Yankees Single Season Home Run Leaders at Each Position

yankees single season home run leaders

Last Updated on October 4, 2023 by Matt Musico

If you’ve ever wondered who the Yankees single season home run leaders are 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. So, yes — that means Aaron Judge won’t be on this list because of his defensive versatility. Sorry, Aaron. We think he’ll be OK, though.

After you’re done checking this out, head over to the Yankees’ all-time and single-season home run leaderboards.

Want to see the Yankees slug dingers in person? Grab some tickets from our friends at Vivid Seats. And before you get to the stadium, make sure you’re decked out in the right gear. Get your official Yankees merch from the MLB Shop or our Babe Ruth-inspired printable wall art from our Etsy Shop.

Yankees Single Season Home Run Leaders

Catcher: Gary Sanchez, 34 Home Runs in 2019

Gary Sanchez burst onto the scene with the Yankees from 2016-17 before taking a step back in 2018. The end of his tenure in New York wasn’t great, but 2019 marked his second All-Star Game selection while setting the franchise record for homers in a season by a catcher. He posted a .841 OPS across 446 plate appearances that season. Between 2020 and 2022, Sanchez’s OPS settled in at .681 across 1,089 plate appearances.

The backstop started hot right out of the gate in ’19. By the end of May, he had 17 homers and enjoyed two straight months with an OPS better than .980. He posted an OPS above .875 just once over the final four months. He was also much happier playing at Yankee Stadium (19 homers, .972 OPS) than he was on the road (15 homers, .728 OPS).

Pitcher: Red Ruffing, 5 Home Runs in 1936

The 1936 season was significant for Red Ruffing because it was his first 20-win campaign. He paired that with a 3.85 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, and 102 strikeouts in 271 innings. This was actually the start of the three-year stretch where he accumulated at least 20 wins for the Yankees.

He was a pretty good hitter throughout his career, too. Ruffing hit 36 home runs during his time in the big leagues, which was accompanied by a .269/.306/.389 triple slash. Across 140 plate appearances in 1936, Ruffing added five doubles, 22 RBI, and a .291/.348/.447 line to go along with those five dingers.

First Base: Lou Gehrig, 49 Home Runs in 1934 & 1936

Yankees first baseman home run royalty, thy name is Lou Gehrig. The Iron Horse holds each of the top four spots on the franchise’s single-season positional home run leaderboard. What I find most fascinating is how similar his performances were in ’34 and ’36.

During the 1934 season, he slashed .363/.465/.706 with a 1.172 OPS, 49 home runs, 40 doubles, six triples, 166 RBI, and 210 total hits. He won the Triple Crown, yet finished fifth in MVP voting.

During the 1936 season, he slashed .354/.478/.696 with a 1.174 OPS, 49 home runs, 37 doubles, seven triples, 152 RBI, and 205 total hits. Gehrig led the league in homers and RBI on his way to winning a second MVP Award.

Second Base: Alfonso Soriano, 39 Home Runs in 2002

Alfonso Soriano finished third in AL Rookie of the Year voting in 2001, but his certified breakout came in 2002. The slugger nearly joined the 40-40 club with 39 homers and 41 steals. (Don’t worry, it happened eventually.) He also added in a .880 OPS, 51 doubles, 128 runs scored (led the league), and 209 hits (also led the league). Soriano finished third in AL MVP voting that year behind Miguel Tejada and Alex Rodriguez.

He immediately set the tone during the first month. Soriano finished March/April with five homers and six steals. He’d either match or exceed each of those totals in each of the final five months of the regular season.

Shortstop: Didi Gregorius, 27 Home Runs in 2018

The Yankees acquired Didi Gregorius ahead of the 2015 season. That year included nine homers in 578 plate appearances for the shortstop. That was a single-season career-high…until the rest of his Yankees career happened. Over his next four years, Sir Didi didn’t finish with fewer than 19 dingers. He slugged at least 20 between 2016 and 2018.

There were two instances where Gregorius did the majority of his work during the 2018 campaign. The first was playing at Yankee Stadium — 19 of his 27 homers came in the Bronx. He also started the year like a bat outta hell. By the end of April, Didi was slashing .327/.422/.735 with 10 homers and 30 RBI. He didn’t hit more than five in a month the rest of the way (and he only reached that number in September).

Third Base: Alex Rodriguez, 54 Home Runs in 2007

This performance from Alex Rodriguez was the most in a season by a Yankees right-handed hitter. Until Judge came along, of course. This was his third and final time surpassing the 50-homer mark, and it culminated with his third and final MVP Award (second with New York). A-Rod’s 54 homers, 156 RBI, and 143 runs scored all led the league.

Rodriguez was good at all points of the year. However, he turned on the afterburners at the beginning and the end. Through 106 plate appearances in April, he slashed .355/.415/.882 with 14 homers and 34 RBI. He didn’t enjoy another double-digit homer month until September/October. That included 10 homers and 31 RBI with a .362/.470/.723 line over his final 115 trips to the plate.

Yankees Single Season Home Run Leaders

Left Field: Babe Ruth, 59 Home Runs in 1921

Heading into the 1919 season, Babe Ruth had hit just 20 career homers. Once the dust settled in 1921, he was the proud owner of his second consecutive 50-homer performance. It was the fourth straight year he was MLB’s home run king, as well as the third straight time he was at the top of the leaderboard in both RBI and runs scored.

Ruth’s consistent dominance is just staggering to look at. He finished one month with an OPS below 1.230. That was in May when it settled in at a measly 1.154. The Sultan of Swat also had five homers through his first 12 games (all of which were in April). He never finished a month with fewer than 10 homers the rest of the way.

Center Field: Mickey Mantle, 54 Home Runs in 1961

Mickey Mantle may have lost the Home Run Chase of 1961, but he at least set a franchise home run record for center fielders, right? He led the league in homers four times and took home three MVP Awards during his Hall of Fame career. But thanks to the next dude on this list, neither of those honors happened during this particular season.

Mantle spent virtually all of his plate appearances as the Yankees’ clean-up hitter. But on a squad that won 109 games, he had plenty of opportunities to hit in the first inning. It was a situation he loved, too. Mick slashed .351/.419/.946 with 14 homers in the first frame. That helped him enjoy eight different multi-homer performances during the ’61 campaign.

Right Field: Roger Maris, 61 Home Runs in 1961

Roger Maris won the MVP Award in 1960, his first year with the Yankees. It included 39 homers and a league-leading 112 RBI. All he did for an encore was break MLB’s single-season home run record while once again leading the league in RBI (141) and winning his second straight MVP.

Maris hit seven home runs during the first inning of the game but really liked the third and fourth frames the most. The outfielder slugged 25 of his dingers during that period of the game. He also just tortured the Chicago White Sox, hitting .380/.429/1.014 against them with 13 homers and 26 RBI in 77 plate appearances.

Designated Hitter: Giancarlo Stanton, 35 Home Runs in 2021

Coming off his historic 59-homer campaign in 2017, Giancarlo Stanton began his Yankees career with 38 homers in 2018. He then combined to slug seven total dingers between 2019 and 2020 before getting back on track with these 35 taters in ’21.

Stanton hit 15 homers in front of the home fans in the Bronx. There was a substantial change in his OPS at home (.800) compared to on the road (.941), as well. Big G proved to be an equal-opportunity slugger when it came to the opposing pitcher, though. He slugged 18 dingers off starters and 17 when facing relievers.

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