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Watching the 1995 World Series between Cleveland and Atlanta.

I noticed Cleveland featured some bombers. Here they are with their career HR:

  • LF Albert Belle - 381
  • DH Eddie Murray - 504
  • 3B Jim Thome - 612
  • RF Manny Ramirez - 555

I searched for it but could not find definitively:

What single day lineup featured the highest total for career HR?

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    Haven't done the math, but the only one I can see off the top of my head might be '01 Cardinals... Mark McGwire and Pujols shared the lineup from time to time, having over 1200 HRs between them, plus Edmonds (393), Lankdford (238), for 1870 between the top 4 hitters; still almost 200 behind those four. Bobby Bonilla did play for that team (287), so perhaps there is a game that all five played in? Those Indians have Dave Winfield also, but I imagine he only DH'ed or PH'ed, so he wouldn't help. – Joe Jun 6 '20 at 2:09
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    Oh - JD Drew (242) also was on that team, and Bonilla did start a few times with the whole group above - never all six in a game I don't think, though, as there just wasn't room on the field for the six with only 3 OF and 2 CI spots. – Joe Jun 6 '20 at 2:16
5

STL in 2001 has a pretty powerful set of CI/OFs: Albert Pujols (656), Mark McGwire (583), Jim Edmonds (393), Bobby Bonilla (287), JD Drew (242), Ray Lankford (238). Only problem is the six never start a game together, so the most you ever get is five - pretty sure every possible combination of 5 happens once, or at least most of them. The five that exclude JD Drew happened fairly often until Lankford was traded; that's 2157 HRs from your top five bats!

The biggest HR day of that team was on 7/6 at CLE, where they conveniently had the designated hitter; that starting lineup hit a massive 2503 HR for their careers, and left out only JD Drew. (Craig Paquette filled in as the sixth CI/OF/DH, adding his 99 career home runs to the 140 of Edgar Renteria, 40 of Fernando Vina, and 67 of eventual manager Mike Matheny, plus the 2157 above.

(If you're including anyone who makes an appearance in the game, then STL 2001 has some that all six of their big hitters appear in, plus Mabry or Polanco, which would add around 150 more to that total.)

However, this doesn't surpass 1995 CLE's normal starting lineup; that had 2669 HRs.

Even more astounding, you missed the player with the fourth highest home run total on that team. Belle only came in fifth; Dave Winfield was an occasional DH on the team, with 465 career HRs. On https://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CLE/CLE199505100.shtml for example, all five started; the team that day had 2,968 home runs by my calculations. That total is repeated a few other times that season, but never exceeded.


All of that, though, doesn't beat the Bronx Bombers of 2005. They had a killer lineup as well, led by Alex Rodriguez (696), Gary Sheffield (509), and Jason Giambi (440); but what sealed the deal was their middle infield, Derek Jeter and Robinson Cano, hitting for major power - 260 for Jeter and 324 for Cano. Most teams (like the aforementioned Indians) got nearly all of their power from the outfield and the corner infield, but the Yankees didn't have a player to hit for less than 175 career HR - and that was Hideki Matsui, who certainly would've hit for more in the MLB if he'd spent more time over here. In fact, you could easily add over 300 HR if you wanted to count all of his homers with the Yomiuri Giants - but we won't for the purposes of this exercise.

On May 25, 2005, the starting lineup against the hapless Tigers hit for 3,305 career homers - none on that day, which is excusable since they probably were tired after going yard six times the day before.


One limitation of the python program I wrote to scrape this data is that it's quite hard to get information about pitchers, compared to hitters, due to some oddities of how Baseball Reference codes its (mostly easy to parse, except for this!) pages. So I decided to discard pitchers' totals, assuming it's unlikely that they'd make a difference, but will inspect any NL teams' totals that get close to the top in case it does.


Some followup: I finished running the program from 1969-present (something changed in the html formatting 1968->1969, and as I don't think there's any chance a pre-1969 team beats out the 'roid era I'm not going to chase it down right now), and think it's correctly handling pitchers now. No NL team gets into the top 25, unsurprisingly. The 2003 SF Giants are the highest NL team, just beating out 2001's STL and 2000's ATL with 2522 (ATL had 2514 and STL as noted above had 2503).

Counting only one appearance per year, here are the top 30:

