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The secret of fine aging

By JOHN ROMANO

© St. Petersburg Times,
published June 24, 2001


The first-half home run binge by Barry Bonds is remarkable in a variety of ways.

Not only has the Giants slugger set a record for homers before the All-Star break and put himself ahead of Mark McGwire's 70-home run pace, he is accomplishing these feats in the later stage of his career. Barring a second-half collapse, Bonds will eclipse his career high of 49 homers in a season. And he will do it at age 37 (his birthday is next month).

Among the 17 members of the 500-HR club, only Hank Aaron set a career high after his 37th birthday. Most of the top sluggers seemed to hit their peak shortly before or after their 30th birthdays. Here are the top home run hitters and the age at which they set their career highs:

(Player,tot. HRs, car. high, year, age)

Hank Aaron,755,47,1971,37

Babe Ruth,714,60,1927,32

Willie Mays,660,52,1965,34

Frank Robinson,586,49,1966,31

Harmon Killebrew,573,49,1964/69,28/33

Reggie Jackson,563,47,1969,23

Mark McGwire,560,70,1998,34

Mike Schmidt,548,48,1980,31

Mickey Mantle,536,54,1961,29

Jimmie Foxx,534,58,1932,24

Barry Bonds,532,??,2001,37

Willie McCovey,521,45,1969,31

Ted Williams,521,49,1949,31

Ernie Banks,512,47,1958,27

Eddie Mathews,512,47,1953,21

Mel Ott,511,42,1929,20

Eddie Murray,504,33,1983,27

* Harmon Killebrew hit 49 homers in a season twice. -- Compiled by John Romano.

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