
Designated Hitter: Marcell Ozuna, 2020: 14 Home Runs
Marcell Ozuna‘s performance gets an extra distinction since he did it in the pandemic-shortened 2020 season. He finished with an NL-leading 18 home runs overall, as well as a league-leading 56 RBI. Ozuna slashed .338/.431/.636 across 267 plate appearances, earning a Silver Slugger and finishing sixth in NL MVP voting.
Ozuna had slugged eight homers over the first month-plus of the shortened regular season, but it was September where he made most of his money. In just 123 plate appearances, the outfielder/DH slashed .394/.488/.750 with 10 homers and 33 RBI.