This is each club’s best HR Derby showing

Detroit Tigers

The 2021 T-Mobile Home Run Derby will be held at Coors Field on Monday, July 12 as part of this year’s MLB All-Star Week festivities. It’ll be the first since the wild, record-breaking affair that was 2019, and given the venue this time around, it’s safe to assume we’re in for another show.

Few things go together quite like home runs and Coors Field, and as we approach the first Home Run Derby in Denver since 1998, it seems the perfect time to get in the festive spirit by taking a look back on every team’s best Derby performance.

Blue Jays: Vladimir Guerrero Jr., 2019
Result: Runner-up (91 total HR)
Guerrero entered the 2019 Home Run Derby the youngest participant in the event’s history at 20 years and 114 days old, with just eight career Major League home runs. He came out of the event holding the record for both the most home runs in a single round (40, after three swing-offs) and in an overall Derby (91). In the end he didn’t win, dropping the final round to Pete Alonso by a score of 23-22. But he had an epic journey all the same. Guerrero actually broke the single-round record twice that night, with his 29 homers in the first breaking the previous record of 28 and his second round barrage setting the final record of the night. It’s awfully hard to blame Guerrero for tiring after hitting 69 home runs before he even got a piece of Alonso, so if in your memory he took home the trophy after all, that’s probably fair enough.
Winners: None

Orioles: Miguel Tejada, 2004
Result: Won (27 total HR)
The Orioles have had quite a few Derby participants since Tejada, and even one whose home run total was higher (Mark Trumbo had 30 in 2016). But no one has outdone Tejada, who faced off against the likes of Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa and left with a trophy. His win in the final round even came against Lance Berkman at Minute Maid Park in Houston, his own stomping grounds. You could say the odds were stacked against the former MVP, but he still came out the victor.
Other winners: Cal Ripken Jr. (1991)

Rays: Carlos Peña, 2009
Result: Eliminated in first round (5 total HR)
The result doesn’t really give Peña enough credit for his Derby performance — sure, he didn’t make it past the first round, but that was because he ended it tied with Albert Pujols and Joe Mauer and was thrown into a swing-off. You try winning a swing-off against 2009 Albert Pujols. Peña didn’t, finishing with one home run to Pujols’ two (Mauer had zero). Peña remains one of only two Rays in franchise history to participate in a Home Run Derby at all, second after Evan Longoria in 2008. And while his performance may have been less than Rays fans had hoped for, on the bright side, he did end the season tied for the AL home run lead with 39.
Winners: None

Red Sox: David Ortiz, 2010
Result: Won (32 total HR)
It seems impossible that David Ortiz only won one Home Run Derby, and probably seems even less likely if you’re a fan of an AL East team outside of Boston. But it’s true — he only took home the trophy in 2010, despite appearing in five Derbies in his career. Ortiz put on a show at Angel Stadium that year, hitting eight homers in the first round, 13 in the semifinals, and blowing out Hanley Ramirez in the final round, 11-5. Ortiz had a lackluster 2009 season, and started off 2010 just as slow — so the Home Run Derby that year was a chance for him to show a national audience that he wasn’t done yet. Far from it, considering he entered the 2010 Derby with 335 career homers and retired in 2016 with 541.
Other winners: None

Yankees: Aaron Judge, 2017
Result: Won (47 total HR)
Whoever entered the 2017 Home Run Derby would be facing reigning champ Giancarlo Stanton on his home turf, and it seemed perfect for Judge to be one of those challengers. The 6-foot-6 Stanton had never really had a physical match in the Majors until Judge’s debut. Unfortunately, a face-off between the two wasn’t in the cards — Stanton was knocked out in the first round by Judge’s teammate Gary Sánchez — but he did get a piece of fellow 2017 Rookie of the Year Cody Bellinger in the second round before defeating Miguel Sanó in the finals, 11-10. Judge became the first rookie to ever win the Home Run Derby outright (Wally Joyner was a co-champ in his rookie year), and put to bed any concerns about a Derby hangover by setting the rookie home run record at 52 a few months later.
Other winners: Tino Martinez (1997), Jason Giambi (2002), Robinson Canó (2011)

Indians: Jim Thome, 1998
Result: Runner-up (17 total HR)
Thome is just one of a few dozen players to be eliminated by Ken Griffey Jr. (who’s going to be coming up a lot from here on out). Their final round against each other came down to a score of 3 home runs to 2, which feels downright modest, considering that the 1998 Derby was the last to be held at Coors Field. Albert Belle is right behind Thome on the list for Cleveland with his 16 total home runs in 1995, when he was the runner-up to Frank Thomas.
Winners: None

