Close But No 500 Star Print E-mail
Written by Jim Rednour   
Sunday, 31 December 2006

Several outstanding players came close, hitting 450 or more, but failed to break through the 500 home run barrier due to injuries and other factors. The list of major league sluggers who had Hall of Fame careers, but simply never hit their 500th round-tripper includes:

• “The Iron Horse” Lou Gehrig (493), saluted in the December pages of

• “The Crime Dog” Fred McGriff, who also hit 493 career homers, crushed a grand slam for the 2nd game in a row on August 14, 1991 - tying a major league mark. He was the 12th MLB player—but just the 3rd National Leaguer—to perform the feat.

He led the NL in home runs in 1992, three years after he had led the the AL. On July 18, 1993, the Padres, seeking to unload their high-priced veterans, dealt McGriff to the Atlanta Braves. McGriff hit a pivotal home run in his first game with the Braves and his offensive tear during the second half of the season helped carry the team to a division title.

McGriff was named MVP of the 1994 All Star Game after hitting the game-winning home run for the National League. McGriff's production remained steady in 1995 as he continued to be a successful clean-up hitter for the Braves. He hit two home runs in the 1995 World Series as he won his only championship ring. The quiet star hit .295/.365/494 with a career-best 107 RBIs on his way to another World Series appearance in 1996.

• “Stan The Man” Musial, led the National League in total bases and slugging percentage 6 times; won 7 National League batting titles; took home the Most Valuable Player award in 1943, 1946, and 1948; was named to 24 All-Star teams; and, in 1954, became the first player to hit 5 home runs in a double header against the New York Giants…but ended his career with only 475 long balls.

• 21-year Pirate great Willie Stargell, who led the National League with 48 blasts in 1971 and 44 in '73, helped popularize the "tape-measure" home runs during the 1960s and '70s, also belted 475. MVP of the 1979 World Series, Stargell batted .400 and hit three home runs, including a shot in the sixth inning of Game 7 that gave the Pirates the lead for good over the heavily favored Baltimore Orioles.

• Dave Winfield, who knocked out 465 homers while driving in 744 runs between 1982 and 1988, gathered five Gold Glove Awards for his stellar outfield play and was named to the All-Star Game every season. On one occasion, Winfield hit a ball so hard that it carried out of Anaheim Stadium for a home run despite that fact that it was hit so low that California Angels shortstop Dick Schofield reportedly actually leaped up in an attempt to catch it.

• Jose Canseco, whose career mark was 462, was named Rookie of the Year in 1986 with 33 HRs, 117 RBIs, and 63 Extra Base Hits. In 1988, he reached 40/40 club, including three home runs in one game on July 3 at Toronto, and became the first unanimous MVP since Reggie Jackson in 1973.

• “The Yaz” Carl Yastrzemski who won the American League Triple Crown and was named the A.L.'s Most Valuable Player in 1967, is the all-time American League leader in games played (3,308) and was the only American League player to amass 3,000 hits and 400 home runs, but hit just 452.!Technorati!Newsvine!Blogmarks!Yahoo!
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