To rack up a lot of home runs in the postseason, a hitter needs plenty of chances and the ability to come through on the biggest stage.
These 12 elite October performers have had both, each producing at least 17 big flies in their playoff careers. Here is a look at the top postseason home run hitters of all time.
1) Manny Ramírez: 29 HR
Manny played in 11 postseasons for the Indians, Red Sox and Dodgers, got 493 plate appearances (third all time) and slugged a typically robust .544. His first two postseason homers, in Game 2 of the 1995 American League Championship Series, helped Cleveland reach the World Series. He was still raking as a 36-year-old for the 2008 Dodgers, when he went 13-for-25 with four big flies in eight October games. In between, Ramírez was MVP of Boston’s victory in the 2004 World Series.
2) Jose Altuve: 23 HR
Altuve has been one of the best postseason tone-setters, clubbing a playoff-record seven first-inning homers. Altuve's first three postseason homers all came in the same game, as he turned in a three-homer performance in Game 1 of the 2017 ALDS against the Red Sox. While Altuve has had his share of first-inning home runs, his most memorable blast came in Game 6 of the '19 ALCS, when he sent Houston to the World Series with a pennant-clinching walk-off shot against Aroldis Chapman. Altuve's homer to help Houston clinch in Game 4 of the 2021 ALDS gave him at least one big fly in five straight postseasons. He then got to the 20-homer mark for his postseason career with a two-run shot in ALCS Game 1 against the Red Sox before clobbering a solo home run in Game 4 to set the record for most career postseason home runs by an infielder. But Altuve wasn't done yet, smashing two more home runs in the World Series against the Braves, a solo shot in Game 2 and another solo homer in Game 4.
3) Bernie Williams: 22 HR
Williams wasn’t known as a huge power hitter, topping out at 30 homers in a season. But as a key member of the Yankees in the 1990s and 2000s, he got lots of October opportunities and took advantage. The center fielder was MVP of the 1996 ALCS against the Orioles, when he homered twice, including an 11th-inning walk-off shot in Game 1. He finished that year’s championship run with six long balls and wasn’t done coming through in the clutch. Williams hit another extra-inning walk-off in Game 1 of the 1999 ALCS against the Red Sox, making him one of three players (along with David Ortiz and Carlos Correa) to end two different postseason games with a homer.
4) Derek Jeter: 20 HR
Jeter’s postseason batting average (.308) was two points lower than his regular-season mark, but his .465 slugging percentage was 25 points higher. The five-time World Series champion, who had three 20-homer campaigns in his career, essentially had a fourth if you combine his playoff production over 158 games. The damage included two homers in the 2000 World Series against the Mets, which led him to MVP honors. Then there was his famous 10th-inning walk-off in Game 4 of the 2001 Fall Classic against the D-backs, after the clock struck midnight at Yankee Stadium and the calendar flipped to November for the first time in World Series history.
T-5) Albert Pujols: 19 HR
Pujols, tied as the active postseason home run leader with George Springer, is a two-time World Series champion. He was MVP of the 2004 NLCS (four homers) and is one of only 10 players to go deep three times in a postseason game -- one of four to do it in the World Series (2011, Game 3). And yet, his most famous homer remains one that came in a series his team lost. That was the 2005 NLCS, when the Cardinals superstar hushed the Houston crowd by annihilating a ball off All-Star closer Brad Lidge for a go-ahead, three-run shot in the top of the ninth. Pujols could have climbed to the top of this list, but only made the postseason once with the Angels (one homer in 2014) before returning with the Dodgers in 2021.
T-5) George Springer: 19 HR
Springer has gotten off to quite the start in his postseason career. The 2020 postseason was the fifth of Springer’s career, and he’s hit multiple home runs in all but the first one -- when he hit one home run in six games in the 2015 postseason. While Springer has a long ways to go, it’ll be hard to top his MVP-winning performance in the 2017 World Series, when he swatted five homers.
T-7) Reggie Jackson: 18 HR
Well, his nickname is Mr. October for a reason. Reggie slugged .527 over 11 postseasons and is one of three players -- and the only hitter -- to win multiple World Series MVP Awards, doing so for the 1973 A’s and ‘77 Yankees. In the latter Fall Classic, against the Dodgers, Jackson set a record for a single World Series with five homers (since tied by Chase Utley in 2009 and George Springer in ‘17). The barrage included three big flies in the Yankees’ clinching victory in Game 6 at Yankee Stadium, with Jackson driving in five of the team’s eight runs.
T-7) Mickey Mantle: 18 HR
Mantle played his entire career before the postseason expanded to multiple rounds in 1969, but his 18 World Series home runs are three more than any other player (Babe Ruth, 15). Nine of Mantle’s homers came off Dodgers pitchers, his most of any opponent. That’s tied for the second-most postseason home runs by a player against a single opponent, with Jackson (also against the Dodgers). Only Duke Snider hit more against an opponent -- with 10 against the Yankees. Mantle hit one walk-off home run in his postseason career, in 1964 World Series Game 3, off the Cardinals’ Barney Schultz.
T-7) Nelson Cruz: 18 HR
Cruz’s 18 career postseason homers include six in his first postseason in 2010, and eight in 2011, when he set a record for a single series with six in the ALCS. That performance included a walk-off shot in Game 2, off the Tigers’ Ryan Perry in the bottom of the 11th inning. In 2021, he became the 11th player to hit at least one postseason homer after turning 40, swatting a solo homer off Nick Pivetta of the Red Sox during Game 1 of the ALDS as a member of the Rays.
T-7) Carlos Correa: 18 HR
Correa only turned 27 shortly before the start of the 2021 postseason, yet he's already rocketing up this list. (No other player has gone deep more than 13 times in the postseason before their 27th birthday). Correa got things started with a multi-homer effort in Game 4 of the 2015 ALDS and has continued to provide October power in the years since. His six big flies in the 2020 playoffs included a walk-off shot in Game 5 of the ALCS against the Rays, which staved off elimination for Houston and made Correa the third player with multiple postseason walk-offs. He then went deep in Game 1 of the 2021 ALCS against the Red Sox, launching a go-ahead solo homer in the seventh inning at Minute Maid Park for the 18th postseason homer of his career.
T-11) David Ortiz: 17 HR
Ortiz’s first career postseason home run was off Mike Mussina in ALCS Game 1 in 2003. He hit another home run, off David Wells, in Game 7 of that series, but the legend would really grow in 2004. Ortiz hit two walk-off home runs in the 2004 postseason, off Jarrod Washburn in ALDS Game 3 and off Paul Quantrill in the 14th inning in ALCS Game 4, with the Red Sox facing elimination. Ortiz, who took MVP honors in the latter series, is the only player to hit multiple walk-off home runs in a single postseason. He later was named World Series MVP in 2013, when he homered twice against the Cardinals shortly before turning 38.
T-11) Jim Thome: 17 HR
Thome hit all of his homers in the first 53 games of his postseason career, for the Indians between 1995-2001. That was easily the most in MLB over that span. His first came in Game 3 of the 1995 ALDS against the Red Sox, when he took Tim Wakefield deep. There were three pitchers he homered off multiple times in the postseason, hitting two each off Bret Saberhagen, Andy Pettitte and Derek Lowe. However, Thome went homerless in his final 18 postseason games as he bounced from the Indians to the White Sox, Dodgers, Twins and Orioles.