Two weeks ago I wrote an article about Joey Votto breaking into the top 400 most prolific home run hitters of all time (read it HERE). I promised to keep you up to date on his progress up the ladder, but that is hard to do when the guy hits six home runs in a two week period. When I sat down to write this article last night I needed to write about the three home runs he had hit since the last article, but then VottoÃ‚Â hit three more during last night’s game. He was literally hitting them faster than I could research and write them up.
At the last update, Votto was tied for 400th on the all time list with 170 career home runs. Now he is tied for 386th with 176 career home runs. He is tied with three other players: Ron Kittle, Don Money and Justin Upton. You can read more about those players below. Votto has passed a total of 16 players since the last update, all of whom are written up below. Now the more observant of you may be wondering how Votto managed to pass 16 players while only moving up 14 slots on the ladder. The reason is because two of those 16 passed players are active hitters who temporarily passed Votto on the list during the last two weeks. Those two are Justin Upton and Giancarlo Stanton.
The next time Votto hits a home run my job will be easy. There is only one player with 177 career home runs, and that player just happens to beÃ‚Â a local fan favorite — Brandon Phillips. DatDudeBP better start swatting big flies rapidly if he doesn’t want his teammate to pass him by. Brandon is also in imminent danger of being passed by Upton, Stanton, Ian Kinsler, J.J. Hardy, Chris Davis and Alex Rios.
Votto has passed three Hall of Famers this year (Joe Cronin, Enos Slaughter and Chick Hafey) but none of the 16 players he passed with his latest six home runs is enshrined. Votto has a chance to pass five more Hall of Famers later this season, including three that played for the Reds. Take a guess who they are, but don’t cheat and look it up!
The Home Runs — Facts and Trivia
Joey has now hit 13 homers this year. Let’s take a brief look at the 6 blasts since the last update…
— Votto hit home run #171 against Washington Nationals ace Stephen Strasburg, the former top overall pick of the 2009 draft. This home run came in the first inning of the May 29th game, which is the only inning Strasburg pitched in that game. He left in the 2nd inning with an injury that has him on the disabled list. The blast traveled 398 feet to left-center field and came on a 97 mph fastball. It was the first career home run for Votto against Strasburg. See the video here. One thing I would like to know, and maybe somebody can explain this in the comments, is why Votto when circling the bases reaches down to the ground before high-fiving 3rd base coach Jim Riggleman. He has been doing that all year. There must be a reason and I want to know!
— Home run #172 came the next day against the Nationals’ Gio Gonzalez. It was the second time Votto had taken Gonzalez deep in his career, and the 11th home run he has hit against Nationals pitching. It came on a 92 mph fastball from the lefty pitcher, and landed just a few feet to the right of the Strasburg dinger, 400 feet from home plate in left center field. Watch the video here.
— Home run #173 came in the June 3rd game versus the Phillies on the road. The victim was Jake Diekman, a lefthanded, flame-throwing reliever. The pitch was a 97 mph fastball and once again it traveled to left-center field, this time even further at 416 feet. It was Votto’s first homer against Diekman and his 6th career homer against the Phillies. The 2-runÃ‚Â blast gave the Reds a 4-0 lead in the 9th inning in a game that saw Mike Leake pitch wonderfully. But Aroldis Chapman ended up blowing the save and the Reds ultimately lost the game 5-4 in extra innings. Watch the video here.
— Last night Joey hit three home runs. The first one came against Phillies righthander and former longtime Red Aaron Harang. The 83 mph changeup got turned around real fast, flying 402 feet to right center field. It was the second career homer for Votto off Harang. The first one came in 2013 when Harang was pitching for the Seattle Mariners.
— The second homer was Votto’s 175th and came against an 89 mph sinker from Harang. The ball sailed 395 feet to left center and bounced off the hands of a fan and back onto the field. The Phillies challenged the play but the home run call was confirmed via video review. Harang became the 6th pitcher to allow three home runs to Votto in his career. Fernando Nieve, Tony Sipp, Mike Pelfrey, Kameron Loe and Zack Greinke are the others. Three is the most any pitcher has allowed to Votto so far, but five of the six pitchers are still active. Votto has hit two against another 19Ã‚Â pitchers.
— The 3rd homer, #176, came off a 94 mph inside fastball from righty Dustin McGowan. The two run blast traveled 384 feet to right field in the 7th inning, putting the game out of reach at 9-2. It was the first home run Votto has hit against McGowan and puts his career total against the Phillies at nine, which is the 8th-most he has hit against any team. Votto became the second Red ever to hit three home runs in a game three times. The other was none other than Johnny Bench. No Red has ever done it more than three times. You can watch the video of all three homers here.
