In Major League Baseball (MLB), the 50 home run club is the group of batters who have hit 50 or more home runs in a single season. Babe Ruth was the first to achieve this, doing so in 1920. By reaching the milestone, he also became the first player to hit 30 and then 40 home runs in a single-season, breaking his own record of 29 from the 1919 season. Ruth subsequently became the first player to reach the 50 home run club on four occasions, repeating the achievement in 1921, 1927 and 1928. He remained the only player to accomplish this until Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa matched his feat in 1999 and 2001, respectively, thus becoming the only players to achieve four consecutive 50 home run seasons. Barry Bonds hit the most home runs to join the club, collecting 73 in 2001. The most recent player to reach the milestone is Pete Alonso, achieving the feat during the 2019 season.
In total, 30 players have reached the 50 home run club in MLB history and nine have done so more than once. Of these, eighteen were right-handed batters, eleven were left-handed, and one was a switch hitter, meaning he could bat from either side of the plate. Five of these players (including three active members of the 50 home run club) have played for only one major league team. The New York Yankees are the only franchise to have five players reach the milestone while on their roster: Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Roger Maris, Alex Rodriguez, and Aaron Judge. Ten players are also members of the 500 home run club and two of them (Willie Mays and Rodriguez) are also members of the 3,000 hit club. Ten players won the Most Valuable Player (MVP) Award in the same year as their 50 home run season. Mantle is the only player to have earned the Major League Triple Crown alongside achieving 50 home runs, leading both leagues in batting average, home runs and runs batted in (RBI). Mantle and Maris—collectively known as the M&M Boys—are the only teammates to reach the 50 home run club in the same season, hitting a combined 115 home runs in 1961 and breaking the single-season record for home runs by a pair of teammates. Albert Belle is the only player to amass 50 or more doubles in addition to attaining 50 home runs. Prince Fielder, at 23 years and 139 days, was the youngest player to reach the milestone while Bonds, at age 37, was the oldest. Pete Alonso and Aaron Judge are the only players to hit 50 home runs in their rookie seasons.
Due to the infrequent addition of members into the 50 home run club, Baseball Digest called it "a restrictive fraternity comprising slugging elite" in 1954, when there were only six members. Of the seventeen members eligible for the Baseball Hall of Fame, eight have been elected and three were elected on the first ballot. Eligibility requires that a player has "been retired five seasons" or deceased for at least six months, disqualifying four active players and five players who have been retired for less than five seasons. Some believe the milestone has become less important with the large number of new members; fifteen players joined the club on a total of 24 occasions from 1995 to 2010. Additionally, several of these recent members have had ties to performance-enhancing drugs.
|Year||The year the player's 50 home run season occurred|
|Player (X)||Name of the player and number of 50 home run seasons they had accomplished at that point|
|Team||The player's team for his 50 home run season|
|HR||Number of home runs in that season|
|Career HR||The number of home runs the player hit in his MLB career|
|^||Denotes single-season home run record progression|
|Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame|
|Player is active|
|1920||Babe Ruth||New York Yankees||54^||714|||
|1921||Babe Ruth (2)||New York Yankees||59^||714|||
|1927||Babe Ruth (3)||New York Yankees||60^||714|||
|1928||Babe Ruth (4)||New York Yankees||54||714|||
|1930||Hack Wilson||Chicago Cubs||56||244|||
|1932||Jimmie Foxx||Philadelphia Athletics||58||534|||
|1938||Jimmie Foxx (2)||Boston Red Sox||50||534|||
|1938||Hank Greenberg||Detroit Tigers||58||331|||
|1947||Johnny Mize||New York Giants||51||359|||
|1947||Ralph Kiner||Pittsburgh Pirates||51||369|||
|1949||Ralph Kiner (2)||Pittsburgh Pirates||54||369|||
|1955||Willie Mays||New York Giants||51||660|||
|1956||Mickey Mantle||New York Yankees||52||536|||
|1961||Mickey Mantle (2)||New York Yankees||54||536|||
|1961||Roger Maris||New York Yankees||61^||275|||
|1965||Willie Mays (2)||San Francisco Giants||52||660|||
|1977||George Foster||Cincinnati Reds||52||348|||
|1990||Cecil Fielder||Detroit Tigers||51||319|||
|1995||Albert Belle||Cleveland Indians||50||381|||
|1996||Brady Anderson||Baltimore Orioles||50||210|||
|1996||Mark McGwire||Oakland Athletics||52||583|||
|1997||Ken Griffey Jr.||Seattle Mariners||56||630|||
|1997||Mark McGwire (2)||Oakland Athletics
St. Louis Cardinals
|1998||Greg Vaughn||San Diego Padres||50||355|||
|1998||Ken Griffey Jr. (2)||Seattle Mariners||56||630|||
|1998||Sammy Sosa||Chicago Cubs||66||609|||
|1998||Mark McGwire (3)||St. Louis Cardinals||70^||583|||
|1999||Sammy Sosa (2)||Chicago Cubs||63||609|||
|1999||Mark McGwire (4)||St. Louis Cardinals||65||583|||
|2000||Sammy Sosa (3)||Chicago Cubs||50||609|||
|2001||Alex Rodriguez||Texas Rangers||52||696|||
|2001||Luis Gonzalez||Arizona Diamondbacks||57||354|||
|2001||Sammy Sosa (4)||Chicago Cubs||64||609|||
|2001||Barry Bonds||San Francisco Giants||73^||762|||
|2002||Jim Thome||Cleveland Indians||52||612|||
|2002||Alex Rodriguez (2)||Texas Rangers||57||696|||
|2005||Andruw Jones||Atlanta Braves||51||434|||
|2006||Ryan Howard||Philadelphia Phillies||58||382|||
|2006||David Ortiz||Boston Red Sox||54||541|||
|2007||Alex Rodriguez (3)||New York Yankees||54||696|||
|2007||Prince Fielder||Milwaukee Brewers||50||319|||
|2010||José Bautista||Toronto Blue Jays||54||344|||
|2013||Chris Davis||Baltimore Orioles||53||295|||
|2017||Giancarlo Stanton||Miami Marlins||59||347|||
|2017||Aaron Judge||New York Yankees||52||158|||
|2019||Pete Alonso||New York Mets||53||106|||
Larry Walker...missed joining McGwire and Griffey in the 50 home run club (49).
Bautista['s]...next blast will put him in the 50 home run club.
Mantle took the triple crown in 1956 when he batted .353 with 52 home runs and 130 runs batted in.
Mantle, who won the triple batting crown..., became the eighth man in history to win the batting, home run and runs batted in titles in one season. [He] led the league, both leagues in fact, with a .353 batting average, 52 homers and 130 runs batted in.[permanent dead link]
[T]heir combined total of 115 still stands as the benchmark for teammates.
[Maris] and Mantle...broke the record for most single-season home runs by a pair of teammates.
In 1995,...he became the first player to amass 50 doubles and 50 homers in the same year.
[H]e became the first player to hit 50 homers and 50 doubles in 1995.
Not as exclusive as the "Four Homers in One Game Club" but, nevertheless, a restrictive sort of fraternity is that comprising batters who have blasted 50—or more—home runs in one season. This group of slugging elite...[permanent dead link]
I think it takes some of the luster off the numbers that some of the best players established...
Where 50 home runs in a season once meant something (just 18 players did it before 1995), 16 have since...
McGwire has admitted to using steroids during his career and Sosa and Bonds have been dogged by allegations.