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A first in 15 years: 2014 will open without a member of the 500-HR club

Feb 1, 2014, 3:09 PM EDT

Albert Pujols Getty Images

With Alex Rodriguez spending the season on the restricted list, this season will be the first since 1999 to begin without a member of the 500-homer club on a major league roster.

The last time MLB was played without a 500-HR guy was 15 years ago. Eddie Murray retired after the 1997 season, leaving a void until Mark McGwire joined the 500-homer club in Aug. 1999.

Of course, one could say this is all semantics. After all, there were no 500-homer guys on an active roster last Opening Day either, though A-Rod was just on the disabled list then. And while Rodriguez won’t be on a major league roster this year, he certainly still qualifies as an active player.

Regardless, the 500-homer club won’t be empty for too long: Albert Pujols is just eight bombs away at 492. He is the lone candidate to get there this year, though. Adam Dunn (440), Jason Giambi (438) and Paul Konerko (434) are next on the list, and all are likely entering their final seasons. David Ortiz (431) has a shot if he can remain a full-time DH into 2016. Alfonso Soriano is at 406 as he enters his age-38 season. After Pujols gets there, it’s possible no one will join him until Miguel Cabrera, who is at 365 through age 30.

Prior to 1999, it wasn’t uncommon for the league to be without a 500-homer guy. There were none from the time Mike Schmidt retired in 1989 until Murray joined in Sept. 1996. There were also none from 1981-Sept. 1984, when Reggie Jackson hit his 500th. The current streak of having a 500-homer guy active is the longest in history. Before this, the longest was Sept. 1965, when Willie Mays got there, until 1976, when Hank Aaron and Frank Robinson retired.

  1. cocheese000 - Feb 1, 2014 at 3:35 PM

    Wow, skinny soriano has over 400 hrs

    • maikoch - Feb 1, 2014 at 3:37 PM

      Well, he WAS a teammate of Alex Rodriguez and Jason Giambi, if you know what I mean.

    • tfbuckfutter - Feb 1, 2014 at 3:38 PM

      I am never not amazed by the fact that he and Jeter are the same age.

  2. angrytwitterguy - Feb 1, 2014 at 3:58 PM

    Eddie Murray, what a great player, too bad the O’s traded him and part of their soul for some magic beans.

  3. cohnjusack - Feb 1, 2014 at 4:10 PM

    Active Home Run Leaders and their chance at 500:

    Albert Pujols — 97%
    Adam Dunn — 97% (now way in hell that’s happening barring some epic comeback)
    Jason Giambi — 0%
    Paul Konerko — 25% (I’d put this one closer to zero as I’m betting this is his last year)
    David Ortiz — 50%
    Alfonso Soriano — 35%
    Adrian Beltre — 54%
    Miguel Cabrera — 97%
    Carlos Beltran — 6%
    Aramis Ramirez — 0%
    Mark Teixeira — 0%
    Torri Hunter — 0%
    Ryan Howard — 0%

    Other players with over 200 HR who register a chance
    Prince Fielder — 43%
    Ryan Braun — 3%
    Robinson Cano — 9%

    • cohnjusack - Feb 1, 2014 at 4:16 PM

      (EDIT: Used Bill James Favorite Toy for percentage ).

    • biasedhomer - Feb 1, 2014 at 7:29 PM

      Dunn hit over 30 jacks last year, at the age of 33. Don’t really see why he would need an “epic comeback”, unless you are talking about him reaching 500 HRs this year. But over the course of 2 seasons, he should have a decent shot at reaching that mark.

      • cohnjusack - Feb 1, 2014 at 7:59 PM

        Because his contract is up after this season and I can’t see him getting another deal where he plays full time. He can’t field, hit lefties and putting up league average OPS entering his mid-30s.

      • genericcommenter - Feb 2, 2014 at 12:34 PM

        Jason Giambi was 3 years older than Dunn when his contract was up, and he has managed to get over 1050 PAs since the last time he was a useful regular player. Jim Thome got 850 PAs after his last real contract at the age of 39+, Matt Stairs was never good (well he had a good season when he was 30), and he got around 3000 PAs after age 35 and signed 3 contracts in his 40s.

        After this season, Dunn will be the equivalent of 1 full season away from 500, and will be 35. If he could find around 1000 PAs including this season, he’s pretty much guaranteed. Even if he platooned at DH, he could get 400 PAs per season against righties. He hit 28 HRs just last season and OPS .786.

    • lazlosother - Feb 1, 2014 at 10:02 PM

      The only player I’d bet on besides Pujols is Beltre. Dude can hit, though is OBP could be higher. I think he goes to the hall.

  4. esracerx46 - Feb 1, 2014 at 4:10 PM

    I doubt this is Adam Dunn’s last season. A guy that hit .219 but also hit 34 homers finds a way on a Major League roster.

    • angrytwitterguy - Feb 1, 2014 at 4:15 PM

      Fact is Dunn can bat .219 and .204 and long as he’s still getting on base at a .320 and .333 rate to go with the power.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Feb 1, 2014 at 4:15 PM

      Oh, I’m sure he’ll have work if he wants it. But it sounds like he’s about ready to wrap it up. He’s not really the baseball lifer-type.

      • angrytwitterguy - Feb 1, 2014 at 4:26 PM

        JP Ricciardi…..are you posting under Pouliot’s account?