Royals: Mike Moustakas, 2017
Result: Eliminated in first round (10 total HR)
The Royals don’t have much in the way of Home Run Derby history — Moustakas was only the third player to represent the franchise in 2017, when he was knocked out by divisional rival and eventual runner-up Sanó in the first round, 11-10.
Winners: None

Tigers: Prince Fielder, 2012
Result: Won (28 total HR)
Fielder was a Derby mainstay in the late 2000s and early 2010s. He went to six of them in his career, tied for third all-time with Barry Bonds and Sammy Sosa. And he won twice, at the time becoming only the second player in history to ever win multiple Derbies. The second came in 2012 when Fielder represented the Tigers (his first win in 2009 had been with Milwaukee). Unsurprisingly, Fielder had the three longest home runs of the night (at 476, 464, and 461 feet) and his final round saw him hit seven home runs before recording his second out.
Other winners: None

Twins: Justin Morneau, 2008
Result: Won (22 total HR)
Before Vladimir Guerrero Jr.’s high homer total in a losing effort, there was Josh Hamilton, and before Pete Alonso, who won despite Guerrero’s efforts, there was Morneau, who did the same against Hamilton after his then-unprecedented 28-homer first round at the old Yankee Stadium. It was actually Morneau who took the crown after a 5-3 final round in 2008, despite hitting 22 total home runs to Hamilton’s 35.
Other winners: None

White Sox: Frank Thomas, 1995
Result: Won (15 total HR)
1995 was the year the Home Run Derby switched to the multi-round format we know today, and was therefore the first year a player could lead his competition in total home runs and still lose. That was exactly what we got. Thomas’ 15 home runs were the most ever by a Derby winner at the time, but runner-up Belle actually broke the record for all competitors by hitting 16. Despite that, Thomas outhit Belle in the final round, 3-2, and the trophy was his.

15 stands as the second-highest total for a White Sox representative in a single Derby. The White Sox player with the most home runs in a single event is Todd Frazier, who hit 42 in 2016, when he was the runner-up to Giancarlo Stanton.
Other winners: None

Angels: Garret Anderson, 2003
Result: Won (22 total HR)
The 2003 Home Run Derby came down to Anderson, a reigning World Series champion, and a very young future Angel Albert Pujols, a close 8-7 battle won by Anderson. Anderson had the biggest Derby in Angels history by home run total, but you could probably also make a good argument for Vladimir Guerrero Sr. — who hit 17 home runs in 2007, but perhaps more importantly, is so far the only Derby participant whose son has followed in his footsteps.
Other winners: Wally Joyner (tied, 1986), Vladimir Guerrero Sr. (2007)

Astros: Lance Berkman, 2004
Result: Runner-up (21 total HR)
The Astros hosted the 2004 Home Run Derby and almost had one of their own take home the trophy. And by almost, we really mean almost — he dropped the final round to Miguel Tejada by a score of 5-4. Berkman was the second runner-up in Astros history (they’ve yet to have a winner) after Glenn Davis way back in 1989.
Winners: None

Athletics: Yoenis Céspedes (2013)
Result: Won (32 total HR)
Fun fact: Céspedes is the only person not named Griffey or Fielder to ever hoist a second Home Run Derby trophy. He was also the first non-All-Star to win the Derby in 2013, edging out a 20-year-old Bryce Harper, who was attempting to become the youngest champion in the history of the event. Unfortunately for Harper, Céspedes brought a whole lot of experience with him — as he noted afterwards, he’d already participated in five home run derbies in his native Cuba before defecting in 2011.
Other winners: Mark McGwire (1992), Céspedes (2014)

Mariners: Ken Griffey Jr., 1998
Result: Won (19 total HR)
Let’s be honest, Griffey is kind of the king of the Home Run Derby. He’s participated in eight and won three. No one else can say that, and with most of the players on his heels having retired, those records are probably safe for a while. The 1998 event had his highest home run total, but Griffey also won in 1994 and 1999, and his 70 career Derby home runs, while just the eighth most today, were well beyond any participant of his era.
Other winners: Griffey (1994, 1999)

