Despite their big numbers, McGwire and Sosa aren't that far ahead of the crowd
Sure, Mark McGwire (above) and Sammy Sosa finished one-two in another record-breaking home run race, but when measured against past home run champs, Big Mac and Sammy were ordinary—at least by one man's calculation. The Home Run Power Ratio (HRPR), a statistic developed by writer Matt Baron of Oak Park, ill., compares the number of at bats per home run for a player to the frequency of homers for all other players in his league (or, since interleague play began in 1997, to all other players in the majors). McGwire had 65 home runs in 521 at bats this year, or a homer every 8.02 at bats; the rest of the majors hit 5,463 homers in 166,615 at bats, or one every 30.50 at bats. Dividing 30.50 by 8.02 yields an HRPR of 3.80. ( Sosa, with 63 homers in 625 at bats, had a 3.07.) Over the past 50 years the average HRPR for home run champs has been 3.26. The alltime king was Babe Ruth, who had 11 of the top 14 HRPRs since 1918. Here are the top 10 HRPR full seasons for the past half century, as well as the best single-season performances in each of the last eight decades.
[This article contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]