Also among the 96 championships won in each league, there have been 22 instances when the home run title was shared between players—10 in the A.L. and 12 in the N.L., including last season’s dead heat race between Bryce Harper of the Washington Nationals and Nolan Arenado of the Colorado Rockies.
Here is how the 22 home run titles that ended in a draw transpired.
1931—Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig
The Yankee sluggers were neck and neck in a close battle for the A.L. home run crown throughout the season. At the end of May, Ruth (9) held the lead over Gehrig (8) in homers by one. By the end of June, Ruth had 18 homers and Gehrig had 19. The Yankees first baseman had a big month in July with 11 long balls to bring his season total to 30 while Ruth slugged 10 homers to bring his season tally to 28 and keep pace with his teammate in the HR race.
As the Yankees tried to keep pace with the eventual pennant-winning A’s behind the game’s top two home run hitters, Ruth ended the month of August with 37 home runs and Gehrig finished with 38.
Entering the final days of the campaign, Gehrig held a 45-to-44 home run lead over Ruth with seven games remaining in the season. On September 25, Ruth clubbed two home runs off Washington’s General Crowder to retake a one HR lead against Gehrig. In the final game of the season, New York defeated the A’s 13-1 as Ruth went homerless in a 3-for-5 outing with three singles while Gehrig blasted his 46th homer off Lefty Grove to tie Ruth for the A.L. home run championship.
1935—Jimmie Foxx and Hank Greenberg
The powerful first basemen were two of the most consistent home run hitters throughout the ’35 campaign. Already a two-time champion over the last three seasons, Foxx was trailing the 24-year old Greenberg in the race 35 to 33 going into the final two weeks of the regular season. Foxx closed the gap with his 34th homer of the year on Sept. 15, but Greenberg belted his 36th and final homer of the campaign on Sept. 17. In the season finale on Sept. 29, Greenberg’s Tigers split a double header against the White Sox with the right-handed slugger going 0-for-7 with three strikeouts to end his season. Foxx went 3-for-4 with two home runs—his 35th and 36th— off Henry Coppola of the Senators in the A’s 11-8 win, giving Double X co-ownership of the A.L. home run title.
1959—Rocky Colavito and Harmon Killebrew
The two sluggers were the A.L.’s top home run hitters in 1959 and battled for HR leadership throughout the year. Colavito was coming off a season in which he fell one homer short (42 to 41) of winning his first home run crown, losing to Mickey Mantle in 1958. In his five previous major league campaigns (1954-1958), Killebrew played in only 113 games with 11 home runs, but in ’59 the right-handed power hitter became the Senators everyday third baseman and proved his value with big time production. At the All-Star break on July 5, Killebrew had 28 homers to lead the league with Colavito second in the chase for the HR crown with 24, followed by Killebrew’s teammates Bob Allison with 21 and Jim Lemon with 20.
Colavito and Killebrew took off in the second half of the campaign. The Rock hit his 40th homer of the year on Sept. 7 and Killebrew equaled the mark on Sept. 10. But Killer would go homerless in his next 47 at-bats that covered 12 games, while Colavito smashed two in that span to take a 42-40 lead heading into the final weekend of the season.
In the last two games, the Cleveland right fielder went 1-for-8 without a homer to end the season with a new career high mark of 42. Killebrew, 24, hit his 41st homer on Sept. 26 and was one homer shy of tying Colavito in the season finale.
In that game, Washington manager Cookie Lavagetto put Killebrew in the leadoff spot to get more chances to tie or win the A.L. home run championship out right. Killebrew singled in the first inning and doubled in the third before hitting his 42nd homer in the fifth off Red Sox pitcher Jerry Casale. In the seventh, he singled and took his final at-bat in the ninth with one out, the Senators trailing Boston 6-2 and relief pitcher Frank Baumann on the mound. Trying to win the HR crown with one powerful swing, Killebrew proceeded to ground out to third and finish the season with 42 dingers, tied with Rocky Colavito.
