Each presidency's home run kings

January 22nd, 2021

With Joe Biden being sworn in as the 46th President of the United States on Wednesday, we began to wonder: Who hit the most home runs during the administrations of each of the previous 28 commanders in chief, dating back to 1869, when the Cincinnati Red Stockings became the first professional team? So here's a look at the top five home run hitters during each presidency in U.S. history:

President: Donald Trump (2017-21)

1) Mike Trout: 134

2) Nelson Cruz: 133

3) J.D. Martinez: 131

4-T) Nolan Arenado: 124

4-T) Eugenio Suarez: 124

It doesn’t get much closer than this, as Trout and Cruz entered the 2020 season tied atop the leaderboard -- but Trout outhomered Cruz, 17-16, to seal the lead. The Angels superstar averaged 39 homers in the three full seasons during Trump's presidency, despite the fact that he averaged just 129 games during that span. His overall total of 134 home runs in 441 games works out to an average of 50 homers over a 162-game span.

President: Barack Obama (2009-17)

1) Albert Pujols: 272

2) Miguel Cabrera: 271

3-T) José Bautista: 262

3-T) Nelson Cruz: 262

5) David Ortiz: 252

Similar to the Trump presidency, Obama’s tenure was decided by just one home run, with Pujols narrowly edging out Miguel Cabrera. Pujols jumped out to a strong start, leading the Majors with 47 homers in Obama's first year in office. The three-time Most Valuable Player followed that up with an NL-leading 42 homers in 2010, then added another 37 in his final year with the Cardinals in '11. In addition to those 126 home runs, Pujols hit another 146 with the Angels from 2012-16.

President: George W. Bush (2001-09)

1) Alex Rodriguez: 364

2) Albert Pujols: 319

3) Jim Thome: 308

4) Manny Ramirez: 291

5) Carlos Delgado: 279

Rodriguez led the Majors in homers five times during Bush's eight-year run in office, while also claiming the American League home run title two other times. That eight-year stretch also included three 50-homer seasons from A-Rod, including a career-high 57 in 2002. Rodriguez claimed three AL MVP Awards in this eight-year span, all while averaging 46 home runs and 126 RBIs per season.

President: Bill Clinton (1993-2001)

1) Ken Griffey Jr.: 351

2) Sammy Sosa: 349

3) Mark McGwire: 334

4) Barry Bonds: 318

5) Albert Belle: 311

Griffey reached the 40-homer plateau in seven of the eight seasons for which Clinton was in office, with the lone exception coming in 1995 when Griffey missed nearly three months due to a broken wrist. The sweet-swinging Griffey even managed to hit 40 home runs in just 111 games in the strike-shortened '94 campaign. He led the AL in homers four times in that eight-season stretch, including three straight seasons from 1997-99 when he averaged 53 per season.

President: George H.W. Bush (1989-93)

1) Fred McGriff: 137

2) Mark McGwire: 136

3) Cecil Fielder: 130

4) Joe Carter: 126

5) Jose Canseco: 124

McGriff spent his first two years of this presidency with the Blue Jays, where he led the AL with 36 home runs in 1989 before hitting another 35 in '90. He was traded to the Padres following the '90 season in a deal that sent Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar and '93 World Series hero Joe Carter to Toronto. McGriff maintained his consistent approach at the plate in San Diego, hitting 31 homers in '91 before pacing the NL with 35 in '92.

President: Ronald Reagan (1981-89)

1) Mike Schmidt: 259

2) Dale Murphy: 255

3) Eddie Murray: 222

4) Dwight Evans: 218

5) Andre Dawson: 212

Despite Schmidt hitting just 12 home runs in Reagan's final year in office, the Phillies legend did more than enough in Reagan's first seven years to hold off the rest of the league. Schmidt led the Majors with 31 homers in just 102 games in the strike-shortened 1981 season. He went on to lead the Majors again in '83 (40 homers) before taking the NL home run title in both '84 and '86 with 36 and 37 home runs, respectively. He averaged 35 homers per season from 1981-87 before notching just 12 over 108 games in '88.

President: Jimmy Carter (1977-81)

1) Mike Schmidt: 152

2) Jim Rice: 148

3) George Foster: 147

4) Reggie Jackson: 129

5) Dave Kingman: 120

It took a late charge from Schmidt to claim this one, as he crushed a Major League-best -- and career-high -- 48 home runs during Carter's final season in office in 1980. That came after a 45-homer season by Schmidt in '79, helping him to overtake Jim Rice, despite the fact that Schmidt had just 59 home runs in the first half of Carter's four-year term.

