NEW YORK, NY - JULY 13: Mark Teixeira #25 of the New York Yankees connects for a game tying three-run homerun in the bottom of the eighth inning against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim at Yankee Stadium on July 13, 2012 in the Bronx borough of New York City. (Photo by Christopher Pasatieri/Getty Images)
The 2012 New York Yankees are slugging their way to a division title. Of course, their pitching staff is a big help, but they presently lead the major leagues in home runs, with 144. And they have a chance to break the single-season franchise record. They're averaging 1.62 long balls per game, which would give them 262 for the season if they maintain their present pace. Of the Top 5 Yankee home run-hitting teams, all have come in the 162-game era, and two have won the World Series. The top home run-slugging club from the 154-game era was the 1960 team, which hit 193 (16th on the team's all-time team list). The vaunted 1927 Yankees belted 158, with Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig doing most of the damage (107 between them), and Tony Lazzeri (18) being the only other Yankee to reach double digits. To put it in perspective, though, the Philadelphia A's were second in the American League with 56. Ruth hit more home runs by himself than every other AL team (the New York Giants led the NL with 109). Here are the Top 5 home run-hitting teams in Yankee history.
5. 2005, 229: The Yankees' 229 home runs were second in the majors that year, to the Texas Rangers' 260. The Yanks were just behind the Rangers in runs scored as well, with 886. They finished tied for first in the AL East with the Boston Red Sox, with a 95-67 record, but won the division due to owning the tie-breaker. All those home runs didn't transfer to the postseason, though, as they lost in the ALDS to the Angels. Alex Rodriguez led the AL in home runs, with 48, Gary Sheffield chipped in with 34 and Jason Giambi hit 32.
4. 2003, 230: The steroid era was still in bloom, and home runs were being hit at a record pace. The Yankees featured one of the poster boys of PEDs in Jason Giambi, who led the team with 41 that season. They were second to the Red Sox in long balls, who belted 238 (who had a couple of steroid-powered hitters of their own). The Yankees lost to the Florida Marlins in the World Series after finishing with a 101-61 record.
3. 1961, 240: It was the summer of Maris and Mantle, which coincided with the fledgling 162-game schedule in the first year of AL expansion, as the Yankees set a new major league home run record to go along with Roger Maris smashing Ruth's single-season mark. Besides Maris's 61 and Mickey Mantle's 54, Moose Skowron hit 28, Yogi Berra 22 and Elston Howard and Johnny Blanchard both hit 21. The first-year Los Angeles Angels came in second in the team home run derby, with 189. The Yankees actually finished second in runs scored that season (827) -- the Tigers, who won 101 games (the Yankees went 109-53, and easily defeated the Reds in the World Series), led the majors.
2. 2004, 242: Yankee fans probably want to forget about this season altogether. The Yankees won 101 games and tied the White Sox for most homers in the majors, while scoring the second most runs (897) to Boston. They had three 30-plus home run guys that year -- A-Rod and Sheffield hit 36 and Hideki Matsui had 31.
1. 2009, 244: It was the grand opening of new Yankee Stadium, and the team took full advantage of the band box, leading the majors in home runs and runs scored (915). Mark Teixeira's 39 long balls put him in a tie with Carlos Pena for the AL lead, and a string of Yankees had 20-plus: A-Rod (30), Nick Swisher (29), Matsui (28), Robinson Cano (25), Johnny Damon (24), Jorge Posada (22). And it all ended with another World Series title.