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The 10 players to hit their 400th homer with the Yankees

Some were passing ships while others were legendary Yankees. But they all hit No. 400 in pinstripes.

MLB: Detroit Tigers at New York Yankees Wendell Cruz-USA TODAY Sports

On Tuesday night, Giancarlo Stanton became the 58th player in MLB history to reach 400 career home runs. Although the milestone doesn’t hold the same cache it did, say, 25 years ago, it’s still a tremendous accomplishment that not many hitters have even approached. That’s not a knock on those guys who fell short — a good number are Hall of Famers anyway — but hitting 400 is a testament to remaining a power threat in this game for a long, long time.

Ten of those 58 players actually hit their 400th career homer while playing for the Yankees. To celebrate Stanton joining this select group, we’ll remember them.

Babe Ruth

New York Yankees vs. Cleveland Indians Photo by The Stanley Weston Archive/Getty Images

Date: September 2, 1927
Pitcher: Rube Walberg, Philadelphia (AL)
Final total: 714

Jake recounted the Babe’s 400th career homer last year, when we were tracking Aaron Judge’s 2022 home run pace compared to some of the single-season greats. As noted below, the transcendent Ruth was the first player to hit 400.

As the straggler in our look at these collective home run chases, the Babe has some work to do, and he got one today with a solo homer in the first inning off of Rube Walberg. The Yankees would go on to crush the Philadelphia Athletics, with Lou Gehrig hitting two dingers of his own, giving him 43 on the year and keeping pace with Ruth. This one was actually the 400th homer of Ruth’s career, making him the first player in MLB history to reach that plateau. He was also the first to hit 200, 300, 500 ... you get the gist.

This shot at Shibe Park was Ruth’s 44th homer of 1927 and the first of a remarkable September that saw him club 17 in a month to break his own single-season record with 60. The “Murderers’ Row” Yankees won 110 games and the World Series crown, while Ruth’s legend continued to grow.

For decades afterward — even though Ruth spent his first few seasons in the Deadball Era while also pitching — he remained the fastest player to reach 400 until Mark McGwire came along. Stanton is the fourth-fastest, behind those two and another familiar face ahead.

Lou Gehrig

Lou Gehrig... Photo by Louis Van Oeyen/Western Reserve Historical Society/Getty Images

Date: July 10, 1936
Pitcher: Lloyd Brown, Cleveland
Final total: 493

Nine years after Ruth founded the 400 Home Run Club, his former partner in power became the second member. Gehrig was well into his famous consecutive games streak when he slugged his 400th in the first inning of a home game against Cleveland. Never one to rest on his laurels, the Iron Horse naturally blasted No. 401 off the very same pitcher just a couple innings later.

The Yankees won, 18-0, their second-biggest shutout victory in franchise history. It was just another day for a team that was about to win four consecutive World Series titles. Gehrig’s tragic illness, however, would end his career before he could reach 500.

Mickey Mantle

New York Yankees Mickey Mantle... SetNumber: X6805 F22

Date: September 10, 1962
Pitcher: Hank Aguirre, Detroit
Final total: 536

The 1962 championship season is sometimes overshadowed by the feats of Mantle and Roger Maris in 1961, but this was the last of a generation. The Mick was as fearsome as ever that year, batting .321/.486/.605 with enough of an impact in 123 games to win his third AL MVP. Technically, the league leader in rWAR was the pitcher he took yard for No. 400: Tigers southpaw Hank Aguirre. But Mantle could take anyone deep, and this solo shot at old Tiger Stadium led New York to a 3-1 win as they closed in on the American League pennant. He got to No. 500 a few years later, but his legs were fully shot and he called it quits after 1968.

To date, Ruth, Gehrig, and Mantle are the only three players to hit at least 400 homers with the Yankees (Joe DiMaggio ranks fourth on the franchise home run list with 361). Perhaps the new captain Judge will join that iconic trio one day, but as of early September 2023, he has 149 dingers to go.

Reggie Jackson

Getty Images

Date: August 11, 1980
Pitcher: Britt Burns, Chicago (AL)
Final total: 536

Eighteen years after Mantle hit No. 400, another future member of the 500 Home Run Club got one step closer with his 400th. The 1980 campaign was actually Jackson’s best in pinstripes, as it was his first without any interruption from constant foil Billy Martin. Instead, the cool-headed Dick Howser let Reggie go out and play, and he rewarded the Yankees with an AL-best 41 homers and a runner-up finish for the league MVP. It was his penultimate Yankees season, as he signed with the Angels after 1981. No. 500 would land in Anaheim.

But that’s all background for this truly wild story on what happened the night in the Bronx that Jackson became the 19th player to hit 400 bombs. This from the Associated Press via a digitized edition of The Michigan Daily:

A young robber leveled a gun at the head of New York Yankees star Reggie Jackson early yesterday morning outside a bar in New York City.
But Jackson, out celebrating his 400th career home run he hit in Monday night’s victory over the White Sox, knocked the bandit away by swatting him with the door of his Rolls Royce.
The slugger told police he was shaken at having a large-bore pistol, likely a .45-caliber automatic, pointed into his face.
“It was the biggest gun I ever saw,” Jackson told police. “I flinched. He was pointing the gun at my head. I thought he was going to shoot me.”