1967—Carl Yastrzemski and Harmon Killebrew
For Carl Yastrzemski, the final two games of the 1967 season were pressure-packed, not just because he was trying to capture the Triple Crown, but because his club, the Boston Red Sox, were attempting to capture its first pennant in 21 years. Yaz entered the final two games leading the A.L. in batting average —.319 to .314 over Baltimore’s Frank Robinson—pacing the league in RBI 115 to 111 over Minnesota’s Harmon Killebrew and tied with Killebrew with 43 home runs.
But for the Boston slugger, the most important element entering the last two games of the season was the fact the Red Sox were tied with the Tigers in second-place—one game behind the Twins, who the Red Sox were scheduled to play in the final two contests.
In the game on Saturday Sept. 30, the Red Sox defeated the Twins, 6-4, to move into a tie for first place while the Tigers split a double header, thus eliminating Detroit from contention for the pennant. In Boston’s 6-4 win, Yaz went 3-for-4 with a home run and four RBI, padding his lead for the batting title (.322 to Robinson’s .311) and in RBI, bringing his total to 119 against Killebrew’s 113. Killebrew also homered in that game, so the two All-Stars entered the season finale tied at 44 HR. In that pennant-deciding game, neither player homered, but Yaz went 4-for-4 in Boston’s 5-3 victory to secure a World Series appearance and the Triple Crown with totals of .326 BA, 121 RBI and 44 homers—tied with Killebrew.
1975—Reggie Jackson and George Scott
Reggie Jackson of the A’s and George Scott of the Brewers tied for the home run title with 36, but John Mayberry of the Royals and Bobby Bonds of the Yankees were also in the race during the final stages of the season. Jackson was the first to reach the 30-homer plateau on Sept. 1, followed by Mayberry on Sept. 3, Scott on Sept. 15 and Bonds on Sept. 21. On the date Bonds hit his 30th, he trailed Mayberry (33), Jackson (32) and Scott (31).
On Sept. 22, Scott blasted two dingers to tie Mayberry at 33. The Milwaukee first baseman hit his 34th on Sept. 24 to surpass the Kansas City first sacker, but Jackson hit two homers that same night. So the HR race at the closing of that date was Jackson (34), Scott (34), Mayberry (33) and Bonds (30).
On Sept. 26, Scott blasted his last two homers of the year to bring his season total to 36 and the following night Mayberry clubbed his 34th and Bonds hit two in a double header to hoist his mark to 32. Going into the final game of the season on Sept. 28, the HR leadership board read: Scott (36), Jackson (34), Mayberry (34) and Bonds (32). Only Jackson would add to his final output before the ’75 campaign ended as he hit two homers—one off Gary Ross and one against Sid Monge of the Angels—to boost his total to 36 and tie for his second A.L. home run crown.
1980—Reggie Jackson and Ben Oglivie
Heading into the final week of the 1980 season, there was a three-man race for the A.L. home run crown with Reggie Jackson of the Yankees, Ben Oglivie of the Brewers and reigning A.L. home run champ Gorman Thomas—also from the Brewers. All three were in the hunt for bragging rights as the leagues top slugger. At the end of September, Oglivie led with 39 HR, followed by Jackson and Thomas, who were tied with 38. The Yankees had five games remaining on the schedule while Milwaukee had three. Thomas went homerless in 15 at-bats in October. Jackson clubbed his 39th on Oct. 1 to tie Oglivie, who homered later in the day for his 40th of the season. Jackson belted his 40th on Oct. 2 and took the lead on Oct. 4 when he blasted his 41st and final homer of the year off Tigers pitcher Roger Weaver. With a one-homer edge going into the final game of the campaign, Jackson tripled in his first at-bat to bring his season average up to .300 before being pulled from the game. In Milwaukee, the Brewers beat the Oakland A’s, 5-4, in 15 innings but trailed 4-3 with one out in the bottom of the ninth when Oglivie tied the game with a solo shot—his 41st of the year—off A’s pitcher Rick Langford. The Brewers left fielder collected two singles in his three extra-inning at-bats and scored the game-winning run, but he came up short trying to win the home run title outright and had to settle for a tie with Mr. October.
