This slideshow chronicles the 28 baseball players who have hit more than 500 home runs over the course of their careers. These are the greatest sluggers in the history of MLB, and while there is some controversy in the mix, this is an elite club of power hitters who have commanded the utmost respect of their opponents.
Whether the baseball world wants an asterisk by his name or not, former Giants and Pirates outfielder Barry Bonds is the all-time home run king with 762 dingers. The seven-time NL MVP broke Hank Aaron’s record mark of 755 home runs in August 2007. Despite being MLB’s all-time home run leader, suspicion of PED use may prevent Bonds from ever being enshrined in Cooperstown.
Thirty-seven years before Bonds became baseball’s home run king, Atlanta Braves legend Hank Aaron had that honor. Despite racial tensions and death threats, Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s record of 714 home runs in April 1974. A 24-time All-Star, Aaron would finish his Hall of Fame career with 755 home runs.
George Herman “Babe” Ruth was baseball’s original slugger. Having played before the revolution of television, Ruth is often seen as a mythical figure in baseball circles. “The Bambino” may very well be the greatest player in baseball history, as not only did he hit 714 home runs, he is also the all-time MLB leader in On-Base Plus Slugging (1.164), and Wins Above Replacement (163.1).
Having hit the majority of his dingers for the St. Louis Cardinals, perhaps the most impressive thing about Pujols is that during an era where just about every single one of his contemporaries has been implicated in some sort of PED scandal, Pujols has steered clear of such controversy. Assuming this remains the same, the two-time World Series champion is destined for Cooperstown.
One of the more controversial figures on the list, A-Rod was one of the ost prolific (and polarizing) power hitters of his era. Although he passed Willie Mays on the all-time home run list, Rodriguez's career is marred in the eyes of many baseball fans for his admission of PED use.
After Jackie Robinson opened the door for African-American players to play in the majors, Willie Mays plowed through whatever barriers were still standing. The “Say Hey Kid” hit 660 home runs, was a 24-time All-Star, and 12-time Gold Glove winner in his Hall of Fame career for the Giants and Mets.
When the Seattle Mariners drafted Ken Griffey Jr. with the first overall pick of the 1987 MLB draft, they were getting a phenom and everyone knew it. “Junior” played in the majors over four different decades, racking up 630 home runs, 13 All-Star selections, and 10 Gold Gloves. In fact, Griffey would undoubtedly be higher up on this list had he not missed 260 games due to injury from 2001 to 2004.
Although he’s far from a household name, first baseman Jim Thome is one of the most prolific power hitters baseball has ever seen. Playing his best years for the Cleveland Indians, Thome hit 612 home runs over his 21-year career.
The only player in baseball history to hit more than 60 home runs in three different seasons, Sammy Sosa was beloved by baseball fans during the prime years of his career playing for the Chicago Cubs. For some reason, whenever Sosa hit a home run it was simply electrifying. Although some love for Sosa has been lost over the years due to the steroid controversy, Sosa finished his career with 609 long balls hit.
Everything about Hall of Fame outfielder and manager Frank Robinson speaks to why we love baseball. Similar to Jackie Robinson and Willie Mays, Robinson had to overcome racial hatred to become one of the greatest ever to step out onto the field and into the batter's box. A 14-time All-Star, Triple Crown winner, and World Series MVP, Robinson hit 586 home runs over his illustrious career.
Mark McGwire captured the imagination of baseball fans in 1998 when he broke Roger Maris’s single-season record for home runs. The time since then has been another story. In 2010, McGwire admitted to using steroids off and on for a decade, diminishing his achievements as a baseball player in the eyes of most baseball fans. McGwire finished his career with 583 home runs and is currently the hitting coach for the Los Angeles Dodgers.
“Hammerin” Harmon Killebrew was essentially the Babe Ruth of the Midwest. Playing the vast majority of career for the Minnesota Twins, Killebrew was a 13-time All-Star, six-time AL home run champion, and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1984. Killebrew finished his career with 573 home runs hit.
Another player on this list whose career has been marred due to PED use, Rafael Palmeiro, is one of only four players to be members of both the 500 home run club and the 3,000 hit club. Although Palmeiro insists he never knowingly took any PEDs, his 2005 congressional testimony and subsequent failed drug test the same year is what most baseball fans remember him for. Palmeiro hit 569 home runs over his 19-year career.
