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MLB’s most 40 home run seasons

Albert Pujols is competing with some of baseball’s greatest ever as he compiled his sixth 40 home run season in 2010.

Albert Pujols' 400th home run, 08/26/10 (Getty Images/Greg Fiume)As many know by now, St. Louis Cardinals slugger Albert Pujols collected his 40th home run of the season on Thursday. It was a two-run shot in the third inning against the Pittsburgh Pirates. He added another home run in the sixth, his National League-leading 41st of the season.

It was Pujols’ 39th career multi-home run game, two ahead of Hall of Famer Stan Musial for the most in team history. It was Albert’s sixth multi-homer game this season alone.

Pujols reached the 40 home run plateau for the second consecutive season and the sixth time in his 10-year career. That ties him for eighth all-time across MLB in seasons with 40 or more dingers. His immediate company includes the immortal Willie Mays, still-active Jim Thome and his own hitting coach, Mark McGwire.

To answer the question as to the names of the other past greats on that list, researcher Tom Orf pulled the following table with the top 20 players in MLB history in terms of 40 home run seasons.

Pujols would require five more of these seasons just to tie The Babe. Note how similar Albert’s trajectory is to the name just above him on the list, recently-retired Ken Griffey Jr.

Most 40 home run seasons, MLB history

Rank Player Years 1st Last Age
1 Babe Ruth 11 1920 1932 25-37
T2 Alex Rodriguez 8 1998 2007 22-31
T2 Barry Bonds 8 1993 2004 28-39
T2 Harmon Killebrew 8 1959 1970 23-34
T2 Hank Aaron 8 1957 1973 23-39
T6 Sammy Sosa 7 1996 2003 27-34
T6 Ken Griffey 7 1993 2000 23-30
T8 Albert Pujols 6 2003 2010 23-30
T8 Jim Thome 6 1997 2006 26-35
T8 Mark McGwire 6 1987 1999 23-35
T8 Willie Mays 6 1954 1965 23-34
T12 Adam Dunn 5 2004 2008 24-28
T12 Manny Ramirez 5 1998 2005 26-33
T12 Frank Thomas 5 1993 2003 25-35
T12 Juan Gonzalez 5 1992 1998 22-28
T12 Ernie Banks 5 1955 1960 24-29
T12 Duke Snider 5 1953 1957 26-30
T12 Ralph Kiner 5 1947 1951 24-28
T12 Jimmie Foxx 5 1932 1938 24-30
T12 Lou Gehrig 5 1927 1936 24-33

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Brian Walton

Brian Walton runs The Cardinal Nation and The Cardinal Nation Blog, covering the St. Louis Cardinals and minor league system.
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