More home runs than walks, in a season and in a career

By: Andy

Last Updated:

Usually, a player that hits a lot of home runs also walks a lot. Especially in years gone by, when the intentional walk was more commonly used, opposing teams tended to like walking sluggers when first base was open. But, before the modern era, where on-base percentage reigns supreme as an offensive measure, walks were often overlooked (or undervalued) as contributions to run scoring.

So here are the leaders for most homers in a season with more homers than walks.

Rk             Player HR BB Year  Tm  AB 2B 3B RBI  SO   BA  OBP  SLG     Pos
1        Andre  Dawson 49 32 1987 CHC 621 24  2 137 103 .287 .328 .568    *9/H
2        Dave  Kingman 48 45 1979 CHC 532 19  5 115 131 .288 .343 .613    *7/H
3    Andres  Galarraga 47 40 1996 COL 626 39  3 150 157 .304 .357 .601   *3/H5
4       Juan  Gonzalez 47 45 1996 TEX 541 33  2 144  82 .314 .368 .643     *9D
5         George  Bell 47 39 1987 TOR 610 32  4 134  75 .308 .352 .605 *7/DH45
6      Vinny  Castilla 46 40 1998 COL 645 28  4 144  89 .319 .362 .589    *5/6
7       Juan  Gonzalez 46 37 1993 TEX 536 33  1 118  99 .310 .368 .632   *7D/H
8      Orlando  Cepeda 46 39 1961 SFG 585 28  4 142  91 .311 .362 .609  *379/H
9          Javy  Lopez 43 33 2003 ATL 457 29  3 109  90 .328 .378 .687   *2H/D
10      Matt  Williams 43 33 1994 SFG 445 16  3  96  87 .267 .319 .607    *5/H
11      Juan  Gonzalez 43 35 1992 TEX 584 24  2 109 143 .260 .304 .529 *87/HD9
12         Tony  Armas 43 32 1984 BOS 639 29  5 123 156 .268 .300 .531   *8D/9

That Andre Dawson season from 1987 is remarkable. He famously won MVP for a last place team, and was followed most often in batting order by Keith Moreland, Leon Durham (not to be confused with Lena Dunham), and Jerry Mumphrey–all decent players but not the kind of protection you’d like for your best power hitter. (Side note: late in the year, Dawson was often preceded or followed in the lineup by a rookie named Rafael Palmeiro.)

[the_ad id=”8832″]We see a couple seasons on there from guys who played at Coors Field–unsurprising that extra balls went over the fence. And then there’s Juan Gonzalez, who makes this list 3 times. For most players, they got here with one flukey year where they hit a lot of bombs and walked rarely. But Gonzalez never walked more than 51 times in a season and finished with just barely more walks than homers (457 walks, 434 home runs).

So what about guys who did actually finish their career with more walks? This is pretty rare–even a player like Gonzalez couldn’t sustain this type of “performance” over an entire career. Here are the guys with the most career home┬áruns with more homers than walks:

Rk                Player HR BB From   To   AB 2B 3B  SO   BA  OBP  SLG      Pos
1            Todd  Greene 71 67 1996 2006 1573 82  3 332 .252 .286 .444 *2H/D397
2         Bill  Schroeder 61 58 1983 1990 1262 49  1 343 .240 .281 .426   *2/3DH
3        Jonathan  Schoop 57 44 2013 2016 1389 73  1 340 .251 .283 .428    *4/5H
4        Carlos  Zambrano 24 10 2001 2012  693 26  3 240 .238 .248 .388     *1/H
5             Ryon  Healy 13 12 2016 2016  269 20  0  60 .305 .337 .524      /*5
6          Alex  Guerrero 11  7 2014 2015  232  9  1  63 .224 .251 .414   /*H75D
7         Tony  Cloninger 11  9 1961 1972  621 16  2 161 .192 .205 .277     *1/H
8    Fernando  Valenzuela 10  8 1980 1997  936 26  1 145 .200 .205 .262  *1/H379
9            Luis  Medina 10  9 1988 1991  150  1  0  60 .207 .261 .413  /*D3H97
10          J.R.  Richard 10  4 1971 1980  552 10  3 181 .168 .176 .252     *1/H

Right away we see that these are mostly crappy offensive players. We’ve got journeyman catchers and pitchers making up more than half this group–and that makes sense. Sure Carlos Zambrano hit a lot of bombs–24 homers in 693 career at-bats is damned impressive. But since he slugged .388 he was at little risk of hitting many other extra-base knocks so there was no reason to intentionally walk him (plus he was always followed by the leadoff batter, a guy who probably had a .400 OBP.)

Luis Medina is another unsurprising player. He was regarded as a prospect with major power, and he hit a few dingers in his brief time in the majors but couldn’t do much else–only 1 double and no triples, and just 9 walks to go with his 10 round-trippers.

 

Much to my chagrin, it turns out I hoarded these Rated Rookie cards of Medina for no good reason!

Featured Image: 1990 Donruss Baseball #33