Top 9 Players in MLB History to Hit 600 Home Runs

June 7, 2017

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Every year MLB players reach milestones that keep the fans interested and looking forward to what’s coming next. Baseball is numbers game and it’s quite exciting for the fans to see players accumulate round numbers over the course of their careers.

On June 3, 2017 Albert Pujols of the Los Angeles Angels hit a grand slam to reach 600 career home runs, becoming the 9th player in MLB history to achieve the milestone. The Dominican veteran is the fourth youngest player to make it to the elite list and the first to reach it in a theatrical style – a grand slam. Fireworks soared and the crowd roared as the 37-year old hit his 9th home run of the season and 155th for the LA Angels.

On the occasion of this achievement, let’s take a look back and celebrate the players who joined the exclusive club before Pujols.

Babe Ruth

Born as George Herman Ruth, Jr., but fondly known as Babe Ruth, the lefthander batsman is considered to be one of the best players to have ever graced the game. On August 21, 1931, Babe Ruth became the first player in MLB history to hit 600 homers. And he was far from done. Before his last game on May 30, 1935, the Sultan of Swat eventually ran his final tally to 714. Babe Ruth was one of the first 5 MLB players to be inducted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame.

Named among the most prolific hitters in the game, Babe Ruth enjoyed a long and dynamic career that lasted for 22 seasons from 1914 till 1935. He started his baseball career with the Boston Red Sox and led them to 3 World Series championships.

Ruth found the most success with the New York Yankees, whom he represented from 1920 till 1934. He helped the side win 4 World Series titles and hit his 600 home run with the side.

Willie Mays

Mays started his baseball career with the San Francisco Giants in 1951 and played his last season with the New York Mets in 1973. In the baseball circle he was known as The Say Hey Kid, though it’s unclear how he got the nickname.  On September 22, 1969, he became the second player to reach the 600 home runs milestone. The feat was in fact achieved when he was past his prime. He finished his career with 660 home runs.

He remains the only player in baseball history to boast of five tools at an elite level – speed, hitting for power and average, fielding and arm strength.

Hailed among the greatest defensive outfielders in the game, his incredible combination of power-speed is rivaled by nobody.

Hank Aaron

His is the classic rag to riches story, as Hank Aaron grew up in humble surroundings to become one of the best baseball players of all time. Perhaps his biggest achievement is that he broke Babe Ruth’s hallowed home runs record of 714 in 1974 and finished his career with the total 755. On April 27, 1971 he joined Ruth and Mays in the 600 home runs club but was able to stretch his prime time in the sport.

Hank Aaron played 21 seasons for the Milwaukee/Atlanta Braves and 2 final seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers.

He was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1982 and his achievements include being among the Top 5 in career hits ranking, with the total of 3,771.

Barry Bonds

A child prodigy, Barry Bonds had it in his blood to be a great baseball player. His father Bobby Bongs was also a legendary player, winning 3 Golden Glove Awards. On August 8, 2002, Barry became the 4th player to reach the 600 home runs milestone. He went on to record more homers in his 22 seasons career and surpassed Hank Aaron’s record. He ended his run in 2007 but not before recording the most home runs – 762.

Barry started his career with the Pittsburgh Pirates and was with them from 1986 till 1992. He later joined the San Francisco Giants in 1993 and played his last season with them in 2007.

At the time of retirement, Barry was 14 times All Star player and had won 8 Golden Glove Awards.

Sammy Sosa

Sosa spent most of his time with the Chicago Cubs from 1992 to 2004 and was their strongest hitter. His 600 home run however came with the Texas Rangers with whom he also ended his baseball career in 2007. Sammy reached the milestone on June 20, 2007 amidst the loud blaring of the theme from “The Natural” at the Rangers Ballpark. He retired soon after but not before becoming the 5th man in the MLB history to join the elite list with the final count of 609.

Sosa is a 6-time NL Silver Slugger Award winner and thrice was the leading run scorer in NL (1998, 2001, 2002).

As a Cubs player in 1998, he was caught up in the runs race with St. Louis Cardinals’ Mark McGwire to see who will break Roger Maris’s record of hitting 61 home runs in a season. McGwire beat him to it by hitting 70 first, while Sammy was not far behind with 66 runs.

Ken Griffey Jr.

Popularly known as Junior and The Kid, Ken was among the best power hitters in the 90s, who dominated the game with his bat. His baseball career was divided between the Seattle Mariners with whom he made his debut in 1989 and later with the Cincinnati Reds from 2000 till 2008. He joined the 600 homer club on June 9, 2008 and managed to add 30 more before retiring in 2010. He played his last game for the Seattle Mariners as he was traded back for the final season.

Junior hit 630 home runs before hanging his baseball cap for good. As talented as he was, many believed that he would be the one to break Hank Aaron’s record and not Barry Bonds. But injuries hampered his career and he fell short of reaching the 700 ranks.

In 2016, Junior was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, adding to his already impressive list of achievements.

Alex Rodriguez

Even though his career was tinted with controversies, there’s no denying that Alex Rodriguez was one of the most talented players in baseball history. His 22 seasons are divided through his association with the Seattle Mariners, Texas Rangers and New York Yankees. A-Rod became the 7th player in history to hit 600 home runs and he achieved the feat on August 4, 2010 as a Yankee. Injuries and suspension issues ended his 700 home runs chase and he retired after putting an impressive 696 in the history books.

At 34, A-Rod was the youngest player to join the elite 600 club. He played his final game on August 12, 2016 wearing the Yankee pinstripes for one last time.

Rodriguez ranks at number four in the all-time highest home runs list and is an all-time grand slam leader.

Jim Thome

Making his debut in 1991 with the Cleveland Indians, Jim Thome played 22 seasons for six different teams. He worked hard to be become a classic slugger and on August 15, 2011 he joined the ranks of the greats.

Playing for the Minnesota Twins at the time, Thome hit his 600th career home run at the Detroit’s Comerica Park against the Tigers. As he sent the ball flying over the left field, his opponents applauded and his teammates rushed from the dugout to celebrate the milestone.

Before his retirement on October 3, 2012, Thome raked up the total to 612, placing him at 7th position.

Albert Pujols

The most recent addition to this list is Albert Pujols. In his 17 seasons so far, with both the St. Louis Cardinals and Los Angeles Angels, Pujols has become one of the most dominant players in the open era. He reached the milestone on June 3, 2017 against the Minnesota Twins.

At 37, the Angels designated hitter has become the 4th youngest member of the club, behind only Ruth, A-Rod and Aaron.

Taking place in the fourth inning, Pujols is the only player in this 9-member exclusive club to hit a grand slam for his 600th career homer.

 

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