Andruw Jones is One of the Greatest Yankees Home Run Hitters Ever--Sort Of

Andruw Jones: After this weekend, he has a reason to look satisfied. (Kim Klement-US PRESSWIRE)

After a weekend explosion against the Red Sox in which he went 5-for-14 with four home runs in three games, Andruw Jones is, in a certain limited sense, the fifth-most productive single-season home run hitter in Yankees history. ‘

Now, I don’t refer to the supermen like Babe Ruth and Mickey Mantle, who blasted home runs at a high rate all season long. I refer instead to part-timers who had between 99 and 400 plate appearances and were able to hit more than their share of home runs in a limited amount of playing time, guys like Jim Spencer, normally considered a glove-first first baseman, who in 1979 hit .288/.367/.593 with 23 home runs in 336 plate appearances, or roughly 6.9 home runs for every 100 trips to the plate.

That happens to be the 12th-best rate in team history. Here is the top ten, with Jones’ incomplete 2012 thrown in:

#

PLAYER

YEAR

PA

HR

HR/100 PA

1

Glenallen Hill

2000

143

16

11.19

2

Oscar Gamble

1979

126

11

8.73

3

Johnny Mize

1950

305

25

8.20

4

Ken Phelps

1988

127

10

7.87


Andruw Jones

2012

144

11

7.64

5

Johnny Blanchard

1961

275

21

7.63

6

Eddie Robinson

1955

215

16

7.44

7

Cliff Johnson

1977

168

12

7.14

8

Mickey Mantle

1963

213

15

7.04

9

Kevin Maas

1990

300

21

7.00

10

Darryl Strawberry

1998

345

24

6.96

Some fun facts here. The 2000 Yankees were one of the weakest of championship teams; Hill's slugging helped seal the division title (he disappeared in the postseason. A year later, he was out of the big leagues for good... I once told Oscar Gamble that his high home run percentages always suggested to me a player who might hit 40 home runs if allowed to play every day-he only got 500 plate appearances once. He broke out in a wide smile, stood up and shouted, "Thank you! Thank you!" and looked around to see if anyone else noticed that he had been given this endorsement... Johnny Mize was a Hall of Famer too slow and injury-prone to stay in the lineup, but he really mashed when he did play. He also loaned a bat to Phil Rizzuto that season, leading the Scooter to his MVP award... Ken Phelps for Jay Buhner was and is a disastrous trade, but in 1988 Phelps did what he was supposed to do and slugged .551 as a Yankee.

We will see if Jones can keep up his pace and stay on this list. As you can see, sometimes a non-Ruthian player can put up a Ruthian home run percentage in limited playing time. Whether he does or not, here is the key fact to remember: Jones is a career .505 slugger against left-handed pitching. When teams talk about getting a platoon advantage, that's what they should mean. Right-handed hitters who slug .420 or .430 against left-handers aren't particularly special.

X
Log In Sign Up

forgot?
Log In Sign Up

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.

Join Pinstripe Alley

You must be a member of Pinstripe Alley to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Pinstripe Alley. You should read them.

Join Pinstripe Alley

You must be a member of Pinstripe Alley to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at Pinstripe Alley. You should read them.

Spinner.vc97ec6e

Authenticating

Great!

Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.

tracking_pixel_9351_tracker