President: Gerald Ford (1974-77)

1) Mike Schmidt: 87

2) Dave Kingman: 79

3) Reggie Jackson: 71

4-T) Graig Nettles: 61

4-T) Gene Tenace: 61

With Ford taking office on Aug. 9, 1974, he held the presidency for just two full baseball seasons, plus the final month and a half of the ‘74 campaign. Schmidt led the Majors in home runs in both of those full seasons, hitting 38 in each, in addition to his 11 down the stretch to finish the ‘74 season.

President: Richard Nixon (1969-74)

1) Hank Aaron: 218

2) Willie Stargell: 203

3-T) Johnny Bench: 186

3-T) Lee May: 186

5) Reggie Jackson: 180

Aaron reached the 40-homer mark in three of Nixon’s five full seasons in office -- and never finished with fewer than 34. Overall, Aaron averaged 41 home runs and 101 RBIs over the five seasons from 1969-73. He added another 15 homers before Nixon prematurely left office in August 1974.

President: Lyndon Johnson (1963-69)

1) Willie Mays: 181

2) Harmon Killebrew: 174

3) Hank Aaron: 168

4) Willie McCovey: 160

5) Frank Robinson: 156

Mays took an early hold on this one, pacing the NL with 47 home runs in 1964 -- Johnson's first MLB season in office -- before leading all players with 52 homers in '65. That was enough to hold off the rest of the field despite Mays averaging "only" 27 home runs from 1966-68, the final three MLB seasons of Johnson's term.

President: John F. Kennedy (1961-63)

1) Harmon Killebrew: 139

2) Willie Mays: 127

3) Hank Aaron: 123

4) Roger Maris: 117

5) Orlando Cepeda: 115

Killebrew was about as consistent as could be during Kennedy's three years in office. The Hall of Famer hit 46 home runs in 1961 before leading the AL with 48 homers in '62 and pacing all players with 45 long balls in '63. Killebrew averaged 46 home runs and 115 RBIs over those three seasons.

President: Dwight D. Eisenhower (1953-61)

1) Eddie Mathews: 313

2) Mickey Mantle: 284

3) Ernie Banks: 269

4) Duke Snider: 259

5) Willie Mays: 255

Mathews led the Majors with 47 home runs during Eisenhower's first year in office in 1953 -- and he never let his foot off the gas. While the 47 homers proved to be a career high for Mathews, the Hall of Famer reached the 30-homer mark in each of the eight seasons that Eisenhower held office. Mathews averaged 39 homers and 105 RBIs over that eight-year stretch, including once again leading the big leagues in '59 with 46 home runs.

President: Harry S. Truman (1945-53)

1) Ralph Kiner: 294

2) Ted Williams: 197

3) Stan Musial: 191

4) Vern Stephens: 175

5) Johnny Mize: 171

Kiner made his MLB debut in 1946, meaning he didn't play a single game during Truman's first year in office in '45. Despite the rest of the league getting a one-year headstart, Kiner absolutely ran away with the home run title during Truman's presidency. Kiner led the NL with 23 homers in 1946, then led the Majors in homers six straight seasons from 1947-52. He topped the 50-homer mark twice during that run, while averaging 45 homers in that remarkable six-year stretch.

President: Franklin D. Roosevelt (1933-45)

1) Jimmie Foxx: 353

2) Mel Ott: 336

3) Bob Johnson: 276

4) Hank Greenberg: 249

5) Dolph Camilli: 237

Foxx did the majority of his damage during the first eight years of Roosevelt's 12-year tenure, racking up 326 home runs from 1932-40. That proved to be more than enough to hold off the competition, despite Foxx hitting only 27 home runs from 1941-44 before Roosevelt left office a week before the '45 season. Foxx hit seven more homers in '45 before calling it a career.

President: Herbert Hoover (1929-33)

1) Babe Ruth: 182

2) Jimmie Foxx: 158

3) Lou Gehrig: 156

4) Chuck Klein: 152

5) Mel Ott: 134

Ruth topped the 40-homer mark in each of the four seasons for which Hoover held office. The Bambino led the Majors with 46 homers in 1929, then paced the AL with 49 in '30 before again leading all players with 46 in '31. Ruth, who added another 41 home runs in '32, averaged a whopping 46 home runs and 152 RBIs during Hoover's four-year term.