Rangers: Juan González, 1993
Result: Won (7 total HR)
González had a long road to becoming a Home Run Derby champ. He ended the event tied with a 23-year-old Ken Griffey Jr., and it took two extra rounds to win the day, the second of which he won, 1-0. Low as his final home run total seems today, at the time it was tied for the second-most in the event’s short history. González was the second Derby champ for the Rangers, after Ruben Sierra four years earlier. The Rangers’ two runners-up — Josh Hamilton in 2008 and Nelson Cruz in 2009 — were more prolific, hitting 35 and 21 home runs respectively.
Other winners: Ruben Sierra (1989)

Braves: Fred McGriff, 1994
Result: Runner-up (5 total HR)
McGriff lost to Ken Griffey Jr. in 1994. Which is fair enough — he’s hardly the only one. But he did out-homer Frank Thomas, Jeff Bagwell and Albert Belle (and three others), and that was impressive enough. Honorable mention goes to Ronald Acuña Jr., whose 44 home runs in 2019 give him the most in Braves Derby history (by 32), but who was knocked out in the second round by eventual champion Pete Alonso.
Winners: None

Marlins: Giancarlo Stanton, 2016
Result: Won (61 total HR)
While Guerrero Jr.’s 91 home runs in 2019 still stands as the record for the most in a single Derby, thanks to Pete Alonso (more on him later), the record for the most total home runs by a winner is still the 61 hit by Stanton in 2016. Statcast data was available for the 2016 Home Run Derby, so the following probably won’t shock you — Stanton had the 20 hardest-hit and 10 longest home runs of the night, and averaged a distance of 446 feet and a 111.9 mph exit velocity (Carlos González ranked second in both categories with 430 feet and 107.4 mph averages). Winning was really just the icing on the cake after all that.
Other winners: None

Mets: Pete Alonso, 2019
Result: Won (57 total HR)
Just three years after Aaron Judge debuted, on the other side of town, Alonso showed up with much the same playbook. Judge set the rookie home run record at 52 in 2017 — Alonso hit 53. Judge was the first solo rookie Home Run Derby champion, and Alonso was the second. He didn’t have an easy path to victory, either — Alonso faced Carlos Santana in the first round, Ronald Acuña Jr. in the second, and finally outlasted Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in a 23-22 final at Progressive Field.
Other winners: Darryl Strawberry (tied, 1986)

Nationals: Bryce Harper, 2018
Result: Won (45 total HR)
In the long combined history of the Expos/Nationals franchise, Harper is the only player to appear in more than one Derby, and he leads the pack with 69 home runs in his Derby career (Larry Walker is second with four). After finishing as runner-up to Yoenis Céspedes in 2013, Harper got another shot in 2018, in his home ballpark, and it didn’t go to waste. Harper hit four of the five longest home runs of the night (478, 473, 467 and 465 feet) and led the pack with 12 at 110 mph or above. He hit five home runs in the first and second rounds that traveled 450 feet or further, and just as many in the final round alone. Harper is just the third player in Derby history to win one in his home ballpark.
Other winners: None

Phillies: Bobby Abreu, 2005
Result: Won (41 total HR)
The 2005 Derby was a unique one. In honor of the upcoming World Baseball Classic, the pool was made up of eight players from different countries. Abreu, representing his native Venezuela, smashed 41 home runs. That may sound relatively run-of-the-mill now, but it was unheard of at the time. The record had stood at 26 since 2000. Abreu’s 41 would stand until 2016, when both finalists — Giancarlo Stanton and Todd Frazier — finally eclipsed him.
Other winners: Ryan Howard (2006)

Brewers: Prince Fielder, 2009
Result: Won (23 total HR)
In addition to his six Derby appearances, Fielder is the only player to appear on this list twice, which is definitely also an achievement. Fielder is Milwaukee’s only Derby champion as well as Detroit’s — as a matter of fact, he’s the only player in the history of the event to win it for two different teams. The 2009 All-Star festivities were held at Busch Stadium, so Fielder got the chance to spoil St. Louis’ dreams of having Albert Pujols win his first Derby on his home turf. After hitting 11 home runs in the first round and six in the semifinals, Fielder hit another six in the final round to seal the deal. Another fun fact about Fielder’s opponents? That final round matchup came against Nelson Cruz in his first All-Star Game appearance.
Other winners: None

Cardinals: Albert Pujols, 2003
Result: Runner-up (26 total HR)
While Pujols has been to four Derbies in his career, he’s somehow only made it into the final round once. In 2003, at 23, he made his first appearance and put together what would stand as the best Derby performance of his career (so far), but up against Anderson in the finals, Pujols would ultimately lose by a score of 9-8. That said, he still ended the night with the highest home run total, ahead of Garret Anderson (22) and Jason Giambi (23).
Winners: None

