Chicks Dig the Long Ball: The 10 Best Post-World War II Power-Hitting Pitchers
On Saturday, the Cincinnati Reds' Micah Owings launched his third home run of the 2009 season. He also hit four home runs in 2007, putting him in a rare group of pitchers who have homered three or more times in multiple seasons.
In the last 30 years, just five players have done so: Owings, Carlos Zambrano, Mike Hampton, Tim Lollar, and Rick Rhoden.
I've decided to take a look at the top power-hitting pitchers in the post-World War II era.
The list isn't arranged by total home runs but rather a combination of how prolonged their power surge was and also their career best year.
Each slide's headline contains the career Avg./HR/RBI of each player for easy reference.
*Make Sure to proceed past No.1, as there is an Honorable Mention slide at the end*
10. Mike Hampton: .245/15/76
With 15 career long balls, Mike Hampton gets the list going. He paved the way for hitting pitchers like Carlos Zambrano and Micah Owings, showing them that it's possible to torture their fellow tradesmen at the plate.
Although he played at the pre-humidor Coors Field, Mike hit seven home runs in '01 while posting a .291 average and 16 RBI.
A career .245 hitter, he will always be remember as a power-hitting pitcher—and a vastly overpaid one at that.
9. Gary Peters: .222/19/102
A career .222 hitter, Peters hit .259 and slugged three home runs in the '63 season.
He hit at least three home runs three different times ('63, '64, '71) and was a two-time All-Star.
8. Carlos Zambrano: .238/18/51
The pure rage that Zambrano takes out on the ball when he hits makes him remarkable to watch.
He hit six home runs in '06 and in '08 hit four more while batting .337 on the season.
Zambrano has hit at least one home run in every season since '03, and the switch-hitting LHP can go yard from either side of the dish.
Unless he was serious about a premature retirement, Carlos could make a run at 30 home runs and 100 RBI in his career.
7. Don Newcombe: .271/15/108
Newcombe hit .359 for the '55 World Champion Brooklyn Dodgers while belting seven home runs.
Boasting a lofty .271 career average, the 1949 Rookie of the Year and 1958 Cy Young and MVP winner could certainly do more than just mow hitters down at the plate.
6. Dizzy Trout: .213/20/110
In '44, Dizzy hit five home runs and batted .271 with 24 RBI. He also made his first of two All-Star appearances that season.
He hit three home runs or more in three seasons ('44, '46, '47) and drove in 10 or more runs in five seasons ('44-'47, '50).
5. Bob Gibson: .206/24/144
One of the best pitchers of his generation, Bob Gibson was an incredibly gifted ballplayer.
Aside from winning two Cy Young Awards ('68, '70) and going to eight All-Star games, Gibson drove in 20 runs in '63 and knocked in 144 in his career.
Gibson hit five home runs in '65 and batted .240. He also hit seven bombs in '72.
4. Don Drysdale: .186/29/113
Drysdale slugged seven home runs in '58 and '61.
The eight-time All-Star and Hall of Famer averaged a home run every 9.4 at-bats in '58.
In '61, he maintained a .300 average with 19 RBI. The next year, '62, he won the Cy Young Award.
3. Warren Spahn: .194/35/189
Spahn hit four home runs at the age of 40 in '61.
He also hit at least one home run in every season from '48-'64 and batted .333 in '58.
A 14-time All-Star and the 1957 Cy Young Award winner, Spahn is one of the greatest left-handed pitchers to ever take the mound but clearly enjoyed his side gig of taking opposing pitchers deep.
2. Earl Wilson: .195/35/111
Earl Wilson cracked 35 home runs in his career and was widely considered the best hitting pitcher of the 1960s. He was also the first Black pitcher in the history of the Boston Red Sox.
In '65, he hit six home runs and followed up that effort in '66 and '68 when he hit seven home runs in each season. The '66 campaign saw Earl also hit .240 with 22 RBI.
On Jun. 26, 1962, Wilson tossed a no-hitter in a 2-0 victory against the Los Angeles Angels. More impressively, he also hit a home run that same day.
He hit at least five home runs in four different seasons ('64-'66, '68).
1. Bob Lemon: .232/37/147
Lemon hit at least five home runs in a season four times ('48-50, '56) and hit a career seven in '49.
He hit .286 in '48 and in '50 had 26 RBI.
A seven-time All-Star, Lemon hit at least one home run in every season from '46-'57.
Micah Owings: .304/8/47
In a few years Owings will almost certainly be in the top five of this list.
Milt Pappas: .123/20/67
In '62 Pappas hit just .083 and had only six hits. However, four of those hits were home runs.
Don Cardwell: .135/15/53
In '60 Cardwell hit five home runs.
Rick Wise: .195/15/66
In '71 Wise hit .237 with six home runs. He also is the only pitcher to hit two home runs during his own no-hitter.
Clint Hartung: .238/14/43
In '47 Hartung hit .309 with four home runs and 13 RBI, and he hit three or more home runs in three seasons ('47, '49, '50).
Don Larsen: .242/14/72
In '58 Larsen hit .306 with four home runs.
Dontrelle Willis: .233/8/35
After forgetting how to be a consistent pitcher and moving to the AL, Dontrelle stopped piling up lofty numbers that otherwise would have landed him in the top 10.
Fergie Jenkins: .165/13/85
Jenkins hit .243 in '71 and drove in 20 runs.