      • tuberippin - Feb 1, 2014 at 8:34 PM

        He’s always said he’d quit the game when he stopped having fun.

        And he stuck around after that horrendous first season in Chicago where his OPS was around .550 and he hit like .156, so I could certainly see him sticking it out another year or two for a few million a year and end up at 500.

        He’s not going to stick around on minor-league deals just for the essence of being part of the game like Jason Giambi has, but Dunn hitting 500 seems about as likely to me as Ortiz hitting 500 HRs.

        Pujols will get there, Beltre will probably get there, Cabrera will get there, Dunn and Ortiz are 50/50 bets to get there. Doubt anyone else gets in for a while.

    • cohnjusack - Feb 1, 2014 at 4:18 PM

      Maybe, but only if he accepts a pretty steep price cut and possibly a bench role or platoon DH. He can’t field, is helpless against left-handed pitching. Either way, I think the odds of him hitting 500 are pretty low.

      • angrytwitterguy - Feb 1, 2014 at 4:29 PM

        Adam Dunn hits lefties just as poorly as righties

      • angrytwitterguy - Feb 1, 2014 at 4:31 PM

        And actually, Dunn hit Lefties better than Righties last season and for his entire career.

        You must have him confused with someone else

      • cohnjusack - Feb 1, 2014 at 6:21 PM

        I *loathe* when people attempt to correct and are dead f**king wrong. It takes two seconds to look this angrytwitterguy:

        2013: V RHP: .226/.327/.459
        2013: V LHP : 196/.296/.385

        2012: V RHP .211/.348/.469
        2012: V LHP .191/.302/.464

        2011: V RHP .187/.310/.336
        2011: V LHP .064/.235/.074

        2010: V RHP .286/.379/.587
        2010: V LHP .199/.304/.416

        2009: V RHP .267/.414/.564
        2009: V LHP .268/.351/.436

        2008: V RHP .253/.400/.551
        2008: V LHP .195/.351/.422

        2007: V RHP .278/.404/.620
        2007: V LHP .239/.353/.436

        For his career, his OPS against righties is over 100 points higher. What insane universe do you live in in which a 100 points lower OPS is “better”.

      • angrytwitterguy - Feb 1, 2014 at 8:40 PM

        Hey you massive douche, at what point did you think that anyone cares what you loathe?

        Adam Dunn career vs Lefty .220/.338/.441
        Adam Dunn career vs Righty .246/.378/.518

        Im not the jackwagon who calls Dunn “helpless” vs LHP, fact is LOOGY’s are very effective vs Dunn but Dunn hits lefty starters better than righty starters.

        Adam Dunn Career vs Lefty starters
        compared to his career vs Righty starters

        Ya ya you think Dunn won’t last much longer MLB because of his inability to hit lefties, because it’s soooooooooooooooooo much different than righties.

        So again you jerk-off, nobody gives a f’ck about how pathetic you are that you get bent when someone corrects you.
        You’re just some idiot who thinks that pointing out that Dunn having a career OPS 100 points less vs all lefties than righties means he’s helpless.

        Know who else hits a 100 points less vs lefties? Barry Bonds, and pretty much every F’ing left hand hitter in the history of the f’in game.

        Barry Bonds vs Lefty starters
        1.059 OPS
        Bonds vs all Leftys
        .986 OPS
        Bonds vs all Righties
        1.084 OPS

        Go seek a therapist if it bothers you so much you jerkoff, because pathetic losers like you need help if you “loathe” such things.

        Or maybe “Loathe” is just another example of your failure with hyperbole just like it was when you suggested that he is “helpless” to the point of needing to be platooned or just leaving the game all together.


      • angrytwitterguy - Feb 1, 2014 at 8:50 PM

        Oh ya Dunn has a 104 wRC+ career vs LHP’s

        Do you know what that means?
        I’ll tell you it doesn’t mean, it doesn’t mean he’s helpless

      • cohnjusack - Feb 1, 2014 at 9:25 PM

        Sorry, you’re totally right. It was crazy to refer to a player who hasn’t hit over .200 against lefties in the last four years as “helpless”.

      • cohnjusack - Feb 1, 2014 at 9:27 PM

        And yes, Dunn IS so much different against righties when you look at his numbers in the past friggin decade! See the post above yours where numbers illustrate this.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Feb 1, 2014 at 10:56 PM

        Ya ya you think Dunn won’t last much longer MLB because of his inability to hit lefties, because it’s soooooooooooooooooo much different than righties.

        It is, last 4 years:

        RHP – .230/.342/.469 – .811 OPS
        LHP – .173/.290/.368 – .685 OPS

        Not sure why you are using his career numbers. How well, or not well, he did in his first few years has no bearing on what he’s going to do next year.

  5. elvin2014 - Feb 1, 2014 at 4:14 PM

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    Watch live online the 2014 Caribbean Baseball Series now:

  7. mnwildfan15 - Feb 1, 2014 at 4:42 PM

    Hey someone(Twins) could sign Thome before spring training.

    • happytwinsfan - Feb 1, 2014 at 7:28 PM

      love jim thome but we ain’t that desperate

    • cackalackyank - Feb 1, 2014 at 8:48 PM

      Yeah kinda weird. The Indians will build him a statue, but they will not offer him a minor league contract. Thome is probably no worse than the Giambino.

  8. doctorofsmuganomics - Feb 2, 2014 at 3:23 PM

    Go Miggy Poco

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