By Gary Hill
The Seattle Mariners clubbed a staggering 132 home runs in the first half of the season. They hit the second-most long balls in the Major Leagues this season and the fifth-most they have ever slugged in the first half of a season. They are on pace to finish with 240 homers which would put them in exclusive Mariners company and tie them for the 15th-most in Major League history.
Only three M’s teams have finished with more than 240 home runs in a season:
1. 1997: 264 home runs (#1 in MLB history)
Leaders: Griffey, 56; Buhner, 40; Sorrento 31; Edgar, 28; Rodriguez, 23.
2. 1996: 245 home runs (Tied for #7 in MLB history)
Leaders: Griffey 49; Buhner, 44; Rodriguez, 36; Edgar, 26; Sorrento, 23.
3. 1999: 244 home runs (Tied for #9 in MLB history)
Leaders: Griffey, 48; Rodriguez, 42; Edgar, 24; Bell, 21; Davis, 21.
The 2016 Mariners have bashed themselves into the realm with some of the most elite home run hitting teams in the franchise’s history. The mid-to-late ’90s Mariners featured a fearsome collection of big bats, including Hall-of-Famer Ken Griffey Jr. From 1996 to 1999, Griffey slugged an astonishing 209 homers. Edgar Martinez (107), Alex Rodriguez (143) and Jay Buhner (113) joined him to help form a devastating offense.
However, the ‘16 version of the Mariners accomplished something no previous Mariners team ever did. Seven different Mariners finished with double-digit homers by the All-Star Break.
- Nelson Cruz:23
- Robinson Cano: 21
- Kyle Seager: 18
- Adam Lind: 13
- Dae-Ho Lee: 12
- Leonys Martin: 11
- Seth Smith: 11
Only 14 teams in history claimed seven different players with double-figure first-half homers. The most recent team to do it was Robinson Canó’s 2012 New York Yankees.
The Mariners were also just one Franklin Gutierrez home run away from giving them a record-tying eight players in double figures by the All-Star Break. Only three teams in history can make that claim:
- The 2010 Toronto Blue Jays, who had Adam Lind hit 12 first-half homers.
- The New York Yankees, for which Robinson Canó hit 13 home runs in the first half.
- The 2004 New York Yankees
Individual achievements for the M’s this season have been numerous and impressive.
Nelson Cruz has already bashed 23 homers this season which is tied for 3rd in the AL. In just a season and a half, Cruz is only five homers away from tying John Olerud and Dave Valle and pushing his way into the top 20 in M’s history. Since the start of 2014, no player has hit more homers than Cruz:
- Nelson Cruz: 107
- Edwin Encarnacion: 96
- Mike Trout: 95
- Chris Davis: 95
- David Ortiz: 94
Robinson Canó has reached the 20+ home run mark for the seventh time in his tremendous career. He continues to add to his legacy as one of the best offensive second baseman in the history of baseball. He has already claimed the sixth-most homers for any second baseman:
- Jeff Kent: 377
- Rogers Hornsby: 301
- Craig Biggio: 291
- Ryne Sandberg: 282
- Joe Morgan: 268
- Robinson Cano: 260
Kyle Seager stroked 18 home runs in the first half, which is tied for the most any M’s third baseman before the All-Star Break:
- Kyle Seager, 2016: 18
- Jim Presley, 1986: 18
- Jim Presley, 1985: 18
The list of batters who have hit over .260 and cracked 20 or more homers the last three seasons is very short and Seager looks poised to make it four in a row:
- Mike Trout
- Kyle Seager
- David Ortiz
- Andrew McCutchen
- Adam Jones
- Adrian Gonzalez
- Edwin Encarnacion
- Nelson Cruz
Leonys Martin has already secured his career high in homers (11), surpassing his previous high of eight in 2013 with the Texas Rangers.
Dae-Ho Lee and his 12 home runs are tied for the most by a rookie in the American League with Byung Ho Park.
Seth Smith is just one home run away from matching his output from each of the last two seasons.
Franklin Gutierrez hit 9 home runs in the first half of the season as his tremendous power season from last year continued. Gutierrez is averaging a home run every 13.1 AB’s the past two seasons.
The Mariners will continue their assault on homer history with the beginning of the second half of the season against the Houston Astros on Friday at Safeco Field.
Gary Hill does pre- and postgame shows following Mariners games, in addition to filling in on play-by-play. You can catch him every weekday on the Mariners Podcast.