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Players on Pace to Hit 756 Homeruns
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May 25, 2007

Everywhere we look these days, people are panicking about Barry Bonds breaking Hank Aaron's homerun record. Bonds is a big fat jerk, probably took performance enhancing substances, beat the girlfriend he cheated on his wife with, and may have even evaded some federal income taxes.

As a result, the Commissioner isn't sure if he will be at the game in which Bonds breaks the record, Hank Aaron has said for sure that he will not, and in a recent article, writer Scott Miller insisted on using an asterisk next to Bonds' name everytime it appeared.

In the end, years from now, all of this hype/panic will be made to look silly. Why? Because the Commissioner, the Hammer, Miller, and pundits and fans everywhere are treating Bonds assault on the record as if Bonds will be the last person ever to even approach 756 homeruns, when in fact it is incredibly unlikely that Bonds' record (assuming he gets it) will even last a decade.

Going into the 2007 season, there were a remarkable 19 players who, given their career homeruns per at-bat ratios, would be on pace to reach the record by the age of 49. Take a look for yourself:

First Last Age G AB HR Seas. 756 Age
Alex Rodriguez 31 1746 6767 464 7 38
Albert Pujols 27 933 3489 250 12 39
Ryan Howard 27 266 932 83 13 40
Adam Dunn 27 821 2832 198 14 41
Ken Griffey Jr. 37 2234 8298 563 5 42
Manny Ramirez 35 1817 6575 470 7 42
Andruw Jones 30 1616 5869 344 12 42
Sammy Sosa 38 2240 8401 588 4 42
Vlad Guerrero 31 1457 5502 338 11 42
Barry Bonds 42 2860 9507 734 1 43
Jim Thome 36 1881 6409 472 7 43
Troy Glaus 30 1129 4040 257 14 44
Miguel Cabrera 24 563 2106 108 21 45
David Ortiz 31 1043 3666 231 15 46
Lance Berkman 31 1059 3687 225 15 46
Chipper Jones 35 1761 6385 357 12 47
Todd Helton 33 1424 5106 286 14 47
Jason Giambi 36 1622 5620 350 12 48
Jim Edmonds 37 1697 5907 350 12 49

Now, obviously these numbers have to be taken with a grain of salt. For example, Chipper Jones, Todd Helton, Jason Giambi, and Jim Edmonds are all past their peak homerun hitting days, and none of them appears to have 10 to 15 seasons left in them.

Likewise, neither Sammy Sosa nor Ken Griffey, Jr. are hitting the 45-50 homeruns per year that they once averaged, so the short time during in which they are projected to reach 756 is over-inflated; it would likely take each of them significantly longer to reach the mark.

Some players may also be discounted by the simple fact that, despite their remarkable homerun-to-atbat ratios, it is simply to early in their careers to predict what may be to come in the next 10, 15, or even 20 years. Thus, while Albert Pujols, Adam Dunn, and Ryan Howard are each currentlty set to hit roughly 800 homeruns (easily) before their careers are through, we can't say with any certainty at all that they will. Conversely, Miguel Cabrera is on pace to hit 756 by the age of 45, but considering that he is still developing as a player and has been robbed of many homeruns by playing in Dolphin Stadium, which is not likely to remain a major league stadium for too many more years, his best homerun years are still ahead of him.

The point is, to have 19 players in range to reach 756 homeruns at any point is remarkable, period.

And despite these caveats, the record does face considerable jeopardy from a trio of players who are neither too old nor too young to be considered legitimate threats. Indeed, Vlad Guerrero, Andruw Jones, and Alex Rodriguez are each in the primes of their careers, hitting homeruns as well as they ever have, and rapidly approaching signigicant homerun milestones. A-Rod is set to hit his 500th homerun this season at the age of 31, and is on pace to hit his 756th homerun at the remarkable age of 38! Andruw Jones and Vlad Guerrero are only 30 and 31, respectively, and should reach the halfway mark this season. Both are in their primes, and barring injury will reach the Hammer at the age of 42.

Obviously, this is all conjecture. Major League Baseball is currently hitting .250 as a league - who knows, maybe this is the dawn of a new pitchers' era (doubt it). And remember, Juan Gonzalez hit his 400th homerun at the age of 32 - one of the youngest ever to do so - never played another full season, and ended his career with 434 homeruns. Anything could happen.

But if things continue as they currently project, in 15 years there will be four or five players to have crossed the 756 threshold, and this whole Barry Bonds dilemma will be fading distantly in the rear-view mirror of baseball history.