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Punchless Mets could make history

Earlier in the week, I highlighted the Mets’ year-long power outage. Nothing much has changed since then, as they are still dead-last in home runs with 81 (did you know the Yankees have 220? Yikes.) and Gary Sheffield still leads the team with 10 home runs despite not actually appearing in a game since August 28.

While noting the remarkable lack of punch in the Mets’ lineup on Monday, it got me to thinking of who had the least home runs in a season, but still lead their team in home runs. I started on Baseball Reference, but found that exercise pretty tedious, so I asked for the help of our friends atBaseball Prospectus, and here’s what they found:

Modern Era, 1900-2008

Three way tie with 1 HR as the maximum:

1918 Senators - Walter Johnson, Joe Judge, Howie Shanks & Nick Altrock - 1
1908 White Sox - Ed Walsh, Fielder Jones & Frank Isbell - 1
1909 White Sox - Dave Altizer, Ed Hahn, Gavvy Cravath & Patsy Dougherty - 1

Retrosheet Era, 1954-2008

1981 Twins - Roy Smalley - 7
1981 Indians - Bo Diaz - 7

Wild Card Era, 1995-2008

1995 Phillies - Mark Whiten, Gregg Jefferies & Charlie Hayes - 11
1995 Expos - Moises Alou, Tony Tarasco & Sean Berry - 14
2008 Nationals - Ryan Zimmerman & Lastings Milledge - 14

This Decade

2008 Nationals - Zimmerman & Milledge - 14
2001 Orioles - Chris Richard & Jay Gibbons - 15
2008 Giants - Bengie Molina - 16

And so, if things stay the same, the Mets will have the lowest team leader in home runs since Bo Diaz and Roy Smalley led their respective clubs with seven home runs in 1981. Right now the Mets have 21 games left with Sheffield at 10, Daniel Murphy at nine, and Carlos Beltran and David Wright with eight. There might be a reason to tune into the Mets after all, even if they are threatening 90 losses for the first time since 2004.

Again, thanks to Eric Seidman,Will Carrolland our friends atBaseball Prospectus. Please pay them a visit.