Well, that’s horrifying and could have been terrible! We’re glad that Reggie almost literally dodged a bullet there.

Gary Sheffield

Date: July 27, 2004
Pitcher: Micheal Nakamura, Toronto
Final total: 509

From one brash right fielder to another, Sheff was a worthy successor to Reggie in this club. The somewhat-nomadic masher would eventually punch his ticket to 500 outside of pinstripes, as well (across town, in fact).

Although the better move the previous offseason would have been to sign Vladimir Guerrero rather than Sheffield, it wasn’t as though the Yankees got chopped liver. He hit .290/.393/.534 with 36 homers and was second only to Guerrero in the AL MVP race. Sheff’s intimidating bat waggle scared third-base coaches but won many fans to his side, and along the way, he picked up No. 400 in Toronto on a day the Yankees rode four dingers to beat the Jays. After one more good year and one tarnished by injuries, Sheffield was dealt to Detroit.

Alex Rodriguez

Date: June 8, 2005
Pitcher: Jorge De La Rosa, Milwaukee
Final total: 696

One of those aforementioned few to reach 400 homers faster than Stanton, A-Rod hit the mark on the same day that he hit No. 399. The youngest man to do so and the only one to do it before turning 30, he was in the middle of his first truly great season in the Bronx. A-Rod hit .321/.421/.610 with 48 bombs to win the AL MVP and set a then-team record for homers by a right-handed hitter.

A-Rod had been held homerless for 11 games but got off the schneid with a first-inning dinger off future teammate Chris Capuano before smacking his fourth hit of the day over the right-center-field fence to check off No. 400. His 500th and 600th homers would also come in pinstripes, though his 2014 suspension cost him a shot at 700.

Alfonso Soriano

Date: August 27, 2013
Pitcher: J.A. Happ, Toronto
Final total: 412

2013 was a strange, topsy-turvy season in quite a few ways, but one of the bright spots was Soriano’s return to pinstripes and subsequent mini-renaissance. Hal Steinbrenner did not want to sell at the Trade Deadline, so Brian Cashman picked up Soriano’s contract from the rebuilding Cubs, and the seven-time All-Star found the Fountain of Youth — for a little while, anyway. He crushed 11 long balls in August, including a pair in consecutive at-bats on August 27th at Rogers Centre that pushed him up to 400 home runs.

Amusingly, Soriano was the first Yankees player to reach that mark since the man he was once traded for and was now his teammate: Alex Rodriguez. The fall came hard and fast for Soriano, as this turned out to be his last great hot streak and he got released in July 2014, ending his career. But what a run it was!

Carlos Beltrán

Date: May 15, 2016
Pitcher: Zach Duke, Chicago (AL)
Final total: 435

Beltrán’s three-year contract with the Yankees got off to a rocky start in 2014 with his worst season since 2000, but to his credit, he rebounded with back-to-back solid campaigns in 2015 and 2016 to at least briefly get his career back on track. With that resurgence came No. 400 in early 2016, a shot that made him just the fourth switch-hitter in MLB history to do so. Beltrán joined Mantle, Eddie Murray, and Chipper Jones in this prestigious inner circle of the club.

Perhaps if the 2016 Yankees were a more competent team, this note would have a more interesting ending. Alas, they weren’t, and Beltrán was one of multiple Yankees sent out at the Trade Deadline for prospects. He retired after a 2017 campaign in Houston that was not notable for anything off-field whatsoever, no siree.

Mark Teixeira

Date: July 3, 2016
Pitcher: Carlos Villanueva, San Diego
Final total: 409

When Teixeira came to terms with the Yankees on his big eight-year, $180 million contract prior to the 2009 campaign, he was young enough that it wasn’t hard to envision him reaching 400 dingers and more. Tex was quite durable during his first few seasons while helping them win the 2009 World Series, but a freak wrist injury in spring 2013 curtailed both his long-term health and his production. Aside from a dead cat bounce in an All-Star 2015 that ended on the shelf anyway, the rest of his time in pinstripes was more of a drag than it should’ve been.

Indeed, Teixeira was a month away from announcing his retirement plans when he smashed No. 400 down the right-field line at Petco Park. He did, however, join Beltrán on that short list of five switch-hitters with 400 homers, and he also flashed his old self by hitting No. 401 in the same afternoon. That would be the final multi-homer game of Tex’s terrific career.

Giancarlo Stanton

Date: September 5, 2023
Pitcher: José Cisnero, Detroit
Final total: TBD

Finally, we reach the 10th man to hit his 400th homer as Yankee, Big G. I’ve already offered extended thoughts on Stanton’s milestone moment and why he’s still an important figure to me personally, so at risk of repeating myself too much, I’ll simply say that I hope he has more than a few left in his bat. He’s been one of the best sluggers to watch this century, and his dingers are still things of beauty.