Here are the top 5 Salvy homers from '21

November 30th, 2021

KANSAS CITY -- had a historic season at the plate in 2021. With 48 home runs, he tied the Royals’ single-season home run record and broke the record for the most home runs by a primary catcher in a season, all while playing the most grueling position on the field as Kansas City's backstop. Perez also led the American League in RBIs (121) and tied for the Major League Baseball home run lead.

Forty-eight home runs are a lot of dingers. The Royals’ social media account put together a graphic at the beginning of the offseason that listed his home runs by the numbers, and they calculated that Perez hit 3.7 miles worth of homers -- that’s 19,588 feet of total distance. His average home run distance was 407.5 feet, with an average exit velocity of 105.6 mph.

Here are five of Perez’s most memorable home runs:

1. Sept. 20: Home run No. 46 breaks Bench’s record

In Game 1 of a late-September doubleheader against Cleveland, Perez went to a place no other catcher has gone before. With his 46th home run of the season, a 429-foot shot to left field at Progressive Field, he topped Johnny Bench’s record for the most home runs in a single season by a primary catcher (at least 75 percent of games behind the plate). Bench hit 45 home runs in 1970.

“Every home run is special, but that one, it’s just hard to get your head around it,” manager Mike Matheny said at the time. “It’s a long history of this game, and how many great players have come through. …You could see the look on Salvy’s face, I’ll never forget it, once he started heading toward first base.”

2. Sept. 29: Home run No. 48 ties Royals’ record

In the final week of the regular season, Perez crushed his 48th and final home run during a win over Cleveland at Kauffman Stadium. The round-tripper pulled Perez into a tie with Jorge Soler (2019) for the Royals’ single-season home run record, something that Perez had talked to Soler about only a few days before.

The home run came on the first pitch Perez saw from Cleveland righty Zach Plesac and was crushed 439 feet to straightaway center field. After Perez jogged around the bases and celebrated with his teammates, he jumped out of the Royals’ dugout for his second curtain call in as many nights.

Shortly after, Perez tripped and fell down the dugout stairs, spraining his right ankle, and he exited the game in the third inning. He ended up being OK but finished the season as the designated hitter.

“What he means to this team, I can’t even describe it,” second baseman Whit Merrifield said when describing Perez’s home run that day. “I run out of words to describe how incredible it’s been.”

3. May 4: Home run No. 7 travels 460 feet

Perez’s power was on display all season, but his longest home run, per Statcast, came early in the season at Kauffman Stadium. It went a jaw-dropping 460 feet, and Perez blasted it with an exit velocity of 114.2 mph off the bat.

This one also came against Cleveland -- a 93 mph fastball offering from Sam Hentges that landed above the fountains in left-center field at The K. It was only Perez’s seventh home run of the season, and those watching had no idea of what could come in 2021 -- not even Perez. His goal for 2021 was to hit 30 home runs, which he had never done before.

This homer ended up foreshadowing Perez’s memorable season.

4. Aug. 29: Home run No. 38 gives Salvy his fifth consecutive game with a homer

Perez went on a tear in late August while the Royals were on an American League West trip through Houston and Seattle. It ended on Aug. 29 with his fifth consecutive game with a homer, this one a 369-foot moonshot that dinged off the left-field foul pole, then off the facing of the third deck at T-Mobile Park.

Perez tied Royals Hall of Famer Mike Sweeney’s franchise record for most consecutive games with a home run. Sweeney homered in five straight games from June 25-29, 2002. The Royals closed out that series against the Mariners by winning three of four.

“It’s like a video game,” starter Brady Singer said. “What do you say? He hits a homer every time he steps to the plate. It’s incredible.”

5. April 17: Home run No. 4 splashes for a walk-off

Of Perez’s 48 home runs, 18 gave the Royals a lead (37.5 percent), matching Nolan Arenado for most in the Majors in 2021. Perez, undoubtedly the leader and heart of the club, constantly came to the plate in big moments -- and came through in big moments.

One of the earliest of those moments came in a mid-April doubleheader against the Blue Jays, when Perez came to the plate with a 2-2 tie in the seventh inning. Toronto reliever Joel Payamps -- whom the Royals traded for later in the season -- served Perez a hanging slider, and Perez crushed it into the Kauffman Stadium fountains at a Statcast-projected 459 feet. That’s the third-longest walk-off homer tracked by Statcast, behind Kyle Schwarber’s 463-foot blast from early in 2021 and Mark Reynolds’ 464-foot homer in '16.