Cubs: Sammy Sosa, 2000
Result: Won (26 total HR)
While Kyle Schwarber’s 55 home runs in the 2018 Derby are by far the most for any Cub, Sosa’s performance remains the best in terms of result. He out-homered his opponents in every round, with five in the first, 11 in the semifinal, and a 9-2 win over defending champ Ken Griffey Jr. in the final. While measuring home run distance was less exact in the early 2000s, Sammy Sosa’s last five home runs of the night averaged approximately 475 feet, with his final shot of the night estimated at a whopping 508.
Other winners: Andre Dawson (1987), Ryne Sandberg (1990)

Pirates: Josh Bell, 2019
Result: Eliminated in first round (18 total HR)
The Pirates don’t have an illustrious Home Run Derby history — technically, Bobby Bonilla was their highest finisher in 1990, when he placed fourth by virtue of being one of five players not to hit a single home run. Bell hit 12 more home runs in his first round than Pedro Alvarez in 2013, cementing his place at the top of Pittsburgh’s list.
Winners: None

Reds: Todd Frazier, 2015
Result: Won (39 total HR)
There’s just something about Frazier and the Home Run Derby. After bursting onto the scene in 2012, Frazier went to three straight Derbies from 2014 to ‘16 and made it to the finals every time. Only two other players can say that — Sammy Sosa (2000-’02) and Ken Griffey Jr. (1992-’94). Frazier’s sole win in 2015 came at Great American Ball Park in what would be his last season with the Reds. Aside from Frazier, the Reds also hold the distinction of having had the first Home Run Derby champion ever (Dave Parker in 1985).
Other winners: Parker (1985), Eric Davis (tied, 1989)

D-backs: Luis Gonzalez, 2001
Result: Won (16 total HR)
2001 was very much Gonzalez’s year. But before he won the World Series for the D-backs in November or finished third in the NL MVP race, he won the Home Run Derby, defeating Sammy Sosa by a score of 6-2 in the final round. Gonzalez was the first Derby participant ever to represent the D-backs, who were playing just their fourth season in 2001, and they’ve only had one since (Chris Young, who hit one home run in 2010).
Other winners: None

Dodgers: Joc Pederson, 2015
Result: Runner-up (39 total HR)
Quick — who holds the record for the most career Derby home runs? The section header probably gave it away. Pederson’s 99 home runs are the most in Derby history, which becomes even more impressive when you consider he’s only competed in two of them. Pederson was just 23 when he made it to the final round as a rookie in 2015, and hit almost twice as many home runs that night as he had in his career to that point. The 2015 Home Run Derby was the first to adopt the bracket format, which meant Pederson had to knock out Manny Machado (13-12) and Albert Pujols (12-11) to get through to the final round, where he ultimately fell to Todd Frazier by a score of 15-14.

2015 was his highest finish, but he may have been even better in 2019, when he was knocked out in the second round. That year, Pederson was the reason Vladimir Guerrero Jr. needed those 40 home runs to get through to the finals — they’d ended regulation time tied at 29, and it took two swing-offs for Guerrero to finally dispatch of Pederson. He’s fallen short twice, but certainly not for lack of trying.
Winners: None

Giants: Barry Bonds, 1996
Result: Won (17 total HR)
The all-time home run leader was going to have a part in this. The original two-inning, five-outs-per-inning Home Run Derby format didn’t give the participants much time to hit double digits (hence why the format changed in later years), but 17 was a Derby record when he did it in 1996, and naturally, Bonds is the Giants’ only winner to date.
Other winners: None

Padres: Wil Myers (2016)
Result: Eliminated in first round (10 total HR)
The Padres have only had five Derby participants in their history, but there are some big names on that list. Fred McGriff, Steve Garvey, Gary Sheffield and Adrian González all represented San Diego in their time, but none of them had much luck. Unfortunately, neither did Myers in 2016, when the All-Star festivities were at Petco Park. His 10 first-round homers were topped by Adam Duvall’s 11, but if it’s any consolation, as of 2021, Myers has hit more home runs at Petco Park than anyone else.
Winners: None

Rockies: Larry Walker, 1997
Result: Runner-up (19 total HR)
Ahead of another Coors Field Home Run Derby, this feels like an appropriate place to end. The Rockies have never had a Derby champion, but Walker came awfully close in 1997, even outhitting eventual winner Tino Martinez by total homers, 17-16.

The Rockies also had a representative in the last Coors Derby in 1998 (Vinny Casilla), who was knocked out in the first round.
Winners: None

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