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Some Old Home Run Records Never Die
2005-09-13 18:40
by Mike Carminati

Bert Blyleven may have had the best curveball since Candy Cummings picked up a clam shell, but there's a funny thing about curveballs. They sometimes hang. And hanging curveballs oftentimes get deposited in the gloves of your local Jeffrey Maiers.

Oddly, Blyleven didn't have much trouble with the long ball until relatively late in his career, but he made up for it with a vengeance. Ay age 35, after 16 major-league seasons, Blyleven had never given up more than 24 homers in a season, but in 1986, in the midst of the mid-Eighties power surge that presaged the current, twelve-year one, Blyleven let up a record 50 home runs. That's a lot of hanging curves.

Blyleven broke the 30-year-old record of 46 set by Robin Roberts. Then in the next season, he tied the old record. His 1986-87 arc reminds me of Mark McGwire's record-breaking 70-homer season in 1998 followed by his 65-homer 1999 season.

However, Blyleven has yet to find a pitcher play the Barry Bonds to his McGwire. With all the homers hit in the last twelve years, the closest any pitcher has come to Rik Aalbert Blyleven's all-time record is 48 in 2000 by the Astros Jose Lima. Lima was 7-16 with a 6.65 ERA (26% worse than the park-adjusted league average) that year. But Blyleven was 17-14 with a 4.01 ERA (8% better than the park-adjusted league average).

This year, Eric Milton is doing his best to catch my old buddy Bert by relinquishing 39 dingers en route to a Lima-like 7-14, 6.63 record. Milton projects to 44 home runs allowed should he continue in the Reds rotation and the Reds continue to field a team this year, neither of which is a given. It is highly doubtful that he'll catch Blyleven, but 44 would tie him for fifth all-time

Here are all the pitchers who have served up 40 or more tatters in a season:

Bert Blyleven198650
Jose Lima200048
Robin Roberts195646
Bert Blyleven198746
Jamie Moyer200444
Eric Milton200443
Pedro Ramos195743
Denny McLain196642
Rick Helling199941
Phil Niekro197941
Robin Roberts195541
Jack Morris198640
Bill Gullickson198740
Orlando Pena196440
Ramon Ortiz200240
Robin Roberts195740
Fergie Jenkins197940
Brad Radke199640
Phil Niekro197040
Ralph Terry196240
Shawn Boskie199640

Milton has established a team record for homers served. The old Reds record was 36 set by Tom Browning in 1988.

Oddly, as I mentioned in the previous article, 15 of 26 teams have established new single-season home-run records for batters since the current homer boom started in 1993 (plus four new records for four new teams), but only 11 of 26 teams have set new home runs allowed records for pitchers since 1993.

Here are all the team records for homers allowed today and as of 1993:

FranchiseActive?FirstLastHR LdrHrYrPre-1993 HR LdrHrYr
Anaheim AngelsY19612004Shawn Boskie401996Don Sutton381987
Anaheim AngelsY19612004Ramon Ortiz402002
Arizona DiamondbacksY19982004Brian Anderson391998
Atlanta BravesY18762004Phil Niekro411979Phil Niekro411979
Baltimore OriolesY19012004Scott McGregor351986Scott McGregor351986
Baltimore OriolesY19012004Robin Roberts351963Robin Roberts351963
Baltimore OriolesY19012004Sidney Ponson351999
Boston Red SoxY19012004Tim Wakefield381996Earl Wilson371964
Chicago CubsY18762004Warren Hacker381955Warren Hacker381955
Chicago White SoxY19012004Floyd Bannister381987Floyd Bannister381987
Cincinnati RedsY18822004Eric Milton392005Tom Browning361988
Cleveland IndiansY19012004Luis Tiant371969Luis Tiant371969
Colorado RockiesY19932004Pedro Astacio391998
Detroit TigersY19012004Denny McLain421966Denny McLain421966
Florida MarlinsY19932004Livan Hernandez371998
Houston AstrosY19622004Jose Lima482000Larry Dierker311970
Kansas City RoyalsY19692004Darrell May382004Dennis Leonard331979
Los Angeles DodgersY18842004Don Sutton381970Don Sutton381970
Milwaukee BrewersY19692004Wayne Franklin362003Mike Caldwell351983
Minnesota TwinsY19012004Bert Blyleven501986Bert Blyleven501986
New York MetsY19622004Roger Craig351962Roger Craig351962
New York YankeesY19012004Ralph Terry401962Ralph Terry401962
Oakland AthleticsY19012004Orlando Pena401964Orlando Pena401964
Philadelphia PhilliesY18832004Robin Roberts461956Robin Roberts461956
Pittsburgh PiratesY18822004Murry Dickson321951Murry Dickson321951
San Diego PadresY19692004Kevin Jarvis372001Ed Whitson361987
San Diego PadresY19692004Bobby Jones372001
San Francisco GiantsY18832004Larry Jansen361949Larry Jansen361949
Seattle MarinersY19772004Jamie Moyer442004Scott Bankhead351987
St. Louis CardinalsY18822004Murry Dickson391948Murry Dickson391948
Tampa Bay Devil RaysY19982004Tanyon Sturtze332002
Texas RangersY19612004Rick Helling411999Fergie Jenkins401979
Toronto Blue JaysY19772004Woody Williams361998Jerry Garvin331977
Washington NationalsY19692004Javier Vazquez311998Bill Gullickson271984
Carl Morton271970
Steve Renko271970
2005-09-13 18:51:39
1.   Mike Carminati
By the by, Milton served up number 40 tonight to Derrek Lee.

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