Chris Davis hit his 37th home run of the season on Sunday and the Orioles and media outlets everywhere were quick to point out that Davis had tied the American League record for home runs before the All-Star break.
But there is a simple reason why this “record” is almost completely meaningless: This year’s All-Star game is much later than in previous seasons.
The result is that most teams played 94-97 games, much more than teams typically play in the “first half.”
Here is a look at the four players that have hit the most home runs before the All-Star break:
- Barry Bonds (2001) — 39 home runs in 88 games
- Chris Davis (2013) — 37 home runs in 96 games
- Mark McGwire (1998) — 37 home runs in 86 games
- Reggie Jackson (1969) — 37 home runs in 92 games
Davis had a big advantage when it came to number of chances to hit his 37 home runs.
Even in 1961, when Roger Maris hit 61 home runs, he only had 33 home runs before the All-Star break. Of course, the Yankees had only played 83 games, 13 fewer than the Orioles have played this year.
This is not to diminish what Davis is doing. He’s having a great year, and 60 home runs is within reach. But if the point is to put his 37 home runs in perspective, meaningless records with arbitrary cutoffs is not the way to do it.
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