Remembered best for his legendary three home run game for the Yankees in the 1977 World Series, Reggie Jackson is considered to be the most clutch power hitter in baseball history. “Mr. October” was a part of five World Series-winning teams in the 1970s, was a 14-time All-Star, and was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1993. Jackson finished his career, having hit 563 long balls.
Few players in recent memory have had as successful and bizarre of a career as Manny Ramirez. Never afraid of controversy, Ramirez hit 555 home runs in his career playing for the Indians, Red Sox, Dodgers, White Sox, and Rays. The MVP of the 2004 World Series, Ramirez's career ended in 2011 when he was facing a 100-game suspension by MLB for PED use. Instead of serving the suspension, Ramirez chose to retire.
Michael Jack Schmidt is considered by many baseball fans to be the greatest all-around third baseman in MLB history. Schmidt played his entire 19-year career for the Philadelphia Phillies, hitting 548 home runs, winning 10 Gold Gloves, and three NL MVPs in the process. Schmidt was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1995.
On the shortlist for the best designated hitters of all time, Big Papi hit 483 of his 541 blasts in a Red Sox uniform while leading the team to three World Series titles and becoming one of the most beloved figures in the history of Beantown. He was inducted into Cooperstown in 2022.
Perhaps the greatest center fielder in baseball history, Mickey Mantle is just as beloved by Yankees fans today as he was during his playing career. “The Mick” was a 20-time All-Star, seven-time World Series champion, three-time AL MVP, and a Triple Crown winner. He also hit 536 home runs over his Hall of Fame career.
When Jimmie Foxx hit his 500th career home run, he was only the second player in MLB history to do so (the other being Babe Ruth). Playing his best years with the Philadelphia Athletics and Boston Red Sox, Foxx finished his career in 1945 having hit 534 home runs and earning two World Series rings.
Similar to Babe Ruth, Ted Williams' life and career seem to have taken on some sort mythical meaning to baseball fans. The last man to hit above .400 in a season, Williams hit 521 home runs during his Hall of Fame career for the Boston Red Sox. It should be remembered however, that Williams missed out on four prime years of his career serving in the United States Marine Corps during World War II. Had Williams not largely missed out on playing baseball from 1942 to 1945, there’s really no telling how many home runs he would ended up hitting.
Similar to Albert Pujols, White Sox great Frank Thomas was also never accused of PED use, despite playing his best years when steroid use was supposedly at its peak in baseball. Inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2014, Thomas, a two-time AL MVP, slugged 521 home runs over his 18-year career.
Hall of Fame Giants first baseman Willie McCovey was all about the long ball. The three-time NL home run champion hit 521 over his 20-plus years in the majors. The Giants great now has the cove just behind right field in AT&T Park in San Francisco named after him for his efforts.
One of the most beloved and respected players ever to play the game, Chicago Cubs Hall of Famer Ernie Banks was the first power-hitting shortstop in major league history. A 14-time All-Star, “Mr. Cub” hit 512 home runs over his stellar career and proved to the baseball world that hitting the long ball isn’t a skill reserved for corner infielders and outfielders.
A classic power-hitting third baseman, Eddie Mathews enjoyed an extremely successful 16-year career in the majors. Mathews hit 512 home runs, won two World Series, and played in 12 All-Star games. The kid from Texarkana was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1978.
Despite being only 5’9’’ and barely weighing 170 pounds, Mel Ott was the first player in National League history to hit over 500 home runs. A 12-time All-Star for the New York Giants, Ott retired in 1947 with an NL-record 512 home runs hit. That record would stand until 1966, when fellow Giant Willie Mays passed him. Ott was inducted to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1951.
An immense talent with an unusual batting stance, Gary Sheffield enjoyed a successful 21-year career in the majors. The nine-time All-Star played for eight different teams and finished his career with a total of 509 home runs hit. Unfortunately for Sheffield, accusations of PED use have kept the outfielder from entering Cooperstown.
Cabrera is the only active member of this list and that will only be the case through the end of the 2023 MLB season. The majority of his 507 dingers came with the Detroit Tigers, but he did hit 138 during his five-year run as a Florida Marlin, while also helping the Fish win the 2003 World Series in an upset over the mighty New York Yankees.
Always one of the quietest players in the clubhouse, Eddie Murray let his bat talk for him. The first baseman hit 504 home runs in his 20-year career. Also a member of the 3,000 hit club, Murray was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 2003.