It’s always good to get off to a strong start from the power perspective at the beginning of a new season. Sometimes that means hitting home runs early and often.
The Rays did just that in 2023, smashing at least one homer in each of their first 22 games to set a record for the longest home run streak by any team to begin a season.
Tampa Bay broke the mark previously set by the 2019 Mariners, who homered in each of their first 20 games. In all, there have been 11 teams to go deep in at least 12 straight games to start a season. (The 2019 season was the first time in Major League history that two teams homered in at least 10 straight to start the season -- with the Dodgers doing so in 10 straight and Seattle in 20.)
The overall record -- at any point in the season -- is 31 straight games with a home run, by the 2019 Yankees. They surpassed the '02 Rangers' previous record of 27, going from May 26-June 30 before the Mets snapped the streak in a Subway Series tilt at Citi Field on July 2.
Here’s a look at the most consecutive games with a home run to start a season:
1) 2023 Rays -- 22 straight: The Rays came out of the gate red hot in 2023, tying a Modern Era (since 1900) record with 13 straight wins to begin the season. Tampa Bay slugged 32 home runs during its 13-0 start, the third-most homers in a team’s first 13 games of a season behind the 2019 Mariners (33) and 2000 Cardinals (33). Although their winning streak came to an end in their 14th game, the Rays continued to mash, setting a record for the longest season-opening home run streak. And it was a team-wide effort -- through those first 22 games, 12 Rays went deep at least twice, and eight (Yandy Díaz, Brandon Lowe, Randy Arozarena, Wander Franco, Josh Lowe, Harold Ramírez, Luke Raley and Christian Bethancourt) had at least four homers.
2) 2019 Mariners -- 20 straight: The Mariners hit two homers in their Opening Day game in Japan against the A’s, one of 11 times Seattle produced multiple big flies out of its first 20 games. Jay Bruce led the way with eight home runs during that span, Daniel Vogelbach had six, Mitch Haniger and Edwin Encarnacion had five, and Tim Beckham and Domingo Santana had four each to lead the charge.
The Mariners saved their streak in the late innings twice more than once. On April 15, Encarnacion and Omar Narvaez's back-to-back homers in the eighth inning extended it to 19 games. On April 16, Bruce's homer in the eighth pushed it to 20, and gave Seattle a Major League-leading 42 home runs. Finally, the next day, Cleveland shut out the M's, 1-0.
3) 2002 Cleveland -- 14 straight: Cleveland set the record with 14 straight games with a home run to start the 2002 season. Perhaps unsurprisingly, the club went 11-3 in that stretch. The home run barrage was led by Matt Lawton, who had five during the streak. The only other Cleveland batter with more than two in that span was Jim Thome, who knocked four. In all, 10 Cleveland players hit at least one home run during the stretch, with Russell Branyan, Ellis Burks, Travis Fryman and Omar Vizquel hitting two each and Brady Anderson, Milton Bradley, Einar Diaz and Ricky Gutierrez each hitting one. Cleveland hit 21 home runs across those 14 games.
The team ended up with 192 home runs, seventh in the Majors. They finished 74-88, third in the AL Central.
4-T) 2017 Tigers -- 13 straight: The Tigers hit three home runs on Opening Day and didn’t look back for a while -- homering in 13 straight to start the season. They went 8-5 during that stretch. Miguel Cabrera and James McCann each hit three home runs during that span, tied for the most on the team during the 13-game streak. Alex Avila, Nicholas Castellanos, Ian Kinsler and Justin Upton each hit two, and Tyler Collins, Jose Iglesias, JaCoby Jones and Andrew Romine each added one. The Tigers hit 18 home runs during the streak, hitting just one in all but four games during the run.
The Tigers finished with 187 home runs, 23rd in the Majors. They finished 64-98, last in the AL Central.
4-T) 1954 Cubs -- 13 straight: The Cubs started their season with three home runs at St. Louis on Opening Day and went on to hit a homer in 13 straight total to start the year. They hit 28 home runs total during the span, going 6-7 over the stretch. Hank Sauer led the way at the plate for the club, knocking eight home runs. Randy Jackson hit five, Gene Baker had four, Ralph Kiner had three and Ernie Banks had two. Frank Baumholtz, Dee Fondy, Hal Jeffcoat, Clyde McCullough, Paul Minner and Dale Talbot added one each. The 13-game stretch included a 23-13 victory over the Cardinals in the third game of the season, though they hit only two home runs in that game.