The Players Votto Passed — Bios and Minutiae
Ron Kittle — Played from 1982 to 1991 for four teams but primarily for the Chicago White Sox. He was the 1983 AL Rookie of the Year and made the All Star team that season, the only time he ever made it to the Mid-Summer Classic. He was an all-or-nothing sort of batter who hit a lot of home runs but had a low batting average and struck out a lot. He didn’t walk much either. His career OPS+ of 110 shows he was an above average hitter despite his flaws. Kittle was never drafted and was a steelworker before being signed off the street. He didn’t reach the majors until he was nearly 25 years old. He hit 30+ homers twice in his major league career, and famously hit 50 one season in the minors.
Don Money — Played from 1968 to 1983, first with the Phillies and then the Brewers. He made four All Star Teams with the Brewers. The most home runs he ever hit in a year was 25, and that was the only time he hit more than 17. But when you play for 16 years you don’t need to hit a ton of long balls each year to rack up an impressive career total. Money was best known as a top defensive third baseman, but his 106 OPS+ shows he was a slightly above average hitter too. Money was originally signed by the Pirates, but was traded along with some other players for future Hall of Famer Jim Bunning. After five seasons with the Phillies the team traded him to the Brewers so future Hall of Famer Mike Schmidt could take over at third base. He went on to play nearly 1200 games in Milwaukee when they were still in the American League. He was inducted into the Brewers’ Walk of Fame and still works for their for their player development department.
Justin Upton — The outfielder has been in the majors since 2007 and has made two All Star teams. Upton was the first overall pick of the 2005 draft. His older brother B.J. Upton, now called Melvin Upton, had been the 2nd overall pick of the 2002 draft. The brothers have been on the same team the last two years in Atlanta and now in San Diego. Justin has hit as many as 31 homers in a single season. Being four years younger than Votto it is possible these two will climb the ladder together for the next few seasons before Upton eventually pulls ahead when Joey retires. Ã‚Â Upton has hit 12 homers this year to Votto’s 13. In Johnny Cueto’s major league debut game in 2008 he had a no-hitter going until Upton broke it up with a home run in the 6th inning for what would be the Diamondbacks’ only hit of the game. In 2012 Upton hit his 100th career homer, and his brother matched that feat 30 minutes later. In 2013 Justin and B.J. hit back-to-back home runs for the Braves, becoming the first brothers to do that since 1938.
Hideki Matsui — The outfielder played from 2003 to 2012, mostly with the Yankees. He played for a long time in Japan before coming to America when he was 29 years old. The most home runs he hit in a season was 31. He was a good all-around hitter and retired with a 118 career OPS+. He made the All Star team his first two seasons and was controversially the runner-up for Rookie of the Year to Angel Berroa of the Royals in 2003. Two voters left him off their ballots entirely due to his age, despite having voted in prior seasons for Ichiro Suzuki and Kazuhiro Sasaki and their votes cost Matsui the award. Suzuki and Sasaki are the two oldest ROY winners ever. Matsui was the MVP of Japan’s Central League three times. He was originally a right-handed batter, but he was so good as a child that his brother and friends forced him to bat left-handed to even the playing field. He grew up to play professionally as a left-handed batter. In his first ever game at Yankee Stadium he hit a grand slam, becoming the first ever Yankee to do that. Later that year he became the first ever Japanese player to homer in the World Series.
Bill Buckner — Had a 22 year career from 1969 to 1990 with the Dodgers, Cubs, Red Sox, Royals and Angels. He only made one All Star team in all that time. His career OPS+ was exactly 100 or league average. He had a .289 career batting average, but lacked much pop. His career home run high was only 18 and he averaged less than 10 homers per season. He rarely walked, averaging only 20 walks per season, but he rarely struck out either. He finished with 450 walks and 453 whiffs in 22 years, but one of those years he got only one at-bat. That was his first cup of coffee at the very young age of 19. He led the league in hitting in 1980 with the Cubs with a .324 AVG. He finished with 2715 hits in his career. He was an All-American wide receiver in high school. He was a stalwart on the Dodgers teams that challenged the Big Red Machine in the early to mid-70s. Of course Buckner is most remembered for making the worst error in the history of the World Series. His Red Sox had taken a two run lead in the 10th inning of Game 6 and only needed to retire the Mets in the bottom of the 10th to win the World Series. But the Mets tied the game and had the potential winning run on 3rd base in Ray Knight. Mookie Wilson hit a slow, easy grounder to Buckner at 1B, who let the ball scoot right between his legs for an error that allowed the Mets to win the game. The Mets went on to win Game 7 and the Series. Buckner received death threats and was eventually run out of town.
