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Yankees home run title history: 1916 - 1944

Throughout their long history the Yankees have employed 12 AL home run kings who have led the league in home runs a total of 28 times. Here's a look back at the first six players to take home at least one crown.

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They're not called the Bronx Bombers for no reason. Over the years the Yankees have had more than their fair share of home run kings. The short right field porch of Yankee Stadium in its many different forms has no doubt contributed to this, but there have been many pinstriped sluggers who could do damage in any stadium or era. Altogether, 12 Yankees have led the AL in home runs and many of them have done it multiple times. Here's a breakdown of the first six Yankees to accomplish the feat.

Wally Pipp - 1916 & 1917

Dead-ball era baseball was a much different world compared to what modern baseball fans are used to. It was a time where true "sluggers" hit 10-12 home runs per year. Pipp was one of those sluggers, earning back to back home run titles with totals of just 12 and nine right before the birth of the live-ball era. Of course, Pipp will always be most famous for riding the pine rather than anything he did on the field. As legend has it, he jump started Lou Gehrig's consecutive games played streak when he asked out of the lineup due to a headache in June 1925 and Gehrig started in his place. Nowadays in any sport, if a star player gets injured and is replaced by someone who outperforms them, they're said to have gotten "Wally Pipped".

Babe Ruth - 1920 through 1924, 1926 through 1930, 1931 (tied with Lou Gehrig)

Babe Ruth did for the home run what Jimi Hendrix would do for the electric guitar years later. Nobody hit home runs quite like him before or ever since. When Ruth became a full time position player just prior to his sale to the Yankees he started hitting home runs at astronomical rates. In the early 1920's his yearly totals would often exceed the home run output of entire teams. He led the AL in home runs every year from the time he was 24 years old until he was 36, save for two injury plagued seasons in 1922 and 1925. With seven championship rings (four with the Yankees) to his name, The Babe proved that the quickest and most efficient path to success in baseball was through the almighty long ball.

Bob Meusel - 1925

The tall, skinny outfielder nicknamed Long Bob took advantage of one of Babe Ruth's injury plagued seasons mentioned above to take home the AL home run title with 33 dingers in 1925. What's more impressive, Meusel was the first of only three right handed Yankees in their history to earn that honor and he did it at a time when the left field power alley was well over 400 feet away in Yankee Stadium. Outside of 1925 he wasn't much of a home run hitter, although he was an integral part of the Yankee lineup for the entirety of the 1920's. He consistently hit for a high average and was a charter member of the infamous Murderer's Row lineup in 1927.

Lou Gehrig - 1931 (tied with Babe Ruth), 1934, & 1936

The Iron Horse spent a good chunk of his career in the shadow of Babe Ruth. Combine that with the fact that he fell just short of the major Hall of Fame milestones with 493 career home runs and 2,721 hits and it's possible that one of the greatest hitters in major league history is actually underrated. He reached his career high for home runs with 49 twice and each time was good enough for the league lead. If it wasn't for his hefty teammate slugging home runs in front of him in the lineup he could have racked up many more home run crowns. For four straight years from 1927 through 1930 Gehrig finished second to The Bambino in long balls, eclipsing the 40 home run mark twice along the way.

Joe DiMaggio - 1937 & 1948

DiMaggio is one of the rare right handed sluggers in Yankee history. At just 22 years old he went deep a career high 46 times in 1937 which was good enough for the league lead. It would also stand as the Yankees' record for a righty for nearly 70 years. After a nine year gap he again took home the AL home run title with 39 for a team that was about to embark on a run of five straight World Series wins. Had he not missed three years of his prime due to military service during World War II, DiMaggio may have done even more damage on the AL leaderboards. Despite missing those years, he still stands as one of the greatest home run hitters in Yankee history.

Nick Etten - 1944

When the US joined the Allies during World War II, DiMaggio wasn't the only superstar who sacrificed his baseball career to serve overseas. Ted Williams, Stan Musial, and Hank Greenberg among many others also traded their baseball uniforms for camouflage. This gave solid, if unspectacular, players like Nick Etten the chance to shine. Etten served as the Yankees everyday first basemen during the war years and nearly all of his career's significant contributions occurred during this time. He finished in the top ten in home runs each year from 1943 through 1945 and the big lefty's 22 big flies in 1944 led the American League. When the war ended Etten's career fizzled out but his unusual place in the Yankee record books is secure.