The Cubs finished with 159 home runs, third in the Majors. They finished 64-90, seventh in the National League.
6-T) 2020 Yankees -- 12 straight: The Bronx Bombers had to wait a long time for Opening Day, which finally arrived on July 23. Once it did, there was no apparent rust for the club's big bats. In the top of the first inning of the season, Giancarlo Stanton set the tone by blasting a 112.2 mph, 459-foot solo shot off Max Scherzer. The Yankees were off and running from there, including a stretch of eight straight games with multiple big flies from July 26 through the first game of a doubleheader on Aug. 5. Aaron Judge had a five-game homer streak during that time, and both he and Stanton have hit two dingers of 450 feet or longer. Gary Sánchez finally joined the fray with his first homer of the season at Philadelphia on Aug. 6 to push New York's streak to 12. The streak ended at 12 straight on Aug. 7 when the Rays shut the Yankees out.
6-T) 2013 Mets -- 12 straight: The Mets started the season with a singular Opening Day home run -- from Collin Cowgill. They went on to homer in 12 straight games total, with the streak ending in the second game of a doubleheader in Colorado on April 16. They hit 17 home runs during the streak, hitting multiple homers in just three games during the streak. John Buck led the way with six home runs during the streak, and Lucas Duda had three. Cowgill, Daniel Murphy and David Wright had two each, and Marlon Byrd and Ike Davis each hit one. They went 7-5 during the 12 games.
The Mets finished with 130 home runs, tied for 25th in the Majors. They finished 74-88, third in the NL East.
6-T) 2007 Devil Rays -- 12 straight: The Devil Rays got a solo home run from Elijah Dukes in an Opening Day loss and went on to hit one in each of the first 12 games of the season overall. The Devil Rays got home run contributions from 10 players during the streak, with none hitting more than three. Carl Crawford, Ty Wigginton and Delmon Young tied with three each. The team hit 19 total home runs during the streak and compiled a 5-7 record.
The Devil Rays finished with 187 home runs, seventh in the Majors. They finished 66-96, last in the AL East.
6-T) 2001 D-backs -- 12 straight: The D-backs’ World Series championship season got off to an auspicious start with home runs in each of their first 12 games. However, it may not have seemed like such a good omen at the time, considering the team went 4-8 in those first 12 games. Luis Gonzalez led the way during the streak, as he would all year for the D-backs. He hit nine home runs during the streak, six more than anyone else on the team. They totaled 21 home runs in those first 12 games. The only other D-backs with multiple home runs during the run were Matt Williams (3), Rod Barajas (2) and Erubiel Durazo (2).
The D-backs finished with 208 home runs, tied for seventh in the Majors. They finished 92-70, winning the NL West on their way to a title.
6-T) 1997 Rockies -- 12 straight: The Rockies hit two home runs on Opening Day in Cincinnati and went on to hit at least one in each of their first 12 games that season. They hit seven home runs in game number five that season, setting a franchise mark for a single game that’s been tied once (in 2016) but has yet to be surpassed. They hit 29 home runs total throughout the streak, during which they went 9-3. Larry Walker led the way with nine, followed by Vinny Castilla with six. Others with multiple homers were Ellis Burks (4), Andres Galarraga (3), Dante Bichette (2) and Jeff Reed (2).
The Rockies finished with 239 home runs, second in the Majors. They went 83-79 and finished third in the NL West.
6-T) 1986 Reds -- 12 straight: The Reds started their 1986 campaign by hitting 17 home runs across their first 12 games, with at least one in each of those games. They went 5-7 in that span. Dave Parker led the way with five. Eric Davis and Nick Esasky hit three each, and Dave Concepcion and Bo Diaz each hit two. Sal Butera and and Kal Daniels each hit one.
The Reds finished with 144 home runs, tied for 14th in the Majors. They went 83-79 in Pete Rose’s final season as player/manager (but not his final as manager) and finished second in the NL West.