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Yankees home run title history: 1955 - present

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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 a back at the last six players to take home at least crown.

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In the first part of this series we looked back at the first six Yankees to lead the American League in home runs. That group had plenty of star power but the next group may have even more. Here's a breakdown of each Yankee to be named home run king in the modern era.

Mickey Mantle - 1955, 1956, 1958 & 1960

The Mick's name has become synonymous with gargantuan home runs so it's no surprise that he collected a handful of home run crowns. The most notable of these years was 1956 when his 52 long balls were a part of one of the most impressive triple crowns in baseball history and a catalyst for yet another Yankee championship. In fact, in each of the four years that Mantle was home run king, the Yankees were pennant winners, including World Series wins in 1956 and 1958. Mantle hit a career-high 54 dingers in 1961 but wasn't the home run champ because of the next man on this list. Had The Mick avoided a major knee injury early in his career or taken care of himself properly, he probably could have made a run at the all-time home run record. Instead he settled for "only" 536 career bombs.

Roger Maris - 1961

Maris' 61 in '61 is by far the most notable of all the seasons noted on this list. After coming to the Yankees from Kansas City in 1960, Maris paid immediate dividends with an MVP season that included 39 home runs and a league-leading 112 RBIs. He followed that up with a season for the ages. Under more scrutiny and pressure than any mortal man, let alone a simple one from North Dakota, should be able to stand, he chased the ghost of Babe Ruth and set the major league record for home runs in a season. He came back to earth the following year and steadily declined until he retired at just 33 years old.

Still, Maris was the main character in one of the most exciting chapters in baseball history and yet somehow remained humble for the rest of his way too short life. To this day, he remains the American League's all-time single-season home run king, a title he's held for a remarkable 54 years.

Graig Nettles - 1976

It's no surprise that the 15 years in between Yankee home run champions happened to coincide with one of the darkest periods in Yankee history. Nettles may not have had the personality of Mickey Rivers or the tough guy attitude (and mustache) of Thurman Munson, but he was just as important to reviving the Yankees with his great glovework and power bat. Due to the period in which he played, his home run totals don't impress to the naked eye, but he consistently churned out 20+ when that was no easy feat. His 32 in 1976 was good enough for the AL crown and he followed that up with a career high 37 in 1977. New York won the pennant both years and took the World Series trophy home in the latter. For his career, Nettles hit nearly 400 long balls and has a much better Hall of Fame case than baseball writers of his era realized.

Reggie Jackson - 1980 (tied with Ben Oglivie)

It's hard to believe now, but when Reggie Jackson signed with the Yankees for $3 million over five years in 1977, it was considered a mega-deal. With it came lofty expectations and while Jackson may have been an abrasive presence in the clubhouse, he met those expectations on the field. His primary job was to hit home runs and he did just that, helping the Yankees to World Series wins in each of his first two seasons in the Bronx and to another AL pennant three seasons later. His three home runs in game 6 of the 1977 World Series remains one of the most remarkable accomplishments in baseball history. In Jackson's brief Yankee career, he averaged just under 30 round trippers per season with a high of 41 in 1980, which was good enough for a share of the league lead.

Alex Rodriguez - 2005 & 2007

The last of only three right handed Yankee batters to lead the AL in home runs, A-Rod did it in grand style. In each instance he paired his home run title with an MVP award and in 2007 he set the Yankee record for home runs in a season by a righthander with 54. This directly led to the Yankees re-signing Rodriguez to a record $275 million contract following the season. Even before A-Rod landed in the Bronx he was no stranger to home run crowns, accomplishing the feat in three straight years with the Rangers from 2001 through 2003. If not for his rash of injuries and season-long suspension due to steroid use in 2014, fans could have been looking ahead to a 2016 season where A-Rod made a push for the all-time home run record. Instead, he'll try and continue to mend his severely tarnished reputation.

Mark Teixeira - 2009 (tied with Carlos Pena)

The Yankees reacted to missing the playoffs in 2008 by shelling out well over $300 million to sign the best pitcher and best slugger available on the open market that offseason. The plan worked. CC Sabathia and Mark Teixeira not only brought the Yankees back to the playoffs, but also helped secure the Yankees' 27th World Series title. Along the way the switch-hitting Teixeira clubbed 39 homers which tied Carlos Pena for the league lead and made him runner-up to Twins catcher Joe Mauer for AL MVP. While his overall play has declined since then due to age and injury, Tex has remained a home run threat at the plate. After a resurgent 2015 which saw him eclipse the 30 home run mark for the first time in four years, Teixeira will likely pass 400 career big flies in 2016.