by Rob Joyce
The Yankees already had one of the most terrifying offenses in baseball, scoring the second-most runs and hitting the most home runs in 2017. It took them to within a game of the World Series. And as if a lineup featuring Aaron Judge, Gary Sanchez and Didi Gregorius wasn’t already good enough, the Yankees saw the National League MVP fall into their laps.
With a full no-trade clause, due $295 million and on a Marlins team that couldn’t afford such a price tag, Giancarlo Stanton held all the cards, and made New York his destination. The 28-year-old slugger is coming off a 59-homer season, joining Judge and his 52 long balls. It makes for the most potent lineup in baseball in 2018, and Stanton and Judge could break some records. In the hitter-friendly confines of Yankee Stadium, the two could threaten this list of teammates who combined to hit the most home runs in a single season in baseball history:
5) 2002 Rangers:
Only five duos in history have combined to hit 100 or more homers, most recently in Arlington. Alex Rodriguez blasted 57 long balls in finishing runner-up in the MVP vote, while Rafael Palmeiro added 43. Those 57 for A-Rod wound up being a career-high.
4) 1998 Cardinals:
(Watch video up top)
Mark McGwire did the bulk of the work here with his famous home run chase alongside the Cubs’ Sammy Sosa. He provided a then-record 70 home runs for St. Louis, while teammate Ray Lankford tied his career-best with 31.
3) 1927 Yankees:
The 2018 Yankees will draw comparisons to the famous Murderer’s Row in the Bronx, and with good reason. That squad boasted Babe Ruth and his record-setting 60 home runs – no other team in the American League hit that many – plus the MVP in Lou Gehrig, who added 47 homers and 173 runs batted in while hitting .373.
2) 2001 Giants:
Similar to the ’98 Cardinals, Barry Bonds did the yeoman’s work with his record 73 blasts, hitting one every nine at-bats. It was also a career-year for shortstop Rich Aurilia. A lifetime .275 hitter, he led the National League with 206 hits, smashing his career high with 37 homers in being named to his only All-Star game.
1) 1961 Yankees:
The standard-bearer for teammates, Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle’s chase of Babe Ruth’s home run record is considered by many to be the real chase, before the steroid-era. Maris broke the mark with 61, while Mantle slowed in September, finishing with 54 after hitting just one round-tripper in the final 11 games. Those 115 combined home runs are what Stanton and Judge are chasing. For context, last year in separate cities they hit 111. Let the chase begin!