Last Updated on September 18, 2023 by Matt Musico
If you’ve ever wondered what the Twins single season home run record is at each position, then you’re in the right place. Outside of pitcher, each player had to man their position for at least 100 games (or 75% of games played) for the season in question.
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Twins Single Season Home Run Record
Catcher: Mitch Garver, 31 Home Runs in 2019
There’s still time for things to change for Mitch Garver. But as it currently stands, his 2019 campaign is easily the most powerful. Entering 2023, he’s produced three double-digit home run seasons since his debut. These 31 dingers are obviously his career high. The next-best, though, was 13 in 2021.
He really went off from a power perspective in the second half, too. Garver hit 18 home runs after the 2019 All-Star break, which is more than any other season of his MLB career. Through the first three months of the year, he never hit more than five. Over the last three months, he didn’t hit fewer than five.
Pitcher: Five-Way Tie at 3 Home Runs
We’ve got a good old-fashioned five-way tie at the top of the Twins’ pitcher home run leaderboard. And thanks to the Universal Designated Hitter, this tie will stand in perpetuity. The five hurlers all taking a spot at the top include Walter Johnson (1914), Jim Shaw (1919), Bob Porterfield (1953), Pedro Ramos (1961), and Jim Kaat (1964).
First Base: Harmon Killebrew, 46 Home Runs in 1961
Harmon Killebrew has completely dominated our single-season and all-time Twins home run leaderboard blog posts. That domination will continue here, as this will be the first of three times we mention him. Yes — he really did move around the diamond enough to capture three positional franchise home run records.
The 1961 season wasn’t one of the six times Killebrew led the league in homers, but he took these honors instead. It was the second time he crested over the 40-homer plateau, a number he’d surpass a total of eight (!) times across his 22-year career. What’s impressive here is Killebrew played in only five April games and hit one homer before the calendar flipped to May.
Then, he rattled off three straight months of double-digit homers between May and July. Across 376 plate appearances, the first baseman slashed .311/.426/.670 with 31 homers, 11 doubles, four triples, and 80 RBI during that time.
Second Base: Brian Dozier, 42 Home Runs in 2016
Leading up to his 2016 performance, Brian Dozier was one of the game’s more underrated players. After all, he represented Minnesota at the 2015 All-Star Game and received down-ballot AL MVP votes. But then, he embarked on the most powerful two-year stretch of his career. It included consecutive seasons of 30-plus homers, but nothing was quite like what he accomplished in 2016.
What always amazes me is his second-half power binge. Heading into the midsummer respite, Dozier had 14 home runs with a .786 OPS. But in the second half, he slugged another 28 dingers with a .990 OPS.
His production in August and September specifically sticks out. Across 262 plate appearances, Dozier slugged 23 homers and 13 doubles with 45 RBI. This includes seven homers in a five-game stretch from September 2nd to 5th.
Shortstop: Roy Smalley, 24 Home Runs in 1979
Roy Smalley posted three seasons of 20-plus homers during his 13-year MLB career. His first one was this 24-homer output in 1979. It was also his most powerful. This particular performance included a 16th-place finish in MVP voting and his only All-Star Game selection.
It was a tale of two situations for Smalley during the ’79 season. He loved hitting at home, where he slugged 19 homers and posted a .985 OPS. The shortstop hated playing on the road, evidenced by his five homers and .606 OPS. The same could be said about his first-half and second-half performances (15 homers, and .959 OPS to five homers and a .589 OPS).
Third Base: Harmon Killebrew, 49 Home Runs in 1969
The 1969 season was a special one for Killebrew. Sure, he led the league in homers (49) and RBI (140), but he also captured the only MVP Award of his career. Before taking home this honor, he finished in the top 15 eight times, including four finishes within the top five.
While 20 of Killebrew’s homers came with the bases empty, he relished an opportunity to drive a teammate in. With nobody on base, the slugger slashed .234/.373/.458. When there was at least one runner on the basepaths, his triple slash jumped to .324/.486/.731 with 29 homers and 120 RBI.
Twins Single Season Home Run Record
Left Field: Harmon Killebrew, 49 Home Runs in 1964
There goes that man again. This is the last time we’ll be talking about him. In this article. For today.
The 1964 season was Killebrew’s four straight campaign with at least 45 home runs. It was also the third consecutive year in which he led the league in dingers. He did the majority of his work before the All-Star break. In 327 plate appearances, the left fielder posted a 1.021 OPS with 30 homers and 64 RBI. He registered another 355 plate appearances following the midsummer classic. His numbers settled in at .837, 19, and 47, respectively.
Center Field: Max Kepler, 36 Home Runs in 2019
Entering 2023, Max Kepler‘s 2019 performance is easily the best of his career. His progression to that point was quite linear, too. He didn’t hit any homers during his cup of coffee in 2015. That number shot up to 17 in 2016, 19 in 2017, and 20 in 2018 before this 36-homer campaign.
Kepler didn’t hit a single homer during his final 11 games in September. But before that, he was quite consistent. The left-handed hitter didn’t enjoy a double-digit month of homers, but he never hit fewer than five or more than nine.
What’s crazy is that only 11 of his dingers came with men on base, while 25 were of the solo variety.
Right Field: Bob Allison, 35 Home Runs in 1963
Bob Allison had a powerful start to his MLB career. His first full campaign came in 1959. Between that season and 1964, he slugged at least 29 homers five times, including three with 30-plus.
Similar to Kepler’s 2019 season, Allison’s month-to-month homer production was consistent. Even more so than his fellow outfielder. He hit between five and seven homers each month, hitting five three times, seven dingers twice, and six round-trippers once.
Allison hit 22 of his homers against starting pitchers, with the majority of them coming in his first two plate appearances. In his first matchup against a starter, he slugged six homers with a .779 OPS. Those numbers shot up to 12 and 1.165, respectively, in his second plate appearance.
Designated Hitter: Nelson Cruz, 41 Home Runs in 2019
The 2019 season was toward the end of a ridiculous late-career power surge from Nelson Cruz. Between 2015 and 2021, the right-handed slugger produced seven years of 30-plus homers, with four of those surpassing 40. This period also included five top-10 finishes in AL MVP voting, as well as four Silver Slugger Awards.
If we strictly look at his home run numbers, it’s easy to see that the majority of his yardwork came in the second half (16 before the All-Star break, 25 after the break). However, he was on another level from June to the end of the regular season. Cruz posted an OPS better than 1.000 in each of the final four months.
That’s when he collected 34 of his homers and 86 of his 108 RBI, all while slashing .326/.407/.689 in 377 plate appearances.
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