Veteran sportswriter champions 30 of the most memorable homers—from Babe Ruth to Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa

Great Home Runs of the 20th Century

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Rich Westcott

"This book is a home run on its own and I'm proud to be part of it."
Mr. October, Reggie Jackson

The home run is the single most dramatic moment in baseball. Often it has been the exclamation point that appears at the end of a game, a season, a playoff, or a World Series. For fans, certain images—such as that of Carlton Fisk urging his shot fair over Green Monster or of Kirk Gibson limping around the bases—are engraved in memory.

From Babe Ruth to Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa, the author tells of the stories, complete with box scores and photographs, of what he has selected as the thirty most memorable home runs. Many of the stories include comments from the author’s interviews with home run hitters. Other sections cover sixty additional noteworthy home runs, All Star Game home runs, and milestones such as total home run production and grand slams.

In Rich Westcott’s journey through baseball history, fans will encounter the most famous moments and longest blast, as well as fascinating sidelights like these about balls that didn’t travel as far.

  • Who won a home run title without hitting a single ball out of the park?*

  • Who hit the first inside-the-park home run in a World Series game?**

  • Who hit the shortest home run , one that failed to reach the pitcher’s mound?***

* Ty Cobb won the title in 1909 with nine inside-the-park home runs.
** Casey Stengel for the New York Giants in 1923.
*** Andy Oyler of the Minnesota Millers scored on a two-foot drive into a mud puddle in front of home plate during a game in 1900. ( Baseball historians disagree on the truth of this account.)



Read the Introduction and Chapter 1 (pdf).



"Great Home Runs of the 20th Century is an exciting book. It's well worth reading. You really learn a lot about some of the top moments in baseball history. I think it's a great book."
Tom Lasorda, former Los Angeles Dodgers manager, Hall of Fame member, and skipper of the 2000 U.S. Olympic gold medal baseball team

"With Great Home Runs of the 20th Century, Rich Westcott has written a reference book with insight and flair. He goes yard with Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Whitey Kurowski and Rick Dempsey, filling in the blanks with special touches that make their homers such an integral part of the game's history. It's an enjoyable and informative read."
Jerry Crasnick, Bloomberg News and Baseball America

"A must for any baseball library."
Jerome Holtzman, Official baseball historian for Major League Baseball and former Chicago Tribune columnist

"Rich Westcott has hit a more run himself with Great Home Runs of the 20th Century. This is the first definitive reference book of all the great home runs in baseball history, and, as such, a 'must' for any student of the game. Ever since Babe Ruth led us out of the 'dead ball; era, home runs have reigned supreme in baseball and Westcott has performed a service to fans by documenting the most important ones."
Bill Madden, New York Daily News



Frank Baker: The Home Run Achieves New Status October 16, 1911
Babe Ruth: A Record That Stands the Test of Time September 30, 1927
Babe Ruth: Did He Really Call the Shot? October 1, 1932
Mel Ott: Extra-Inning Blast Wins Series October 7, 1933
Gabby Hartnett: The Homer in the Gloamin' September 28, 1938
Whitey Kurowski: The End of a Remarkable Season October 5, 1942
Hank Greenberg: A Triumphant Return from the War September 30, 1945
Dick Sisler: Bats Phillies to First Flag in 35 Years October 1, 1950
Bobby Thomson: The Miracle of Coogan’s Bluff October 3, 1951
Mickey Mantle: First of the Tape-Measure Homers April 17, 1953
Dusty Rhodes: Vaunted Indians Staff Goes Down September 29, 1954
Ted Williams: Bowing Out in Grand Style September 28, 1960
Bill Mazeroski: Biggest Blast in World Series History October 13, 1960
Roger Maris: A Special Record Is Broken October 1, 1961
Hank Aaron: Baseball Gets a New Home Run Ring April 8, 1974
Frank Robinson: First Black Manager Has Smashing Debut April 8, 1975
Carlton Fisk: Wave Goodbye to That One October 21, 1975
Mike Schmidt: Leading a Remarkable Comeback April 18, 1976
Chris Chambliss: The Yankees Win the LCS October 14, 1976
Reggie Jackson: Mr. October Goes to Work October 18, 1977
Willie Stargell: Pops Wins One for “The Family” October 17, 1979
George Brett: Kansas City Finally Wins a Pennant October 10, 1980
Jack Clark: A New Hero Joins Cardinals Legends October 16, 1985
Kirk Gibson: Hobbled Hitter Leads Dodgers to Victory October 15, 1988
Rick Dempsey: Marathon Ends in 22nd Inning August 23, 1989
Joe Carter: Clutch Clout Gives Blue Jays the Series October 23, 1993
Cal Ripken: Homer Accompanies Record-Setting Streak September 6, 1995
Mark McGwire: An Incredible 70-Home Run Season September 27, 1998
Fernando Tatis: Two Grand Slams in the Same Inning April 23, 1999
Sammy Sosa: First Player to Reach 60 Home Runs Twice September 18, 1999
Top 10 Homers in the All-Star Game
Other Noteworthy Home Runs
All-Time Home Run Leaders
Photograph Credits


About the Author(s)

Rich Westcott has been a writer and editor for almost 40 years. He is the author of 10 other books, including The New Phillies Encyclopedia (with Frank Bilovsky), Phillies '93: An Incredible Season, and Philadelphia's Old Ballparks, all published by Temple University Press. He is the founder of Phillies Report, the nation's oldest continuous, baseball team newspaper. Currently, Westcott teaches sportswriting at LaSalle University and is an official scorer at Phillies games.

Subject Categories

General Interest



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