Two-homer day brings Chris Davis to 30 — and select company - Sports Illustrated

Two-homer day brings Chris Davis to 30 — and select company

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Chris Davis continued his incredible power hitting with two tape-measure blasts against the Yankees on Saturday night. [AP]

Chris Davis continued his incredible power hitting with two tape-measure blasts against the Yankees on Saturday. [AP]

Orioles

homered twice

Tigers

Miguel Cabrera

According to the Elias Bureau, Davis is the fifth-fastest player to reach 30 homers, doing so in 82 team games. He's also the 34th player to reach 30 homers by the All-Star break, a milepost which in years past put a player within range of challenging Roger Maris' single-season home run record of 61. Juiced sluggers and juiced baseballs changed how we view such quick accumulations of home runs, but it's still worth pointing out.

Given that the Orioles still have 14 games to play before the All-Star break, he figures to climb higher on this list, particularly given that his longest streak of the season without a homer is eight games:

Rk

Player

Year

G

1st Half HR

2nd Half HR

Total HR

1

Barry Bonds

2001

81

39

34

73

2T

Reggie Jackson

1969

91

37

10

47

Mark McGwire

1998

80

37

33

70

4T

Ken Griffey

1998

88

35

21

56

Luis Gonzalez

2001

87

35

22

57

6

Frank Howard

1969

100

34

14

48

7T

Roger Maris

1961

83

33

28

61

Mark McGwire

1987

80

33

16

49

Matt Williams

1994

86

33

10

43

Ken Griffey

1994

87

33

7

40

Sammy Sosa

1998

83

33

33

66

12T

Frank Thomas

1994

86

32

6

38

Sammy Sosa

1999

85

32

31

63

Albert Pujols

2009

90

32

15

47

15T

Willie Mays

1954

84

31

10

41

Mike Schmidt

1979

92

31

14

45

Kevin Mitchell

1989

86

31

16

47

Mark McGwire

1997

87

31

27

58

Jose Canseco

1999

82

31

3

34

David Ortiz

2006

86

31

23

54

Jose Bautista

2011

84

31

12

43

22T

Harmon Killebrew

1964

76

30

19

49

Willie McCovey

1969

86

30

15

45

Willie Stargell

1971

76

30

18

48

Willie Stargell

1973

86

30

14

44

Dave Kingman

1976

86

30

7

37

Brady Anderson

1996

79

30

20

50

Ken Griffey

1997

84

30

26

56

Greg Vaughn

1998

87

30

20

50

Mark McGwire

2000

70

30

2

32

Barry Bonds

2003

80

30

15

45

Jim Thome

2006

82

30

12

42

Alex Rodriguez

2007

85

30

24

54

Chris Davis

2013

81

30

--

30

As you can see from the table above, not everybody who reached 30 made a serious charge on the record. Mays, the first player to reach 30 by the All-Star break, did so back when Babe Ruth held the record with 60; he was at 31 by the break, but hit just 10 the rest of the way even as he earned NL MVP honors and helped the Giants bring home a world championship. Maris himself reached 33 by the break and successfully toppled Ruth.

Just about every challenger who came along between 1962 and 1998 fell off considerably in the second half. Reggie Jackson's drop was perhaps the most dramatic given that he set a first-half record (it's worth noting that the All-Star Game was played fairly late that year, on July 23), and he had 91 games under his belt (Frank Howard had 100 that year!). When Dave Kingman fell off into the single digits in the second half in 1976, he did so while missing more than five weeks after tearing ligaments in his thumb. Likewise for Jose Canseco (1999) and Mark McGwire (2000), though by that point, the latter had surpassed Maris, albeit with a little pharmaceutical help. Frank Thomas, Ken Griffey and Matt Williams, meanwhile, fell off as their bids for the record ended due to the 1994 players' strike in early August.

The bottom line is that history shows how incredibly difficult it is to maintain the kind of pace Davis is setting. He's not going to get anywhere close to Barry Bonds' 73, but at the very least, he's putting himself in position to become the first player since Jose Bautista in 2010 to top 50 homers, and making a serious case for AL MVP, even as Cabrera continues to post incredible numbers himself. Revising my chart from a couple weeks ago:

Player 

PA 

HR 

RBI 

AVG 

OBP 

SLG 

OPS+ 

WAR

Davis

338

98

30

79

.333

.408

.724

195

4.0

Cabrera

365

117

24

81

.375

.463

.676

203

4.8

Manny Machado