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Ruth tops 2-homer games list

Sultan of Swat had 70 such performances
MLB.com

The home run has endured as one of sports' most exciting plays throughout Major League Baseball's lengthy history. With one swing of the bat, a player can alter the course of a game, and some of the most prolific home run hitters had a penchant for doing so more than once.

Below is a look the players who've turned in the most two-home run performances throughout history:

The home run has endured as one of sports' most exciting plays throughout Major League Baseball's lengthy history. With one swing of the bat, a player can alter the course of a game, and some of the most prolific home run hitters had a penchant for doing so more than once.

Below is a look the players who've turned in the most two-home run performances throughout history:

1. Babe Ruth: 70 two-HR games (72 multi-HR games)
Ruth has been at the top of this list for more than 80 years and only a handful of players have ever gotten close to unseating him. The Sultan of Swat hit 714 home runs in his 22-year big league career with the Red Sox, Yankees and Braves. He had more multi-homer games than any other player in baseball history (72), including 70 two-home run performances.

2. Barry Bonds: 67 (71)
Bonds has hit more home runs than any other Major Leaguer, so he's unsurprisingly ranked near the top here. Bonds had at least one in 18 consecutive seasons from 1987 to 2004, including eight in his record-breaking 2001 campaign in which he hit 73 homers.

Video: PIT@SD: Bonds slugs a pair of homers against Padres

3. Sammy Sosa: 63 (69)
Sosa had his first two-homer game as a 22-year-old on Opening Day in 1991, his final season with the White Sox. They were his 19th and 20th home runs, and the longtime Cubs outfielder would go on to hit 609 in his 18-year career. Sosa is also tied with Johnny Mize for the MLB record with six three-homer games.

4. Mark McGwire: 62 (67)
McGwire produced six two-homer games in his breakout rookie campaign in 1987 and would do so 56 more times throughout his career. During his pursuit of baseball's single-season home run record in '98 -- a record he held for three seasons until Bonds bested it in 2001 -- he had eight.

Video: STL@CHC: McGwire hits 48th and 49th homers of 1998

5. Hank Aaron: 61 (62)
Aaron played 23 seasons in the big leagues and hit more than 30 home runs in 15 of them. Aaron held baseball's all-time home run record for more than three decades, and still ranks among the leaders in two-home run games.

6. Willie Mays: 60 (63)
Mays finished his career with 660 home runs, which ranks him fifth on the all-time list. Mays was a home run threat for much of his time in the big leagues, recording two 50-plus home run seasons a decade apart in 1955 and '65.

7. Alex Rodriguez: 57 (62)
Rodriguez delivered a steady dose of multi-homer games for from 1996 -- his first All-Star campaign -- through 2011 -- his final All-Star campaign. The former Mariners, Rangers and Yankees slugger added two more two-homer games in the final years of his career in '12 and '15 and retired with 57, good for seventh-most all-time.

8. Albert Pujols: 54 (58)
Pujols is the only active player on this list. He entered the 2018 season with 53 two-homer games, after two such games in 2017. He broke a four-way tie with the three Hall of Famers below when he belted his second home run of the game on July 12, 2018, against the Mariners. That second clout was No. 630 of his career, tying him with Ken Griffey Jr. for No. 6 on the all-time list. During his 2009 MVP campaign, Pujols clubbed an NL-leading 47 long balls and totaled 10 two-homer games, the most in any of his 18 seasons.

9-T. Frank Robinson: 53 (54)
Robinson remains the only player in MLB history to take home Most Valuable Player honors in both the American League and National League. He retired 14 home runs shy of reaching 600 and recorded 53 two-homer performances in his 21 years in the big leagues.

9-T. Ken Griffey Jr.: 53 (55)
The younger Griffey hit his first two-homer game 45 games into his big league career in 1989. He'd go on to repeat the feat 52 more times with the Mariners and Reds through 2007. The 13-time All-Star led the AL in home runs four times while playing for Seattle from '89-99, slugging as many as 56 twice ('97 and '98).

Video: NYY@SEA: Griffey crushes two homers on Opening Day

9-T. Jimmie Foxx: 53 (55)
Foxx played 20 seasons in the big leagues with the Athletics and Red Sox, including a nine-year span from 1929-40 in which he hit at least 30 home runs each season. Foxx retired with 534 home runs on his resume, and his 53 two-homer games ranked as the second-most, at the time, behind Ruth's 70.

12. Manny Ramirez: 52 (54)
Ramirez not only hit 555 home runs in the regular season throughout his 19-year career -- with 52 two-homer games -- he also hit more postseason homers than any other player in MLB history. His three two-homer playoff games are also tied with Carlos Beltran for the MLB record.

Video: CLE@NYY: Manny has two-homer game in second MLB start

13. David Ortiz: 51 (51)
Ortiz had just two multi-homer performances in his first six seasons in the big leagues with Minnesota. It wasn't until he signed as a free agent with the Red Sox in 2003 that his really emerged as one of the game's most feared power hitters, slugging multiple homers in 49 games with Boston from '03 through to his final season in '16.

Video: Must C Combo: Ortiz haunts Yankees with two homers

14-T. Mel Ott: 48 (49)
Though he's since been surpassed by several modern-era players, Ott's 511 homers ranked third on baseball all-time list at the time of his retirement. The longtime New York Giant was the first player to reach 500 home runs in the NL, and in doing so, he tallied 48 two-homer games.

14-T. Eddie Mathews: 48 (49)
Mathews bested Ott by one home run on the all-time list (512), but falls just behind him on this one with one fewer two-homer performance. The former third baseman led the NL in home runs in 1953 and 1959 and hit at least 31 in 10 of his 17 seasons.

16. Jim Thome: 46 (48)
Thome was inducted into the Hall of Fame as a member of the 2018 class and is one of only nine players in MLB history to reach 600 home runs (612). Among those nine, Thome recorded the fewest multi-homer games, but still ranks in the top 20 on this list. He remains the Indians' all-time leader after hitting 337 homers in his time with the Tribe.

Video: SEA@CLE: Thome hits 35th and 36th homers of season

17-T. Mickey Mantle: 45 (46)
Mantle remains the most prolific switch-hitting home run hitter with 536 throughout his 18-year career with the Yankees. Mantle led the AL in home runs four times and hit 30 or more nine times, including a career-best 54 in 1961.

17-T. Harmon Killebrew: 45 (46)
Killebrew broke out in 1959 with a league-leading 42 home runs for the Washington Senators and never looked back. He hit 30 or more home 10 times in his 22 years in the Majors, including eight 40-plus homer campaigns. Killebrew led his league in homers six times.

17-T. Juan Gonzalez (48)
Gonzalez's 48 two-homer games are particularly impressive considering he hit fewer home runs than any other player on this list. His 434 career homers ranks him 47th on the all-time list, well below the other heavy hitters represented here. Nearly all of those multi-homer performances came with Texas, where he spent the majority of his career and won two AL MVP Awards.

20. Carlos Delgado: 44 (49)
Even 14 seasons since he last donned a Toronto uniform, Delgado remains the Blue Jays' all-time leader in home runs (336). The former first baseman finished his career with 473 long balls, and ranks 20th all-time with 44 two-homer games. In total, Delgado went deep multiple times in 49 games, including four three-homer performances and a four-homer game in 2003 that included the 300th blast of his career.

Video: Delgado's two-run homer gets the Mets within a run

Who's next?
It could be quite a while before another player cracks this top 20. Adrian Beltre and Giancarlo Stanton are the next closest active players with 31 two-homer games apiece. Jose Bautista has done it 28 times.

Chad Thornburg is a reporter for MLB.com based in Los Angeles.