Only 25 players have hit 500 or more home runs in the history of baseball.
With the retirement of Manny Ramirez last week, only two of them are currently still playing, Alex Rodriquez (age 35), 616 home runs and Jim Thome (age 40), 590 home runs. Rodriquez could end in the exclusive 700 Home Run club with Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth. Thome could end up in the 600 Home Run club with Willie Mays, Ken Griffey, and Sammy Sosa.
There are ten more current players over the age of 25 who have a realistic shot at joining the 500 home run club. Four of them have a shot at 600 or even 700 home runs. The four who have a shot at 600 or 700 home runs are Albert Pujols (age 31), 409 home runs , Adam Dunn, (age 31), 355 home runs, Miguel Cabrera (age 28), 253 home runs, and Prince Fielder (age 27), 194 home runs.
The six players with a shot at 500 home runs, but little chance at 600 are Mark Teixeira (age 31), 279 home runs, Adrian Beltre (age 32), 281 home runs, Aramis Ramirez (age 32), 290 home runs, Carlos Lee (age 34), 332 home runs, Andruw Jones (age 34), 408 home runs, and Vladimir Guerrero (age 36), 437 home runs.
If any of these players make these marks, it will depend on luck. Players are more prone to injury in their late 30’s and their careers tend to end rather quickly once they do get injured. One should also consider that while players occasionally do continue their careers into their 40’s, they tend not to hit many home-runs after age 40. Only five of the top 25 home-run hitters added more than 30 home runs to their totals after age 40: Barry Bonds (59), Hank Aaron (42), Willie Mays (40), Ted Williams (39) and Reggie Jackson (33). Twelve were retired or hit no home runs after 40. Thus in thinking about who is going to make it to 500, 600 or 700, one has to consider that they need to do it, or be on the edge, by age 39.
In the year 2025, I predict that we’ll have 2 more members of the 700 club, 2 more members of the 600 clubs, and 3 more members of the 500 club. Rodriguez and Pujols I think will make it to 700. Thome and Cabrera will make it to 600. Dunn, Fielder, and Guerrero will make it to 500. With five members in the 700 club, five in the 600 club and 30 in the 500 club, these clubs will still be pretty exclusive.
Note: I looked at players over 25 years of age. It is hard to tell with players under 25 how far they are going to go and how consistent they are going to be in hitting home runs. Generally, you only have a season or two to go on, which hardly tells you anything. The two players that I would watch are Arizona’s Justin Upton who is 23 and now has 63 homers and Atlanta’s Jason Heywood, 21 with 21 homers. Please feel free to tell me if I left others with potential for 500 out.
June 10th Update:
Amazingly, since I wrote this post two months ago, five of the ten players with a chance for 500 home-runs have had such bad seasons, that they now have little chance of reaching 500 homers. These five are Aramez Ramirez (3 home-runs), Andruw Jones (4 home-runs), Vladimir Guerrero( 5 home-runs), Carlos Lee (5 home runs) and Adam Dunn (6 home runs).
The only five current players over 25 years old, having a good season, with a good chance of hitting 500 home runs in their career are Albert Pujols (14 home-runs), Mark Texeira (18 home-runs), Prince Fielder (17 home runs), Miguel Cabrera (18 home-runs) and Adrian Beltre (12 home runs).