500 Home Run Club

In Major League Baseball (MLB), the 500 home run club is the group of batters who have hit 500 or more regular-season home runs in their careers. On August 11, 1929, Babe Ruth became the first member of the club. Ruth ended his career with 714 home runs, a record which stood from 1935 until Hank Aaron surpassed it in 1974. Aaron's ultimate career total, 755, remained the record until Barry Bonds set the current mark of 762 during the 2007 season. Gary Sheffield is the most recent to reach 500 home runs, doing so on April 17, 2009. Twenty-five players are members of the 500 home run club.

Of these 25 players, 13 were right-handed batters, 10 were left-handed, and 2 were switch hitters. The San Francisco Giants are the only franchise to see four players reach the milestone while on their roster: Mel Ott while the team was in New York, Willie Mays, Willie McCovey, and most recently Bonds. Four 500 home run club members—Aaron, Mays, Eddie Murray, and Rafael Palmeiro—are also members of the 3,000 hit club. Sheffield's 500th home run was his first career home run with the New York Mets, the first time that a player's 500th home run was also his first with his franchise. Alex Rodriguez, at 32 years and 8 days, was the youngest player to reach the milestone while Ted Williams, at 41 years and 291 days, was the oldest.

Membership in the 500 home run club is sometimes described as a guarantee of eventual entry into the Baseball Hall of Fame, although some believe the milestone has become less meaningful in recent years. Mark McGwire and Rafael Palmeiro are the only currently eligible club members not elected to the Hall. Eligibility requires that a player has "been retired five seasons" or be deceased for at least six months, disqualifying nine living players who have been active within the past five seasons. Two of these nine, Bonds and Sammy Sosa, will be eligible for the first time in the next Hall of Fame elections in 2013. Some believe the milestone has become less important with the large number of new members; 10 players joined the club from 1999 to 2009. Additionally, several of these recent members have had ties to performance-enhancing drugs. Some believe that by not electing McGwire to the Hall the voters were establishing a "referendum" on how they would treat players from the "Steroid Era".

Read more about 500 Home Run Club:  Key, Members

Famous quotes containing the words home, run and/or club:

    Our sympathies in Massachusetts are not confined to New England; though we may be estranged from the South, we sympathize with the West. There is the home of the younger sons, as among the Scandinavians they took to the sea for their inheritance.
    Henry David Thoreau (1817–1862)

    Happy are men who yet before they are killed
    Can let their veins run cold.
    Wilfred Owen (1893–1918)

    We have ourselves to answer for.
    “Jennie June” Croly 1829–1901, U.S. founder of the woman’s club movement, journalist, author, editor. Demorest’s Illustrated Monthly and Mirror of Fashions, pp. 24-5 (January 1870)