1981—Tony Armas, Dwight Evans, Eddie Murray and Bobby Grich
During the strike interrupted 1981 season, the home run champs were crowned with a low total of 22 home runs, the first and only time since 1920 that more than two players tied for the league lead in homers. When the player strike began after games played on June 11, the home run leaders in the A.L. were Gorman Thomas of the Brewers (15), Dwight Evans of the Red Sox (13), Tony Armas of the A’s (13) and Gary Gray of the Mariners (13). While Armas and Evans were in the thick of it, Eddie Murray of the Orioles had eight and Bobby Grich of the Angels had six at the time of the strike.
The second-half of the season resumed on Aug. 10, and going into the final week (Sept. 28 – Oct. 4) of the shortened campaign, the home run race was lined up with Armas and Thomas leading with 21, followed by Evans with 20 and Murray and Grich tied at 19.
Grich clubbed three homers between Sept. 29 and Oct. 2 to take the lead with 22 long balls. On Oct. 3, Armas equaled the Angels second baseman by belting No. 22. So going into the season finale, the A.L. home run race was paced by Grich and Armas with 22 followed by Murray and Thomas with 21 and Evans with 20. In that last game, Thomas, Grich and Armas went homerless as Murray belted one while Evans produced a two-homer game to force a four-way tie for the A.L. HR crown—the lowest total to win a home run championship since Nick Etten of the Yankees paced the A.L. with 22 in 1944. Thomas finished fifth in the race with 21.
1982— Reggie Jackson and Gorman Thomas
For the third consecutive season the A.L. had a shared ownership for the home run title. Jackson of the Angels, who already had three home run titles under his belt, including two in which he tied for the league lead, battled Thomas, the A.L. home run champion in 1979 for the Brewers. Dave Winfield of the Yankees was also in the mix for a shot at capturing a league home run crown.
On Sept. 26, with a week remaining in the season, Thomas belted his 39th and final homer of the year and was trailed by Jackson, who hit his 36th homer on that date, and Winfield, who also had 36. Thomas went homerless in the Brewers last seven games that included 25 at-bats. Winfield clubbed his 37 on Sept. 28 to move behind Thomas before Jackson equaled his total the following night and passed him with homer No. 38 on Oct. 2. In the Yankees last game, Winfield did not play while Jackson hit his 39th homer of the season in the first inning of the Angels 7-6 win over the Rangers. Jackson produced a double in his final three at-bats of the game to end the season in a tie with Thomas for the A.L. homer title.
1991—Cecil Fielder and Jose Canseco
Fielder of the Tigers and Canseco of the A’s eventually ran away with the home run race as the 1991 season progressed, but at the end of June, the A.L. leadership was Chili Davis, Twins (19), Canseco (18), Fielder (18) and Dave Henderson, A’s (18). By the end of August, Canseco and Fielder were tied with 36 while Davis and Henderson fell out of the race and replaced by Joe Carter of the Blue Jays (29) and Frank Thomas of the White Sox (28). But the as the final weeks played out, Canseco and Fielder were in a battle between each other. The Tigers slugger was the first to reach the 40-homer mark on Sept. 11 and by Sept. 15, he moved into the lead with 42. Canseco hit homers Nos. 40 and 41 on that mid-September date to keep pace. As the month of September closed out, the two right-handed power hitters were tied with 43 with Detroit having six games remaining on the schedule with Oakland having five. Canseco hit his 44th on Oct. 1 to put him in the HR lead, but on Oct. 3, Fielder blasted his 44th and final homer of the season. Canseco went homerless in his final 20 at-bats and Fielder in his last 10 to end the season in a tie for the home run title.
2009—Mark Teixeira and Carlos Pena
At the All-Star break, the A.L. home run race was tight with 10 players between 20 and 24 homers. Rays first baseman Carlos Pena was leading the league with 24, followed by Russell Branyan, Mariners (22), Nelson Cruz, Rangers (22), Brandon Inge, Tigers (21), Justin Mourneau, Twins (21), Mark Teixeira, Yankees (21), Jason Bay, Red Sox (20), Jermaine Dye, White Sox (20), Ian Kinsler, Rangers (20) and Aaron Hill, Blue Jays (20). By the end of the season, 13 players finished the year between 30 and 39 homers.