President: Calvin Coolidge (1923-29)

1) Babe Ruth: 248

2) Rogers Hornsby: 126

3-T) Lou Gehrig: 111

3-T) Cy Williams: 111

5) Jim Bottomley: 106

Coolidge took office on Aug. 2, 1923, leaving enough time for Ruth to rack up the final 16 home runs of his MLB-leading 41 that season. Ruth went on to once again lead the Majors the following season with 46. While he hit just 25 home runs while being limited to 98 games in '25, Ruth bounced back to pace all players in home runs in each of Coolidge's final three seasons in office from 1926-28.

President: Warren Harding (1921-23)

1) Babe Ruth: 119

2) Ken Williams: 81

3) Rogers Hornsby: 76

4) Cy Williams: 71

5) Tilly Walker: 62

It should come as little surprise that Ruth led the Majors in home runs under three U.S. presidents. The Bambino dominated this era of baseball, hitting an MLB-leading 59 home runs during the first season of Harding's tenure in 1921. Ruth managed "only" 35 homers while being limited to 110 games the following year, but bounced back to lead the big leagues with 41 home runs in ‘23 -- 25 of which came before Harding left office on Aug. 2.

President: Woodrow Wilson (1913-21)

1) Gavvy Cravath: 106

2) Babe Ruth: 103

3) Cy Williams: 64

4) Fred Luderus: 57

5) Tilly Walker: 54

Ruth didn't make his MLB debut until 1914, and even then, he spent the first four years of his career focusing primarily on pitching. That allowed Cravath to build just enough of a lead to hold off a late charge from the Bambino. He didn't take to hitting full-time until '19, but he still nearly caught Cravath led the Majors in homers each year from 1913-15, as well as '17. He took home the NL home run title in both '18 and '19, but hit only one home run in '20 -- the final season of Wilson's term. Ruth made it close, hitting an MLB-best 54 home runs, but couldn't quite catch Cravath.

President: William H. Taft (1909-13)

1) Frank “Wildfire” Schulte: 47

2) Larry Doyle: 37

3-T) Ty Cobb: 32

3-T) Tris Speaker: 32

5) Chief Wilson: 31

While Schulte hit only four home runs in 1909, that put him only three back of the NL leader. He upped his game the following year, hitting an NL-leading 10 homers in '10 before pacing all players with 21 en route to winning the '11 MVP Award. Schulte rounded out Haft’s tenure with 12 more homers in ‘12, cementing his place atop this list.

President: Theodore Roosevelt (1901-09)

1) Harry Davis: 55

2) Charlie Hickman: 45

3) Socks Seybold: 43

4) Cy Seymour: 41

5) Harry Lumley: 38

Seybold actually got off to a strong start here, hitting a Major League-best 16 home runs in 1902, Roosevelt's first full season in office. He followed up with eight in '03, but cooled off from there, totaling just 19 home runs over the next five seasons. Davis was far more consistent, leading the Majors in homers in '04 (10) and '06 (12), while also claiming the AL home run title in '05 and '07, hitting eight apiece in those years.

President: William McKinley (1897-1901)

1) Buck Freeman: 46

2**) Nap Lajoie: 42**

3) Jimmy Collins: 38

4) Herman Long: 30

5-T) Elmer Flick: 29

5-T) Honus Wagner: 29

Freeman did more than half of his damage here in 1899, when he hit an MLB-leading 25 home runs. He didn't play in the big leagues at all in '97 and had just three homers in '98 before surging up this leaderboard with his breakout season for the Washington Senators. Lajoie had a more consistent approach, hitting between six and nine homers each year from 1897-1900 before pacing the AL with 14 in 1901. Unfortunately, it proved to be too little, too late to overtake Freeman.

President: Grover Cleveland (1893-97)

1) Sam Thompson: 54

2-T) Ed Delahanty: 47

2-T) Bill Joyce: 47

4) Bobby Lowe: 40

5-T) Jack Clements: 38

5-T) Roger Connor: 38

5-T) Hugh Duffy: 38

Cleveland's second term in office spanned four full MLB seasons from 1893-96. Thompson was the only player to hit double-digit home runs in each of those four years, including a Major League-leading 18 in '95. Meanwhile, Delahanty led the Majors in both '93 (19 home runs) and '96 (13), but couldn’t quite recover from hitting only four homers in ‘94.

