A new king is crowned!
APRIL 8, 1974
– Henry Aaron saves the best for the home town crowd. Four days after tying Babe Ruth’s career home run record of 714 home runs on the road in Cincinnati,
Hammerin Hank breaks the record before hysterical fans in
Coliseum. He hits the 715th of his career off Dodger hurler Al Downing. Aaron would go on the hit 755 home runs before ending his career in 1976.
It’s not every day the career home run record is broken. The last time it happened before 1974 was 1921 when Babe Ruth broke Roger Connor’s record of 138 home runs. Connor had held it since 1895 when he broke Harry Stovey’s record of 122. So, in the entire 20th Century, just three men held the record for most home runs in a career.
The record passed through several hands in the late 1800s. Here’s a list of who and when home run records were broken, and how many the new record-holder finished that year with.
Year Player HRs
1974 Henry Aaron 733
1921 Babe Ruth 162
1895 Roger Connor 124
1889 Harry Stovey 89
1887 Dan Brouthers 74
1885 Harry Stovey 50
1883 Charley Jones 33
1882 Jim O’Rourke 24
1881 Charley Jones 23
1879 Lip Pike 20
Lip Pike, Levi Meyerle and Fred Treacey set the first recorded career home run record with 4 in 1871.
The term “home run” was originally a descriptive one. In the early days of baseball, fences were generally farther out than they are today, so hitting a ball over the fence was rare. Inside-the-park home runs were more common because outfielders had more ground to cover. The batter had to literally
run home before being tagged out to hit a “home run.”