With two weeks remaining in the campaign, the leadership board was Pena (39), Teixeira (37), Bay (35), Cruz (32) and Hill (32). Pena clubbed his final homer of the year on Sept. 1 because injury ended his season on Sept. 7 forcing him to miss the final 25 games. With Pena sidelined, Teixeira equaled Tampa Bay’s left-handed swinger’s season total when he blasted his 39th of the year on Sept. 29 off Anthony Lerew of the Royals. Bay stood at 36 HR on Sept. 21, but went homerless in his final 40 at-bats of the season while Hill connected for three homers during that span to finish with a career high 36 and leaving Teixeira and Pena as co-home run champions in the American League with 39.
1927—Hack Wilson and Cy Williams
At the season midpoint in 1927, the A.L. home run race was generating all the excitement in the majors as Yankee teammates Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig were both on a record pace with 30 homers. Ruth would finish the year with his record-setting total of 60 and Gehrig would end the year with 47. In the N.L., the home run race was a little more subdued as Cy Williams of the Phillies paced the league with 18 at mid-July while Rogers Hornsby of the Giants had 16 and Hack Wilson of the Cubs had 15. Those three would battle it out the rest of the way with Williams attempting to become the oldest player, at age 39, to win a league home run crown. He entered the final weekend of the year (Oct. 1-2), pacing all N.L. hitters with 30, Wilson’s total was 29 and Hornsby was at 26. Williams and Hornsby went homerless in the final two games, but Wilson clubbed his 30th of the season in the sixth inning off Cardinals pitcher Jesse Haines in the season finale to tie Williams for the N.L. home run championship.
1928—Hack Wilson and Jim Bottomley
Wilson was in line to win his third consecutive N.L. home run crown, a feat accomplished by only one other player in the senior circuit—Gavvy Cravath. Challenging the stocky Cubs center fielder was Cardinals first baseman Jim Bottomley, who during the 1928 campaign became only the second player in baseball history to hit 20 or more doubles, triples and home runs in the same season. He also topped the N.L. with 136 RBI that year. At the end of June, the home run leaders were Wilson (16), Del Bissonette of the Dodgers (15), Bottomley (15) and Rogers Hornsby of the Braves (14).
Heading into September, the race came down to Wilson, who held the lead with 30 homers, and Bottomley, who was comfortably holding the second spot with 27.
During the month, Bottomley homered on Sept. 9, Sept. 17 and clubbed his 30th to tie Wilson on Sept. 23. The following day, the Cardinals left-handed hitter belted his 31st homer to take the lead over Wilson, who was struggling with his power numbers. Wilson had hit his 30th homer on August 25 before going 28 games (Aug. 26-Sept. 28) without a home run, a streak that covered 103 at-bats. But on Sept. 29, the day before the season ended, Wilson connected against Giants pitcher Freddie Fitzsimmons for his 31st homer to tie Bottomley for the N.L. title.
1932—Chuck Klein and Mel Ott
The midway point of the 1932 season came on July 4, and at the juncture of the campaign, Chuck Klein looked to be a runaway in the home run race, leading the N.L. with 25, followed by Bill Terry of the Giants (15), Hack Wilson of the Dodgers (15), Ripper Collins of the Cardinals (14) and Mel Ott of the Giants (14). But as the season progressed, Klein couldn’t keep up with his pace for a 50-homer season while Ott continued in consistent pursuit to capture his first home run crown at age 23.
By July 28, Klein was the first N.L. player to reach 30 homers, as Ott was still 10 homers off the Phillies slugger’s pace. After a two-homer game on Aug. 12, Klein’s HR total was at 35 and Ott’s was at 22 before Klein fell into a homer slump that lasted 26 games and 110 at-bats. During that slide, Ott belted 12 homers to bring him within one of Klein’s league-leading total.
Klein padded his lead with his 36th homer on Sept. 13, but Ott hit his 35th the following day. Klein again took a two-homer lead with his 37th on Sept. 15, but on that same date, Ott belted his 36th. Klein responded with his 38th dinger on Sept. 19, but once again Ott answered the call with two homers against the Braves on Sept. 20. Both players went homerless in the final week of the season, ending the year in a dead heat with 38 homers.