 Game number, date, opp, result  HR#   Team Year
-------------------------------  ----  ---  ----
 46. Wed,5/25 vs DET W (4-2)#    3305  NYY  2005
   24. Wed,5/2 vs BAL L (0-5)    3223  NYY  2012
158. Wed,9/27 vs BAL W (16-5)    3202  NYY  2006
   5. Tue,4/5 vs MIN L (4-5)#    3178  NYY  2011
  105. Mon,8/2 vs TOR L (6-8)    3043  NYY  2010
37. Sun,5/11 vs CLE W (17-10)    2992  TEX  2003
  7. Sat,4/10 vs CHW L (3-7)#    2989  NYY  2004
 13. Wed,5/10 vs KCR W (3-2)#    2968  CLE  1995
 119. Tue,8/12 vs KCR W (9-0)    2876  CHW  2008
  22. Sat,4/28 vs BOS W (3-1)    2837  NYY  2007
    1. Tue,4/1 vs TOR W (3-2)    2837  NYY  2008
135. Fri,8/30 at SEA W (5-2)#    2821  BAL  1996
 45. Wed,5/23 at TBD L (6-10)    2805  TEX  2001
   56. Sun,6/7 vs TBR W (4-3)    2763  NYY  2009
 137. Mon,9/2 vs CHW W (9-1)#    2753  NYY  2013
   5. Fri,4/5 vs ANA L (1-3)#    2751  TEX  2002
  48. Tue,5/27 at CHW L (2-8)    2743  CLE  1997
  94. Thu,7/17 vs CLE W (5-4)    2720  NYY  2003
  19. Tue,4/21 at ANA W (8-3)    2702  BAL  1998
    1. Tue,4/2 vs NYY L (1-7)    2681  CLE  1996
   5. Mon,4/11 at CAL W (9-6)    2674  CLE  1994
 146. Thu,9/16 vs NYY L (5-9)    2611  CLE  1999
 109. Fri,8/6 vs NYY L (8-11)    2582  SEA  1999
  139. Thu,9/5 vs DET W (9-3)    2569  NYY  2002
 101. Sat,7/30 at CHW L (2-4)    2564  SEA  1994
  97. Sat,7/19 vs DET W (6-2)    2558  CHW  2003
  141. Sun,9/6 vs BAL L (2-5)    2550  SEA  1998
 38. Tue,5/19 vs NYY W (4-2)#    2540  OAK  1987
    1. Mon,4/3 at BAL W (4-1)    2533  CLE  2000
 110. Tue,8/13 at BAL L (7-8)    2527  TEX  1991

And just for fun, the bottom 20 - this is not the least home runs in a lineup, but rather the least most home runs in a calendar year (so this number here is the lineup with the most career HR, as of today, that team had in that year).

 Game number, date, opp, result  HR#   Team Year
-------------------------------  ----  ---  ----
   3. Mon,4/2 at TOR L (2-4)#     608  CHW  2018
   2. Sat,3/30 at KCR L (6-8)     605  CHW  2019
 63. Tue,6/13 at BOS L (3-4)#     604  PHI  2017
  86. Sun,7/16 at BOS L (2-3)     595  MIN  1978
 94. Sun,7/30 at HOU L (3-4)#     587  SDP  1972
  50. Wed,5/31 vs STL L (4-5)     576  NYM  1978
   82. Sun,7/3 vs NYM W (7-0)     569  SDP  1994
78. Wed,6/26 at HOU W (14-2)#     564  PIT  2019
  45. Wed,5/30 vs OAK L (4-5)     552  MIN  1979
 152. Tue,9/20 at MIL L (1-5)     545  SEA  1977
151. Fri,9/19 vs ATL L (3-12)     545  SDP  1969
  9. Wed,4/15 at ATL L (5-7)#     542  SDP  1970
 66. Wed,6/18 at KCR L (0-13)     537  CAL  1975
  88. Sat,7/12 vs CHW W (7-0)     530  KCR  1969
 144. Sat,9/7 vs TOR W (5-3)#     517  TBR  2019
 95. Sun,7/18 at CIN L (0-3)#     493  SDP  1971
  69. Thu,6/25 vs MIN W (4-1)     491  MIL  1970
 26. Sat,4/29 at SFG W (12-4)     479  SDP  2017
  19. Wed,4/29 at CIN L (5-8)     472  SDP  1981

Congratulations, San Diego Padres, you finally are the best at something!

And finally - here is the python file: https://github.com/snoopy369/Sports.SE/blob/master/hr_totals.py

Feel free to branch it and make it your own, maybe someone can fix the 1968-before pulls - I have no idea why those aren't working!

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  • Are these the numbers at their maximum and back-seeking the highest combination, or the HRs scored as of the date of the game being described? – Nij Jun 6 '20 at 3:48
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    Career totals - as the OP provided. – Joe Jun 6 '20 at 4:07
  • Excellent research. Thanks for putting in the work – Jason P Sallinger Jun 6 '20 at 18:26
  • Edited as I wrote a program to confirm this, and did so with 1995 CLE (confirmed 2968 as max). I will see if I can run it on other years - not sure if BBREF will let me pull the number of pages needed to verify this for every team in every year, as that would be ... many. – Joe Jun 7 '20 at 5:27
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    Well, kicked it off with 1960-2019, wish me luck not getting IP banned from BBREF ;) It's unlikely anyone 2010+ would have a high total, given most teams wouldn't have players that had completed their careers in that range, so I suspect that if anyone does beat that total it'll be someone from the Steroid Era, 90s or early 2000s, but I figured I'd include the 1960 Yankees and the Big Red Machine and such in case I'm being blind to something from back then (1960 yankees did have some big numbers, but not big enough I don't think...) – Joe Jun 7 '20 at 6:36

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