Ian Kinsler — Despite being a 17th round draft pick, Kinsler has been in the majors since 2006 and has made four All Star teams. He has hit 30 or more homers twice and his high is 32 in one season. He also stole 30 bases in those same seasons. The second baseman played 8 years with the Rangers and is currently in his second year with the Tigers after having been traded for Prince Fielder. Kinsler played on a high school team that was pretty good, five players from that team are in the major leagues. In college at Arizona State he was teammates with Dustin Pedroia and Andre Ethier. He is one of a small number of Jewish players in the major leagues (along with Ryan Braun, Kevin Youkilis, Jason Marquis and a few other fringe players).
Nate Colbert — Played from 1966 to 1976, mostly with the Padres as a first baseman after being selected in the expansion draft from the Astros. Twice hit 38 home runs for the Padres in a ballpark where itÃ‚Â was hard to hit homers. He made three All Star teams. Once hit five home runs in a double-header. Stan Musial is the only other player to have done that.Ã‚Â Colbert also drove in 13 RBI that day, which is a record. Amazingly, when Colbert was a child he was at the double-header when Musial hit five homers. Colbert’s 38 homers finished second in the NL to Johnny Bench’s 40 in 1972. Colbert played on 9 consecutive last-place teams. He is the Padres’ franchise leader with 163 career homers.
Walker Cooper — Like many if not most children born nowadays, Cooper had a surname for a first name. He played from 1940 to 1957 for 6 different teams, including 2 years with the Reds (1949-50) but mostly with the Cardinals in the war years. He hit 35 homers in 1947 but other than that never hit more than 20 and averaged 10 per year. He made a whopping 8 All Star teams. He wasÃ‚Â a catcher and a good one. Cooper was the runner up to his teammate Stan Musial for the NL MVP Award in 1943. Cooper’s brother Mort also played for the Cardinals at the same time and was an elite pitcher who won the NL MVP Award in 1942. Walker Cooper homered in 6 consecutive games in 1947. While with the Reds in 1949 Cooper drove inÃ‚Â 10 RBI in one game, going 6-for-7 with three home runs. He is one of only three players to hit grand slams with five different teams (Dave Kingman and Dave Winfield are the others).
Julio Franco — Played for 23 years from 1982 to 2007, retiring at the age of 49 as the oldest regular position player in major league history (excluding stunt players or exhibition games). He is still playing in Japan now at the age of 56. He played for 8 different teams, mostly with the Indians, Braves and Rangers. The most homers he ever hit in one year was 20. He started out as a young shortstop but gradually climbed all the way down the defensive spectrum to second base, outfield, first base, DH and then pinch hitter. He made three All Star teams and won the AL batting title in 1991 with a .341 AVG. In the 1990 All Star game he hit a 101 mph fastball from Rob Dibble for a double to drive in the only runs of the game. He skipped the 1995 season to play in Japan due to the MLB strike. He played the 1998 season in Japan, 1991 in Mexico and the 2000 season in Korea. Finished second in the Rookie of the Year balloting in 1983 behind Ron Kittle. Franco had 2586 career hits despite playing several seasons overseas.
Mark Grace — First baseman who played from 1988 to 2003. 13 years for the Cubs and 3 years for the Diamondbacks. 17 home runs was his career high. He finished with a .303 career batting average and a nice 119 OPS+. He made three All Star teams and was runner up for the 1988 NL Rookie of the Year Award to Chris Sabo of the Reds. Led all players in the 1990s with 1754 hits in that decade. He and Pete Rose are the only players to ever lead a decade in hits without being in the Hall of Fame.
Giancarlo Stanton — An active player since 2010 with the Florida Marlins. One of the most prodigious sluggers in the game, Stanton has crushed many of the longest home runs in baseball the last few years. He has hit 37 home runs twice in his young career despite playing in a very difficult ballpark to hit home runs. Surprisingly he has only made the All Star team twice so far. He finished as runner up for the MVP Award last year behind Clayton Kershaw. Stanton has a superstellar 144 career OPS+, which would rank 4th among all active players behind Albert Pujols, Miguel Cabrera and Joey Votto if he had enough plate appearances to qualify. Used to be known as Mike Stanton before going back to his given name. This offseason he signed the richest contract in sports history worth $325 million.