1934—Mel Ott and Ripper Collins
The National League home run race of 1934 was a three-man race among Mel Ott of the Giants, Ripper Collins of the Cardinals and Wally Berger of the Braves. At the end of June, the home run leaders were aligned with Ott leading the league with 19 homers, followed by Chuck Klein of the Cubs (18), Collins (16) and Berger (13).
Through July, the same four players were the top sluggers in the league, but the rankings shuffled a bit with Ott still leading the league with 24 homers, as Berger and Collins trailed behind him with 23 and Klein, who hit only one home run during the month, still among the leaders with 19.
Heading into September, the order remained the same with Ott holding his leadership spot with 32 homers, Berger and Collins in second with 30 and Klein—going homerless in August—held on to fourth place with 19 homers but was out of the race for the HR crown.
On September 9, Berger hit his 32nd homer of the season, placing himself in a three-way tie with Ott and Collins for the N.L. leadership with three weeks remaining in the season. After games played on Sept. 25, Ott held the lead with 35 homers and Collins and Berger were close behind with 34. During that final week, Ott went homerless in 11 at-bats and Berger went 4-for-15 with four doubles to end his season with 34 homers. Collins also went without hitting a home run until his final at-bat in the last game of the regular season when he connected off Reds pitcher Allyn Stout in the bottom of the seventh to give him 35 homers for the year, tying him with Ott and making him the first switch hitter in big league history to win a home run crown.
1937—Mel Ott and Joe Medwick
Ott was in the middle of another close home run chase in 1937 when his main competitor was Joe Medwick of the Cardinals, who was attempting to win the Triple Crown and become the third player since 1900 to capture the honor in the National League.
At mid-season, the HR race between Medwick and Ott began to form as the St. Louis slugger led the league with 20 homers, followed by Ott with 19.
On September 14, Ott blasted his 31st and last homer of the season before he went homerless over the last 20 games and 80 at-bats of the season. On that date, Medwick had a comfortable lead for both the RBI and batting title, but trailed in the HR race by three. The Cardinals left fielder tied Ott on Sept. 29 by clubbing his 31st homer off Pirates pitcher Cy Blanton and when the season ended on Oct. 3, Ducky Medwick was a Triple Crown winner with league-leading totals in RBI (154), batting average (.374) and tied with Ott in the home run department with 31.
1947—Ralph Kiner and Johnny Mize
Kiner and Mize put on one of the greatest home run races in baseball history and for the first time in National League annals, two players hit 50 or more homers in the same season. By the end of May, Mize led all N.L. hitters with 14 homers while Kiner got off to a slow start, generating only three long balls. The Pirates slugger got hot in June, blasting 14 homers to bring his season total to 17, but still trailed Mize who finished the month with a league-leading total of 20.
Entering September, Mize had a major league high 44 homers with Kiner keeping pace with 39. Over the next three weeks, Kiner would blast 12 homers to bring his season total to 51 on Sept. 23, giving him a one-homer lead over Mize, who had hit his 50th on Sept. 20. With five days remaining in the season, Kiner and the Pirates had four games left to play while the Giants and Mize had six games left on the schedule. Kiner went homerless in his final four games and 15 at-bats to closeout the year with 51 homers. Mize hit his 51st on Sept. 25, but in his final four games, he went 16 at-bats without putting one over the fence, making it the only time two players tied for a league home run title with 50 or more homers.
1948—Ralph Kiner and Johnny Mize
Not only did Kiner and Mize put up another exciting race in the home run title for the second year in a row, but Stan Musial—the N.L.’s best hitter—was also involved in the chase. At the end of August, the leader-board was headed by Kiner with 35 homers and Musial was right behind him with 34 while Mize was situated in third place with 32. At that time in the season, Musial had a 41-point lead in the batting title race and was up on Mize in RBI 109 to 101, so Stan The Man was in the hunt for Triple Crown recognition.