President: Benjamin Harrison (1889-93)

1) Harry Stovey: 51

2) Roger Connor: 46

3) Bug Holliday: 45

4) Mike Tiernan: 44

5) Jimmy Ryan: 42

Stovey came out swinging in the first season of Harrison's term, crushing 19 home runs in 1889 for the Philadelphia Athletics. He followed up with 12 the next season before leading the Majors in '91 with 16 while playing for the Boston Beaneaters. While he hit only four in Harrison's final year in office, Stovey had built too big of a lead for Connor and others to overcome.

President: Grover Cleveland (1885-89)

1-T) Dan Brouthers: 39

1-T) Roger Connor: 39

3-T) Cap Anson: 36

3-T) Fred Pfeffer: 36

5) Jerry Denny: 35

Brouthers was one of the most prolific hitters of his time, finishing his career with a .943 OPS and 79.8 WAR (Baseball Reference) over 1,676 games. The Hall of Fame first baseman led baseball in slugging every year from 1881-86, and was quite a speedster, too, stealing 257 bases from 1886-96 (stolen base records began being kept in ’86). Connors began to find his power in ’87, and from ’87-’89 he hit 44 homers for the New York Gothams, also leading baseball with 130 RBIs in ’89. Anson, one of the most well known players of the era, led MLB in RBIs three times during the first Cleveland presidency, and hit 43 homers with a .911 OPS over that span.

President: Chester A. Arthur (1881-85)

1) Ned Williamson: 32

2-T) Dan Brouthers: 31

2-T) Harry Stovey: 31

4) Fred Pfeffer: 27

5) Abner Dalrymple: 26

This appeared to be a two-player battle between Brouthers and Stovey entering the final MLB season of Arthur’s term in 1884 -- but Williamson came out of nowhere to take the crown. After hitting only eight homers in his first six seasons combined, Williamson erupted for a big league-leading 27 in '84. That was the only season of Williamson's 13-year career in which he managed double-digit home runs, as he totaled just 37 homers in his other 12 seasons.

President: James A. Garfield (1881)

1) Dan Brouthers: 8

2) Charlie Bennett: 7

3) Jack Farrell: 5

4) Tom Burns: 4

5-T) Lew Brown: 3

5-T) Fred Dunlap: 3

Brouthers’ eight homers for the Buffalo Bisons in 1881 led baseball, as did his .541 slugging percentage that year. Bennett’s seven homers that season was a career high for the Detroit Wolverines catcher. The same goes for Farrell, a Providence Grays middle infielder who would go on to lead MLB in batting average in each of the next two seasons.

President: Rutherford B. Hayes (1877-1881)

1) Charley Jones: 19

2-T) Paul Hines: 9

2-T) John O’Rourke: 9

4) Jim O’Rourke: 8

5) Harry Stovey: 6

Jones had a huge year in 1879, totaling an MLB-best nine home runs to go with 85 runs scored, 62 RBIs and 29 walks in 83 games, all league bests. He would set a new career high for homers in ’83, with 10, though that came during Chester Arthur’s presidency. Hines won the Triple Crown in ’78, when he hit .358 with four home runs and 50 RBIs for the Providence Grays. He led baseball with a .357 batting average the following year, and his career high of 10 homers came in ’87 with the Washington Nationals. A big 1880 season with the Boston Red Stockings helped O’Rourke, a Hall of Famer, finish tied for second during this period.

President: Ulysses S. Grant (1869-77)

1) George Hall: 5

2) Charley Jones: 4

3-T) Cap Anson: 2

3-T) Lew Brown: 2

3-T) Joe Gerhardt: 2

3-T) Jimmy Hallinan: 2

3-T) Paul Hines: 2

3-T) Jack Manning: 2

3-T) Tim Murnane: 2

3-T) Jim O’Rourke: 2

With the National League beginning play in 1876, that’s the only Major League season that took place during the Grant Administration, so the home run totals are lower than you’d expect, even in the Dead Ball Era. Hall led the way with five homers for the Philadelphia A’s in ’76, though it would be the first of only two Major League seasons for him -- the following year, he didn’t homer at all. His slugging fell from .545 in ’76 to .439 in ’77. Jones was right behind him in ’76, homering four times for the Reds.