Eddie Robinson — Played from 1942 to 1957 for seven of the eight American League teams that existed back then. He played for the Indians for 5 years but actually played more games in his three years with the White Sox. He made four All Star teams as a first baseman. His biggest HR year was 1951 when he hit 29. He had a 113 career OPS+ but was never really considered one of the best players of his time. At 94 years old Robinson is the sole surviving player to have won a World Series as a Cleveland Indian, which he did in 1948.
Mickey Vernon — The left-handed first baseman played for 20 years from 1939-1960 except for 1944 and 1945 when he was in the NavyÃ‚Â during World War Two. He spent 14 of those years with the Washington Senators. 20 home runs was his career high. He made seven All Star teams and twice finished in the top five of the MVP balloting. He finished with 2495 hits and a 116 OPS+. He holds the AL records for most career games, putouts and assists.
Richard HidalgoÃ‚Â — He was a slugging first baseman for the Astros. His career spanned 1997 to 2005. He had two mammoth years with OPS+ scores of 147 and 143 but was by and large a below average player other than those two seasons. He hit 44 home runs with 118 Runs and 122 RBI and a .314 AVG in the year 2000 yet somehow finished 20th in the MVP balloting. I know that was a high-offense era but can you really tell me there were 19 players in the National League who put up better numbers than that? That was the only year he hit more than 28 homers.
Melvin Mora — Played from 1999 to 2011, mostly with the Orioles. He made two All Star teams and topped out with 27 home runs as his career high, but did it twice in 2004 and 2005. He led the league with a .419 OBP in 2004. Mora was primarily a third baseman but also played shortstop, second base and outfield. He played for the 1999 Mets team that beat the Reds in a one-game playoff at the end of the regular season. Mora is the father of quintuplets. Mora tragically witnessed the murder of his father when he was six years old.
Dmitri Young — Da Meathook played in the majors from 1996 to 2008, including 4 years with the Reds. Dmitri was the 4th pick of the 1st round by the Cardinals in 1991. His much younger brother Delmon would later be the 1st pick of the 1st round in 2003. The Reds traded closer and future broadcaster Jeff Brantley to the Cardinals for Young before the 1998 season. Eight days later he was taken from the Reds by the Devil Rays in the expansion draft, but the Reds traded Mike Kelly to get Dmitri back. Young hit over .300 each year with the Reds. Before the 2002 season the Reds traded him to the Tigers for Juan Encarnacion and Luis Pineda — big mistake.Ã‚Â Dmitri’sÃ‚Â best year was 2003 with the Tigers when he hit 29 home runs and put up a 144 OPS+. He made two All Star teams but both came after he left the Reds. Dmitiri’s father was an F-14 fighter pilot for the Navy.
With his 13Ã‚Â home runs this season, Joey Votto has climbed from 435th place to 386th place on the all-time list. He has passed 53Ã‚Â players, including 3Ã‚Â Hall of Famers and 5Ã‚Â former Reds:
176 Ron Kittle
176 Don Money
176 Justin Upton (Active player)
175 Hideki Matsui
174 Bill Buckner
174 Ian Kinsler (Active Player)
173 Nate Colbert
173 Walker Cooper (Reds 1949-50)
173 Julio Franco
173 Mark Grace
173 Giancarlo Stanton (Active player)
172 Eddie Robinson
172 Mickey Vernon
171 Richard Hidalgo
171 Melvin Mora
171 Dmitri Young (Reds 1998-2001)
170 Joe Cronin Ã¢â‚¬â€ Hall of Fame
170 Bob Elliott
170 Jim Ray Hart
170 Kevin Millar
170 Tim Raines
169 Ramon HernandezÃ‚Â (Reds 2009-11)
169 Lloyd Moseby
169 Pete OÃ¢â‚¬â„¢Brien
169 Enos SlaughterÃ‚Â Ã¢â‚¬â€ Hall of Fame
169 Ty Wigginton
168 Jose Hernandez
167 Casey Blake
167 J.J. Hardy (Active player)
167 Elston Howard
167 Charles Johnson
167 Gus Triandos
166 Tony Conigliaro
166 Larry Hisle
166 Dwayne Murphy
166 Alex Rios (Active player)
166 Bill Robinson
166 Paul Sorrento
165 Jose Cruz
165 Jacque Jones
164 Hank Bauer
164 Chick Hafey Ã¢â‚¬â€ Hall of FameÃ‚Â (Reds 1932-37)
164 Jim Lemon
164 Andy Seminick (Reds 1952-55)
164 Al Smith
164 Andy Van Slyke
164 Claudell Washington
163 Don Demeter
163 Damion Easley
163 Ken Keltner
163 Bill Madlock
163 Roy Smalley
NOTE: active players are listed where they were when Votto passed them, not where they are now.
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