After games played on Sept. 23, the three-man race was tightening as Kiner and Mize paced the league with 39 and Musial followed with 38. Kiner became the first to reach the 40-HR plateau that year when he connected off Reds pitcher Kent Peterson on Sept. 26, but Kiner ended the year without a homer in the final five games. Musial tied Mize for second in the home run competition with his 39th on Sept. 30 and the two players both had three games remaining in their season to tie or pass Kiner in the home run derby. Musial lost his bid for the Triple Crown when he failed to homer in a three-game, season-ending series against the Cubs. Mize’s total was at 39 when he entered the season finale on Oct. 3. The Giants slugger came to bat only once in that contest and homered off Braves pitcher Nels Potter, to tie Kiner for the home run title with 40. It is the only time the same two players tied for the home run crown in consecutive seasons.
1952—Ralph Kiner and Hank Sauer
The end of the 1952 season witnessed Ralph Kiner winning his seventh consecutive home run crown and the third time that he shared the honor with another slugger. But it was Hank Sauer of the Cubs who got off to a quick start in ’52, leading the majors with 20 homers by the end of June. Gil Hodges of the Dodgers ranked second in the N.L with 15 homers heading into July and Kiner had 12. On August 31, with clubs heading into the final stretch of the year, Sauer was pacing the N.L. with 34 homers, followed by Kiner with 30 and Hodges with 28.
Hodges would homer only four more times in the Dodgers’ 28 games scheduled in September to finish the year with 32 and leaving the home run race in the N.L. between Kiner and Sauer. On Sept. 11, Sauer clubbed his 37th and final homer of the year while Kiner belted his 34th. On the following night, Kiner hit two homers against the Braves, leaving him one HR behind Sauer with 11 more games remaining to be played. Kiner went homerless in his next 35 at-bats and time was running out for him to catch Sauer. For most of the ’52 campaign, Kiner was regularly penciled in as the cleanup hitter in the Pirates lineup, but with only two games remaining and Kiner trying to hold on to his home run championship belt, Bucs manager Billy Meyer moved Kiner up to the No. 2 spot in the batting order so he could get more at-bats to tie or surpass Sauer for the N.L. leadership in homers.
Kiner slammed his 37th homer on Sept. 27 in the bottom of the seventh inning off Bubba Church to tie for the league lead. The Pirates left fielder could not capitalize with another long ball in the season finale, so he had to settle for co-ownership of the 1952 home run crown.
1963—Hank Aaron and Willie McCovey
The top four N.L. home run hitters at the close of the 1963 season were all future Hall of Famers in Hank Aaron of the Braves and a trio of San Francisco Giants in Willie McCovey, Willie Mays and Orlando Cepeda. At the Midsummer Classic break that year, the four All-Star performers were at the top of the home run race with Aaron leading the N.L. with 24, followed by McCovey (22), Mays (16) and Cepeda (16). But as the season progressed, it was the two uniformed No. 44 sluggers who battled for the coveted HR crown. On September 15, Aaron appeared primed to capture his second career home run championship with a league-leading total of 42 with McCovey behind him at 38, and Mays (35) and Cepeda (30) slipping off the pace with only two weeks remaining in the regular season.
After a two-homer game on Sept. 20, Willie Mac trailed Aaron 42 to 40, but the powerful Giants hitter belted three homers against the Mets on Sept. 22 to overtake Hammerin’ Hank 43 to 42. On Sept. 25, Aaron hit his 43rd homer but McCovey responded with his 44th and final homer of the year on Sept. 26.
The final day of the season was Sept. 29 and while Aaron hit his 44th homer of the year in the first inning of a Sunday afternoon game in Milwaukee against the Cubs, McCovey suffered through an 0-for-4 performance against the Pirates and the two No. 44 power hitters ended the year tied for the league home run title with 44.
1984—Mike Schmidt and Dale Murphy
This was a battle of the two N.L. MVPs as Mike Schmidt of the Phillies was the winner of the award in 1980 and 1981 and Dale Murphy of the Braves the recipient in 1982 and 1983. So the 1984 HR race had a little added flavor with two of the league’s best players competing for the crown. During that season, Schmidt and Murphy were the only two players in the senior circuit to pass the 30-homer barrier. The Phillies third baseman was the first to reach the mark when he blasted his 30th homer on Aug. 19 off Reds pitcher Don Gullett. Murphy tallied his 30th dinger on Sept. 4 against Houston reliever Dave Smith. On that September date, Schmidt held a 34-30 edge on Murphy with 26 games remaining in the season for Schmidt and the Phillies and 24 for Murphy and the Braves.
