By JERRY TAPP
A trio of National League sluggers, Milwaukee’s Christian Yelich, the Dodgers’ Cody Bellinger, and New York Mets rookie Pete Alfonso each reached the 30-HR mark before this year’s All-Star break (Yelich has 31 HRs while the other two have 30). They became the 31st, 32nd and 33rd players to reach 30 home runs before the ASG in baseball history.
It was the first time since 1998 that three or more players had 30 or more home runs before the All-Star break. In 1998 it was Mark McGwire with 37, Ken Griffey, Jr. with 35, Sammy Sosa with 33 and Greg Vaughn with 30
Here are five stats you may not know about players who have reached the 30-HR mark before the All-Star break.
- There have now been 43 times in MLB history that a player had 30 or more home runs before the All-Star break. The quartet mentioned above who reached that mark in 1998 is the most players in a season. In addition to this year’s threesome, three players reached 30 HRs before the All-Star break in 1994 (Ken Griffey, Jr., Matt Williams and Frank Thomas) and 1969 (Reggie Jackson, Frank Howard and Willie McCovey).
- Mark McGwire tops the list with four seasons with 30 or more HRs before the All-Star break. Others who reached that 30-HR mark multiple times: Ken Griffey, Jr. and Babe Ruth (three times each) and Barry Bonds, Sammy Sosa and Willie Stargell (twice each).
- Of the 40 times a player reached 30 HRs before the All-Star Game (prior to this year’s group), 18 ended the season with 50 or more home runs. Two players reached 70 (McGwire 70 in 1998 and Bonds 73 in 2001), three reached 60-69 home runs and 13 ended the year with 50-59 homers. Eighteen players ended the year with 40-49 HRs and four players ended the year with less than 40 homers that season (Dave Kingman 37 in 1976 — he had 30 HRs at the break; Frank Thomas 38 in 1994 — he had 32 at the break; Jose Canseco 34 in 1999 — he had 31 at the break; and McGwire 32 in 2000 — he had 30 at the break).
- The 1990s had the most players with 30 HRs at the All-Star break with 12. The 2000’s had eight players and the 2010s seven players is next on the list. The other decades: 1920s-2, 1930s-2, 1940s-none, 1950s-1, 1960s-5, 1970s-4, 1980s-2.
- So, how many home runs will Yelich, Bellinger and Alfonso end the 2019 season with? The 40 times a player had 30 or more HRs at the All-Star break saw that player end the season with an average of an additional 18 home runs (18.07 to be exact). That puts this year’s trio ending the 2019 campaign with just under 50 for the season.
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