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Who Are the Best Home Run Hitters in Arizona Diamondbacks History?
A home run hit at Chase Field in Arizona can become a more exciting play than a home run at most other ballparks. That's because Chase Field has a swimming pool in the outfield, and it's always a treat for fans when a home run splashes down. There have been 66 "pool shots" since the ballpark opened in 1998 for the National League expansion franchise, and the most recent Diamondbacks player to hit a homer into the pool was David Peralta on April 11, 2021.
This article will discuss more than pool home runs, though. We will take an encompassing look at the top five home run hitters in Arizona Diamondbacks history. That history is shorter than the histories for most teams in Major League Baseball, but prolific power has been a staple of the Diamondbacks lineup since the beginning.
These rankings are not based upon opinions, and for a player to be considered, he must have hit at least 50 home runs during his time with the Diamondbacks. Players were then ranked by averaging their rank for both of these criterion:
- Total home runs with the Diamondbacks
- Plate appearances per home run with the Diamondbacks
Following the top five are the best of the rest, a handful of shorter lists of franchise leaders in more defined categories, and franchise home run records. Information from Stathead on Baseball Reference was used to compile statistics.
Note: Ranks in parenthesis in individual player capsules represent their ranking among players who hit at least 50 home runs with the Diamondbacks. Statistics are current through the end of the 2021 season.
5. Chris Young
- Years Played: 2006–12
- Home Runs: 132 (4th)
- Plate Appearances/Home Run: 27.18 (9th)
- Single-Season High: 32 in 2007
Chris Young debuted at 22 years old in 2006, and followed up a partial rookie season with a powerful campaign in 2007—smashing a career-high 32 home runs on the way to a fourth-place finish in National League Rookie of the Year voting. Young spent another five seasons with Arizona, and made the only All-Star appearance of his career in 2010. During his tenure in the desert, he added five postseason homers.
4. Steve Finley
- Years Played: 1999–2004
- Home Runs: 153 (3rd)
- Plate Appearances/Home Run: 22.54 (5th)
- Single-Season High: 35 in 2000
Steve Finley came to the Diamondbacks for their second season in 1999, and he remained with the club until a trade-deadline deal sent him to the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2004. Finley was an All-Star in 2000, added a pair of Gold Gloves for his stellar defense for good measure and rarely missed a game throughout his six years with Arizona. He hit two "pool shots" during his career and is one of two Diamondbacks to hit three home runs in a single game twice. Finley homered in Game 5 of the 2001 World Series, a game the Diamondbacks lost in 12 innings, but they did win the series in seven games.
T-2. Luis Gonzalez
- Years Played: 1999–2006
- Home Runs: 224 (1st)
- Plate Appearances/Home Run: 23.42 (6th)
- Single-Season High: 57 in 2001
Another player to join the Diamondbacks for their second season was Luis Gonzalez, who is best known for a single rather than a home run. In 2001, Gonzalez set a franchise record with 57 homers, but a flare of a walk-off single off of Hall of Fame closer Mariano Rivera in Game 7 of the World Series is the defining moment of his career (he also homered in Game 1 of that World Series, a 9–1 victory for Arizona).
Gonzalez is the all-time franchise leader in home runs on the strength of 25 or more homers in each of his first five seasons with the club, making four All-Star teams along the way (and a fifth appearance came in 2005). He added his only career Silver Slugger award in 2001, too. Gonzalez also hit three homers in a single game twice his tenure with the Diamondbacks.
T-2. Mark Reynolds
- Years Played: 2007–10
- Home Runs: 121 (5th)
- Plate Appearances/Home Run: 18.88 (2nd)
- Single-Season High: 44 in 2009
Mark Reynolds caught his fair share of grief for striking out too much, but he made up for those whiffs by slugging home runs at a consistent pace. Reynolds struck out more than 200 times to lead the National League in three of his four seasons with Arizona, but he also added 28 or more home runs in each of those years. He was the definition of an "all-or-nothing" player, meaning he was likely to strike out or hit the ball a long way (of his 480 hits with Arizona, more than 25% of them were home runs; for comparison, Luis Gonzalez only hit home runs on 16.7% of his hits). Reynolds also added a home run in each of the two postseason series he played with the Diamondbacks in 2007.
1. Paul Goldschmidt
- Years Played: 2011–18
- Home Runs: 209 (2nd)
- Plate Appearances/Home Run: 22.53 (4th)
- Single-Season High: 36 in 2013 and '17
The most consistent home run hitter in Arizona history was Paul Goldschmidt. The All-Star first baseman played at least 145 games, hit at least 20 home runs in all but one of his full seasons with the Diamondbacks and was selected as an All-Star each season from 2013 to '18. He picked up four Silver Slugger awards while in the desert and finished inside the top three of MVP voting three times, though he never won the award. "Goldie" often hit titanic blasts and is one of five Arizona players to hit a pair of "pool shots." Goldschmidt played in three postseason series with the Diamondbacks and had at least one home run in all of them.
The Best of the Rest
The following three players are home run hitters from Arizona Diamondbacks history who just missed the top five.
- Years Played: 1998–2003
- Home Runs: 99 (7th)
- Plate Appearances/Home Run: 24.87 (7th)
- Single-Season High: 35 in 1999
Matt Williams was one of the biggest stars for the original Arizona Diamondbacks, though he only played more than 100 games in three of his six seasons in the desert.
- Years Played: 2018–21
- Home Runs: 69 (15th)
- Plate Appearances/Home Run: 22.38 (3rd)
- Single-Season High: 35 in 2019
Eduardo Escoabr came to the Diamondbacks in a midseason trade in 2018 and left via a midseason trade in 2021. Inbetween, he had two fine seasons in Arizona.
- Years Played: 2007–12
- Home Runs: 108 (6th)
- Plate Appearances/Home Run: 28.06 (12th)
- Single-Season High: 31 in 2011
Justin Upton was the No. 1 overall draft pick in 2005, and he debuted with the Diamondbacks as a teenager in 2007. He was a two-time All-Star in his six seasons with Arizona.
Arizona Diamondbacks Home Run Records
Below are some of the franchise home run records for the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Arizona Diamondbacks Career Home Run Leaders
- 1. Luis Gonzalez, 224
- 2. Paul Goldschmidt, 209
- 3. Steve Finley, 153
- 4. Chris Young, 132
- 5. Mark Reynolds, 121
Arizona Diamondbacks Plate Appearance/Home Run Leaders (min. 50 HRs)
- 1. Tony Clark, 15.93
- 2. Mark Reynolds, 18.88
- 3. Eduardo Escobar, 22.38
- 4. Paul Goldschmidt, 22.53
- 5. Steve Finley, 22.54
Arizona Diamondbacks Single-Season Home Run Leaders
- 1. Luis Gonzalez, 57 (2001)
- 2. Mark Reynolds, 44 (2009)
- 3. Jay Bell, 38 (1999)
- 4. Troy Glaus, 37 (2005)
- 5. Paul Goldschmidt, 36 (2013 and '17)
Arizona Diamondbacks Single-Game Home Run Leaders
- J.D. Martinez, 4 (Sept. 4, 2017)
- 9 players tied with 3 (Steve Finley and Luis Gonzalez each did it twice)
© 2021 Andrew Harner