I am a former sports editor and currently serve as a historian with the Society of American Baseball Research and manage a valet operation.
Who Are the Best Home Run Hitters in Houston Astros History?
The Houston Astros came into Major League Baseball in 1962, but even with a shorter history than most teams, they can stake a claim to a lot of power. In the late 1990s, the Astros featured the "Killer B's" of Jeff Bagwell, Craig Biggio, Derek Bell and Sean Berry, and again in the early 2000s with Bagwell, Biggio and Lance Berkman. In 2004, the Killer B's also included Carlos Beltran and Chris Burke. But even outside of those famed sluggers, the Astros have produced plenty of power.
In this article, I will explore the top power hitters in the history of the Houston Astros. These rankings are not based upon opinions, and for a player to be considered, he must have hit at least 100 home runs during his time with the Astros. Players were then ranked by averaging their rank for both of these criterion:
- Total home runs with the Astros
- Plate appearances per home run with the Astros
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 100 home runs with the Astros. ... Statistics are current through the end of the 2021 season.
5. Jim Wynn
- Years Played: 1963–73
- Home Runs: 223 (4th)
- Plate Appearances/Home Run: 26.97 (10th)
- Single-Season High: 37 in 1967
Jim Wynn spent the first 11 seasons of his career with the Astros and established himself as a reliable power threat once he started playing full-time. The "Toy Cannon" hit 20 or more home runs in seven seasons in Houston, and he made his first All-Star appearance in 1967. He left the Astros as the franchise's all-time home run leader and held the mark until Jeff Bagwell surpassed him in 1999.
4. Glenn Davis
- Years Played: 1984–90
- Home Runs: 166 (6th)
- Plate Appearances/Home Run: 20.63 (3rd)
- Single-Season High: 34 in 1989
Glenn Davis burst onto the scene as a full-time rookie in 1985, hitting at least 20 home runs for the first of six straight seasons for the Astros. The next season, he was the runner-up in National League MVP voting, made his first All-Star team and won the only Silver Slugger award of his career. From 1986 to '89, he played in more than 150 games each season, and his 122 homers in that span were the fifth-most in the Majors. He was on the way to a career year in 1990, but a rib injury cut his season short after he hit 22 home runs over 93 games. He was traded to the Baltimore Orioles in a lopsided deal during the offseason.
3. George Springer
- Years Played: 2014–20
- Home Runs: 174 (5th)
- Plate Appearances/Home Run: 20.50 (1st)
- Single-Season High: 39 in 2019
It was clear from the start that George Springer was going to be a special player for the Astros. After hitting 20 home runs in a 78-game trial as a rookie in 2014, Springer eventually made three straight All-Star appearances from 2017 to '19 and won a pair of Silver Sluggers in '17 and '19. But he was the most productive during the playoffs. In 2017, he smashed five home runs to win MVP honors during the World Series, a seven-game victory over the Los Angeles Dodgers. In total, he hit 19 home runs during the postseason for the Astros, which ranks fifth all-time in Major-League history.
2. Jeff Bagwell
- Years Played: 1991–2005
- Home Runs: 449 (1st)
- Plate Appearances/Home Run: 21.00 (4th)
- Single-Season High: 47 in 2000
Jeff Bagwell spent his entire Hall of Fame career with the Astros and became the franchise's runaway leader in career home runs along the way. The 1991 Rookie of the Year posted modest power numbers in his first three seasons before blasting 39 homers to win MVP honors in the strike-shortened 1994 season. That was the first of nine seasons in which he hit at least 30 homers, which helped him win three Silver Sluggers and get selected to four All-Star teams. Bagwell, however, was more than a power threat, as he finished his career in rare territory as one of just 13 players with more than 400 home runs and an on-base percentage over .400.
1. Lance Berkman
- Years Played: 1999–2010
- Home Runs: 326 (2nd)
- Plate Appearances/Home Run: 20.59 (2nd)
- Single-Season High: 45 in 2006
Lance Berkman spent the first 12 years of his career with the Astros and quickly became known for his prodigious power. Berkman slugged 20 or more home runs every season between 2000 and '09—and surpassed 30 in half of those years. He was a five-time All-Star with Houston and was the runner-up at the 2004 Home Run Derby. Berkman and Jeff Bagwell formed a dangerous tandem in the middle of Houston's order from 2000 to '04, combining for 335 home runs in that period. In 2006, Berkman crushed 45 homers to become just the second switch-hitter in history to record multiple seasons with at least 40 home runs (the other being Hall of Famer Mickey Mantle, who did it three times).
The Best of the Rest
The following three players are home run hitters from Houston Astros history who just missed the top five.
- Years Played: 1997–2004
- Home Runs: 134 (11th)
- Plate Appearances/Home Run: 24.11 (7th)
- Single-Season High: 44 in 2000
Richard Hidalgo was a touted prospect who ended up with a solid career. He broke out in 2000, his first full season, with a career-high 44 home runs, but he never again matched that power production (his next-best season was a 28-homer effort in 2003).
- Years Played: 2015–21
- Home Runs: 133 (12th)
- Plate Appearances/Home Run: 24.23 (8th)
- Single-Season High: 26 in 2021
Carlos Correa has struggled to stay healthy, but when he's on the field, he's a great power hitter. He's completed just three full seasons (one being the COVID 19-shortened 2020 campaign), but has managed to hit 20 or more home runs five times in seven years—including 22 when he won Rookie of the Year honors after 99 games in 2015. He has hit 18 postseason home runs for the Astros.
- Years Played: 2011–present
- Home Runs: 164 (7th)
- Plate Appearances/Home Run: 38.70 (13th)
- Single-Season High: 31 in 2019 and '21
Standing at 5 feet, 6 inches tall, Jose Altuve doesn't look like a prototypical power hitter, but the 2017 MVP and five-time Silver Slugger winner packs a lot of punch. He's twice hit more than 30 home runs in a season and is second in Major-League history with 23 postseason home runs.
Houston Astros Home Run History
Below are some of the franchise home run records for the Houston Astros.
Houston Astros Career Home Run Leaders
- 1. Jeff Bagwell, 449
- 2. Lance Berkman, 326
- 3. Craig Biggio, 291
- 4. Jim Wynn, 223
- 5. George Springer, 174
Houston Astros Plate Appearance/Home Run Leaders (min. 50 HRs)
- George Springer, 20.50
- Lance Berkman, 20.59
- Glenn Davis, 20.63
- Jeff Bagwell, 21.00
- Morgan Ensberg, 23.19
Houston Astros Single-Season Home Run Leaders
- 1. Jeff Bagwell, 47 (2000)
- 2. Lance Berkman, 45 (2006)
- 3. Richard Hidalgo, 44 (2000)
- 4. Bagwell, 43 (1997)
- T-5. Berkman, 42 (2002)
- T-5. Bagwell, 42 (1999)
Houston Astros Single-Game Home Run Leaders
- 11 players tied with 3 (Jeff Bagwell did it 3 times)
© 2021 Andrew Harner