Worst of the Best, Part VII: Most Home Runs, Fewest Runs, RBIs
Someone submitted a question in response to one of my Worst of the Best series articles about the players to have hit the most home runs while driven in the fewest. Here is such an article:
Fewest Runs Scored by a Player to Hit 60 or More HRs in a Season. Sammy Sosa in 1999: 63 HRs, 114 runs scored. Slammin’ Sammy scored only 51 times when not hitting a home run despite getting on base 195 times excluding his home runs.
Fewest RBIs by Player to Hit 60 or More HRs in a Season. Barry Bonds in 2001: 73 HRs, 137 RBIs. Those who remember when Barry Bonds was on the juice and hitting like no other hitter has ever hit at the major league level probably also recall that pitchers (and their managers) simply wouldn’t pitch to Bonds with men on base. Instead, they walked him over and over again. Bonds set the single season walks record three times in four seasons, eventually surpassing the Babe‘s old record of 170 by 62 walks.
Fewest Runs Scored by a Player to Hit 50 or More HRs in a Season. Mark McGwire in 1997: 58 HRs, 86 runs scored. Ah, the heady days when steroids ran rampant through the professional game — they certainly didn’t make the over-muscled big bombers any faster. McGwire scored only 28 runs that year when not hitting a home run despite 90 other hits and 101 walks.
Fewest RBIs by a Player to Hit 50 or More HRs in a Season. Brady Anderson in 1996: 50 HRs, 110 RBIs. A lead-off type hitter who suddenly muscled up, almost certainly with illegal chemical help, to blast 50 home runs one year. Anderson never hit more than 24 HRs in any other season of his 15 year major league career.
Fewest Runs Scored by a Player to Hit 40 or More HRs in a Season. Matt Williams in 1994: 43 HRs, 74 runs scored. 1994, of course, was a strike year when teams played only about 110 to 115 games. Williams was on a pace to hit 62 HRs that year when the strike killed the season.
Honorable mention. Juan Gonzalez in 1992: 43 HRs, 77 runs scored; and Frank Howard in 1968: 44 HRs, 79 runs scored. Juan Gone didn’t get on base much when he wasn’t blasting the ball out of the park, while Hondo was the only bright spot on a pretty awful hitting Senators’ team.
Fewest RBIs by a Player to Hit 40 or More HRs in a Season. Barry Bonds in 2003: 45 HRs, 90 RBIs, and Ken Griffey, Jr. in 1994: 40 HRs, 90 RBIs. See above regarding Bonds, and Junior set his record in the 1994 strike year like Matt Williams above.
The most HRs in a season by a player who failed to drive in 100 runs appears to be Alfonso Soriano in 2006 when he blasted 46 HRs and drove in only 95 for the Washington Nationals who mostly used him as a top-of-the-order hitter that year.