New (Rudy) York
Joe Posnanski
62

Cody Bellinger didn’t hit a HR last night, so now has 22 HR in 53 games, the number of players since 1913 who have hit enough HR that if Bellinger matches them he will continue to break the record:

8+ HR in games 54 to 78 to break the fastest to 30 HR record: Rudy York with 14, 30 players with 8–10 HR including active players Ryan Braun, Evan Longoria, Jose Abreu and George Springer and among the 400+ HR club: Mike Schmidt, Willie McCovey, Fred McGriff and Jose Canseco.

18+ HR in games 54 to 109 to break the fastest to 40 HR record: Rudy York, Hank Sauer and Mark McGwire each with 21, Al Rosen and Adam Duvall each with 18.

28+ HR in games 54 to 132 to break the fastest to 50 HR record: Rudy York 35, Ryan Howard and Chuck Klein each with 31, Tony Clark and Evan Longoria each with 30, Bob Horner, Jimmie Hall, Jay Bruce, Earl Williams and Mark McGwire each with 28.

Being the 32nd, 6th or 11th player to hit that many HR in a span of games is pretty unlikely even if he’s genuinely the best HR hitter in history. There is simply enough randomness that the hundreds of players in the last hundred or so years who are at least 90% as good at hitting HR would get a lucky streak over the course of 79 or fewer games that the person with the most true HR hitting talent won’t likely even be the 33rd person to hit at least 8 HR over a specific span of 25 games.

Early career can actually be biased against truly great hitters who debut as teenagers so instead 8+ HR in games 1054 to 1078: Nelson Cruz 15, Ken Griffey Jr 14, Javy Lopez 13, 45 players with 8 to 12 HR. In those 25 games Mickey Mantle, Ted Williams, Ernie Whitt, Jim Dwyer and 32 other players hit 7 HR and just miss.

Talent, batting approach, era and other factors might combine to make Cody Bellinger a member of the 500, 600 or 700 HR club, but randomness still makes him pretty unlikely to maintain a record pace over any small sample of games.

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