MLB's Most Memorable Single-Season Home Run Performances of the 2000s

Everybody digs the long ball. There is no doubt about it, the home run that puts butts in the seats for baseball. While we witnessed Aaron Judge chase the American League and New York Yankees single-season record, each at-bat is looked upon as a possible snapshot that will go down in history. Judge already joined an elite group by becoming the 47th player to hit 50 home runs in a season earlier this year and has now etched his name into baseball lore forever. Perhaps most impressive, he did it in the House that fellow 50+ home run hitters Babe Ruth, Roger Maris, and Mickey Mantle built.

As Judge’s 62nd home run flew over the outfield wall in Texas, it got us thinking about some of the other most impressive and surprising single-season power displays in the past 25 years.

Miami Marlins Giancarlo Stanton – 59 Home Runs in 2017

A year before becoming Judge’s teammate, Giancarlo Stanton was ripping baseball in the Florida heat. Stanton had a memorable season for his last year in Miami with a career-best 59 home runs and personal-best 132 RBI. The man formerly known as Mike led the league in both categories on his way to winning the National League MVP.

The Summer of ’17 stands far and away the best season for Stanton, who had never reached 40 home runs before or after his MVP campaign. Perhaps the biggest boost for baseball was the power display not seen since the steroid era when Barry Bonds hit 73, and Sammy Sosa nailed 64 in 2001.

His 59 home runs towered over second-place finisher Cody Bellinger’s 39, while in the AL, Aaron Judge put up his first 50 long ball campaign with 52 in his first full season.

Toronto Blue Jays Jose Bautista – 54 Home Runs in 2010

If there ever was a player to break out of his shell later in his career and storm onto the scene like no other, it has to be Jose Bautista. Bautista joined the Jays midway thru the 2008 season from Pittsburgh and played sparingly the rest of that year.

He showed promise in 2009 when the former Pirate launched 13 long balls in 336 at-bats for his new team. But coming into 2010 and his age 29 season, nobody could have predicted what was to come.

The Dominican slugger crushed his former career best of 16 with an American League-high 54 home runs. Keep in mind Bautista only hit 46 in three seasons between 2006-2008. Bautista had 15 more home runs than second-place finisher Paul Konerko while Albert Pujols led the Senior Circuit with 42. 

Arizona Diamondbacks Luis Gonzalez – 57 Home Runs in 2001

While Luis Gonzalez did not even lead the National League in homers with 57 in 2001, thanks to Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, like Bautista, his performance really came out of nowhere.

Gonzalez had already proven himself a solid major league hitter but was never known as a player with a great power stroke. The then 33-year-old had only one 30-HR campaign under his belt after hitting 31 the year before. The former Astro never reached the 30 mark again, never hitting more than 28 in a season for the rest of his career.

Gonzalez may have lost out on a HR title or MVP that season, but he got the last laugh leading his D-backs to the world title.

Philadelphia Phillies Ryan Howard – 58 Home Runs 2006

A year earlier, Ryan Howard announced his arrival to the big leagues with his first of many big seasons. Howard launched 22 home runs in just 88 games on his way to dominating the NL Rookie of the Year vote. What came next exceeded all expectations.

Despite hitting a home run every four games and showing obvious power in ’05, you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone that could see Howard’s 2006 season unfold. The Phillies’ first baseman put up video game numbers in his second season with 58 long balls and 149 RBI, topping MLB in both categories. Howard went deep nine more times than National League HR king runner-up Albert Pujols on his way to the NL MVP.

This was the first of four straight years where Howard pulverized the ball with no less than 45 homers in a season up until 2010. 

Complete List of Top HR Seasons of the 2000s

  • 2000 – CHC Sammy Sosa – 50 HR           
  • 2001 ARZ Luis Gonazlez – 57 HR         
  • 2001 TEX Alex Rodriguez – 52 HR
  • 2001 CHC Sammy Sosa – 64 HR
  • 2001 SF Barry Bonds – 73 HR
  • 2002 CLE Jim Thome – 52 HR
  • 2002 TEX Alex Rodriguez – 57 HR         
  • 2005 ATL Andruw Jones – 51 HR
  • 2006 BOS David Ortiz – 54 HR
  • 2006 PHI Ryan Howard – 58 HR         
  • 2007 MIL Prince Fielder – 50 HR
  • 2007 NYY Alex Rodriguez – 57 HR     
  • 2010 TOR Jose Bautista – 54 HR
  • 2013 BAL Chris Davis – 53 HR
  • 2017 NYY Aaron Judge – 52 HR
  • 2017 MIA Giancarlo Stanton – 59 HR
  • 2019 NYM Pete Alonso – 53 HR
  • 2021 Aaron Judge – 62 HR (and counting)