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Fewest games played to 100 career home runs

@SlangsOnSports
July 19, 2019

Reaching 100 career home runs is an achievement on its own, but doing so early in a career is even more impressive. There have been eight players in Major League history to reach the 100 mark in fewer than 400 career games, with the most recent addition to that club

Reaching 100 career home runs is an achievement on its own, but doing so early in a career is even more impressive.

There have been eight players in Major League history to reach the 100 mark in fewer than 400 career games, with the most recent addition to that club being Joey Gallo. When Gallo went deep for No. 100 on May 8 against Pittsburgh, it was in just his 377th career game.

Gallo should have more company soon. Through July 18, the Dodgers' Cody Bellinger had already collected 98 career homers (34 this season), in 389 games -- giving him 10 more in which to get to 100 (homers) before 400 (games). A pair of Yankees sluggers are set to crash the party as well. Gary Sanchez (95 homers in 339 games) and Aaron Judge (93 in 334) soon could become two of the three fastest players to reach the century mark.

Here’s a look at the fewest games by a player to hit 100 career home runs.

Ryan Howard: 325 games
Howard set the standard and then some, demolishing the previous record for fewest games to 100 career home runs. He hit No. 100 on June 27, 2007, his 325th game in the Majors. It was his fourth season in the bigs, after a 19-game cup of coffee in '04 and a 88-game Rookie of the Year-winning campaign in '05. He went on to hit 47 home runs in that '07 season, 11 fewer than he’d had while winning NL MVP the year before. Howard finished his career with 382 home runs.

Ralph Kiner: 376 games
Kiner got off to a fast start and didn’t look back, totaling 23 home runs in his first season in 1946 before promptly hitting 51 in '47. By '48, he was making his way toward 100 for his career, a milestone he reached on July 18 in the second game of a doubleheader. Kiner held at least a share of the National League lead in home runs each season from 1946-52, peaking with 54 in '49. He finished his career with 369 home runs.

Joey Gallo: 377 games
Gallo’s 100th home run was perhaps most notable because it made him the first player in Major League history to reach 100 career home runs before hitting 100 career singles. After hitting seven home runs combined in 53 Major League games across the 2015 and '16 seasons, Gallo hit 41 in '17 and another 40 in '18, to help him get closer to that 100 for his career. He’s already reached 110 career home runs and still is just 25 years old.

Chuck Klein: 390 games
Klein hit a modest 11 home runs in his first season in the Majors in 1928, in 64 games, but really kicked it into gear after that. He hit 43 in 1929 and 40 in '30, heading into his fourth Major League season in '31. He knocked his 100th career homer on May 11 in his 390th career game, and went on to finish second in MVP voting that year, the first time the BBWAA voted on the award. He finished his career with 300 home runs.

Bob Horner: 390 games
Horner managed more than 20 homers in each of his first three seasons to get close to 100. He hit No. 100 on Sept. 9, 1981, in his 390th career game, off none other than Nolan Ryan. Displaying a knack for hitting homers off great pitchers, Horner had six in his career off Fernando Valenzuela, his most against any pitcher. He finished his career with 218 home runs.

Mark McGwire: 393 games
McGwire’s first full season in 1987 yielded 49 home runs. Couple that with the three he hit in 18 games in '86, and he was already more than halfway to 100 after a mere 169 games. He hit No. 100 on July 5, 1989, in his 393rd career game. He finished with 583 home runs, which ranks 11th all-time.

Joe DiMaggio: 395 games
DiMaggio was an All-Star in every year of his career in which he played at least one game, which tells you how fast of a start he got off to. He hit 29 homers in his first season, then hit 46 in his second year, 1937. As the '38 season wound down, he hit No. 100 on Aug. 25 off the Indians’ Denny Galehouse in the second game of his doubleheader, the 395th game of his career. He finished his career with 361 home runs.

Eddie Mathews: 397 games
Mathews began his career with a 25-homer season in 1952. Then he hit 47 in '53, finishing second in NL MVP voting to Roy Campanella. He hit his 100th career home run in his third season and 397th career game, going yard on Aug. 1, 1954, against the Dodgers at Brooklyn, facing Clem Labine. He finished with 493 homers.

Sarah Langs is a reporter/editor for MLB.com based in New York. Follow her on Twitter @SlangsOnSports.