Homers for the hometown

In honor of Stan Musial’s 90th birthday today and inspired by George Vescey’s column in The New York Times, I was curious to see which towns produced the most prolific home run duos in history. Stan and Ken Griffey Jr., representing Donora, Pa., were bumped down from third to fourth late this season when a New York-born slugger added on to his total for his New York team.

I filtered the top home-run hitters born in the United States on Baseball-Reference, then arranged them by birthplace as listed on the site and got these top duos:

Mobile, Ala. (Hank Aaron 755, Willie McCovey 521), 1,276

Baltimore (Babe Ruth 714, Al Kaline 399): 1,113

New York (Alex Rodriguez 613, Lou Gehrig 493), 1,106

Donora, Pa. (Ken Griffey Jr. 630, Stan Musial 475), 1,105

Riverside, Calif. (Barry Bonds 762, Bobby Bonds 332), 1,094

Tampa (Gary Sheffield 509, Fred McGriff 493), 1,002

Los Angeles (Eddie Murray 504, Duke Snider 407), 911

San Diego (Ted Williams 521, Graig Nettles 390), 911

Beaumont, Texas (Frank Robinson 586, Gus Zernial 237): 823

Oklahoma City (Joe Carter 396, Johnny Bench 389), 785

Portland, Ore. (Dale Murphy 398, Richie Sexson 306), 704

St. Paul, Minn. (Dave Winfield 465, Paul Molitor 234), 699

Shreveport, La. (Albert Belle 381, Reggie Smith 314), 695

St. Louis (Yogi Berra 358, Roy Sievers 318), 676

Sacramento (Greg Vaughn 355, Derrek Lee 312), 667

Columbus, Ohio (Frank Howard 382, Paul O’Neill 281), 663

Chicago (Greg Luzinski 307, Fred Lynn 306), 613

Seattle (Ron Santo 342, John Olerud 255), 597

Westminster, Calif. (Jeromy Burnitz 315, Ryan Klesko 278), 593

New Orleans (Rusty Staub 292, Will Clark 284), 576

Pittsburgh (Hank Sauer 288, Frank Thomas 286), 574

El Cajon, Calif. (Brian Giles 287, Bret Boone 252), 539

Long Beach, Calif. (Tim Salmon 299, Jeff Burroughs 240), 539

Philadelphia (Del Ennis 288, Roy Campanella 242), 530

Tallahassee (Dean Palmer 275, J.D. Drew 238), 513

If we were to rank cities based on all American-born players in the top 200 results, we’d get these totals (players in parentheses below are in addition to the pairs above; the four towns in italics had no additional players in the top 200):

 

Los Angeles (Darryl Strawberry 335, Troy Glaus 320, Cecil Fielder 319, Garret Anderson 287, Eric Davis 282, Brian Downing 275, George Hendrick 267, Todd Zeile 253, Joe Gordon 253, Ray Lankford 238, Eric chavez 230), 3,970

New York (Rocky Colavito 374, Hank Greenberg 331, Edgar Martinez 309, Ken Singleton 246, Raul Ibanez 232), 2,598

Tampa (Luis Gonzalez 354, Tino Martinez 339, Steve Garvey 272), 1,967

San Diego (Deron Johnson 245, Kevin Mitchell 234), 1,390

Chicago (Rickey Henderson 297, Wally Berger 242, Cliff Floyd 233), 1,385

Riverside, Calif. (Dusty Baker 242), 1,336

Oklahoma City (Bobby Murcer 252, Mickey Tettleton 245), 1,282

Mobile, Ala. (Hank Aaron 755, Willie McCovey 521), 1,276

Baltimore (Babe Ruth 714, Al Kaline 399): 1,113

New York (Alex Rodriguez 613, Lou Gehrig 493), 1,106

Donora, Pa. (Ken Griffey Jr. 630, Stan Musial 475), 1,105

St. Louis (Ryan Howard 253), 929

And, lastly, I was curious how the list might look when accounting for home runs per capita. Of course, we’d have to take into account all cities, because … well, as you’ll see, Jimmie Foxx hit a homer for every person in his tiny hometown.

Sudlersville, Md. (Foxx), 534 homers/396 population, 1.34 HR/person

Spavinaw, Okla. (Mantle), 536 homers/582 population, 0.92 HR/person

Earlsboro, Okla. (Stargell), 475 homers/667 population, 0.71 HR/person

Westfield, Ala. (Mays), 660 homers/1,403 population, 0.47 HR/person

Donora, Pa. (Griffey/Musial), 1,105 homers/5,253 population, 0.21 HR/person

Now, in no way is this a scientific study. It’s something I threw together on a Sunday afternoon watching football, using 2000 census data. Numbers for Sudlersville, Md., were not available before 1990, so it’s likely that fewer than 396 people lived in the hamlet when Foxx was born in 1907. But these are the numbers available, so that’s what I used. And to keep it consistent, I went with the 2000 census data for all towns. Ideally, I would’ve averaged the populations for the towns and cities over the time period from the first-born player on the list to the most recent, but that would involve numbers and formulas that no one should be playing around with on a Sunday afternoon.

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