Schmidt would club two more home runs with his 36th—and last of the season—coming on Sept. 12 before he fell into a 10-for-68 slump (.147) with no home runs to closeout the season. Murphy on the other hand, came through with six home runs during that span, including his 36th on Sept. 28, to tie Schmidt for the league HR title.
2013—Paul Goldschmidt and Pedro Alvarez
During the 2013 campaign, Paul Goldschmidt of the Diamondbacks and Pedro Alvarez of the Pirates were establishing themselves as the new breed of power hitters in the National League, and they did not disappoint as they battled for the league home run title throughout the season.
At the All-Star break, the N.L. home run leaders were Carlos Gonzalez of the Rockies (25), Alvarez (24), Dominic Brown of the Phillies (23) and Goldschmidt (21). In the following weeks, Gonzalez and Brown tailed off considerably while Alvarez and Goldschmidt went down to the wire in a heated battle. On Aug. 17, the D’backs and Pirates were playing the middle contest of the three-game series in Pittsburgh with Alvarez and Goldschmidt tied for the HR lead at 29. Both players would blast their 30th homer in that game and go back-and-forth as the league HR leader in the remaining weeks of the campaign.
Alvarez hit his 31st homer on Aug. 19 and Goldschmidt clubbed his on Aug. 20. After games on Sept. 13, the Pirates first baseman had 33 homers, a number Goldschmidt matched on Sept. 16. The D’backs first sacker held a 36 to 34 lead in the HR race on Sept. 25 with four games remaining in the season. Goldschmidt would go 4-for-15 in those final contests with no homers to end his year with a career high 36. Alvarez proceeded to hit his 35th on Sept. 27 and 36th on Sept. 28 to tie for the league lead. In the season finale he went 0-for-1 with a walk and hit by pitch . . . not the kind of season-ending outcome he was looking for. But a home run title, shared or not, is an impressive accomplishment.
2015—Bryce Harper and Nolan Arenado
The home run race of 2015 in the N.L. was the breaking out of two outstanding stars—one in Bryce Harper of the Nationals, who was expected to reach such lofty numbers, the other in Nolan Arenado of the Rockies, who was considered the best defensive third baseman in the game, but was not a hitter most would expect to challenge for a home run title, especially after he combined to hit only 28 in his first two big league seasons. As the year unfolded, Harper jumped out to a quick start and led the N.L. in homers at the end of May with 18, as Arenado had 12 to his credit. At the All-Star break on July 14, the N.L. home run leaders were Miami’s Giancarlo Stanton with 27, followed by Harper (26), Todd Frazier of the Reds (25) and Arenado (24). Stanton would finish the year with 27 after he suffered a broken wrist prior to the Midsummer Classic that ended his season. Frazier, had a disappointing second half of the 2015 campaign with only 10 home runs, ending the year with a season high mark of 35 long balls.
For Harper and Arenado, the race was just beginning.
Heading into the month of September, Harper had 32 homers to Arenado’s 30, and as the month began, the Rockies third baseman went on a six-game homer streak to bring his total to a league-leading 36, a two homer edge over Harper through games of Sept. 5
Harper hit his 34th homer on Sept. 6 before tying Arenado with a two-homer game on Sept. 9, giving him 36. Arenado followed with his 37th of the year on Sept. 10 before Harper put on a show in Philadelphia when he clubbed four homers in a three-game series, giving him 40 for the year—making him the sixth youngest player in baseball history to reach 40 homers in a single season.
Arenado went on to club his 38th homer on Sept. 10, his 39th on Sept. 15 and his 40th on Sept. 26, bringing him within one of Harper’s league-leading 41. Arenado hit his 41st the following night before taking the lead with his final HR of the year on Oct. 2. With two games remaining in the Nationals schedule, Harper clubbed his 42nd dinger on Oct. 3 before ending the campaign on Oct. 4 without going deep. Both Arenado and Harper belted 42 homers, as they shared the N.L. home run crown for their first title of their promising careers.