Royals

Moose Watch: Can Moustakas break Royals’ home-run record?

It’s a record that — somehow — has held up through the years.

It survived the Steroid Era, the expansion years that saw an influx of less-experienced pitchers and numerous challenges.

In the history of Major League Baseball, 508 players have hit 37 home runs or more in a season. None did so while playing for the Royals. The Royals’ single-season record was set in 1985 by first baseman Steve Balboni, who told me in 2013: “It’s 36 home runs. I don’t feel like it’s anything special.”

Some came close. There was Danny Tartabull in 1987 (34), Gary Gaetti in 1995 (35 in just 137 games), Dean Palmer in 1998 (34) and Jermaine Dye in 2000 (33).

Among the 30 Major League Baseball teams, the Royals’ single-season home run record is the only one that is less than 40. The Mets are No. 29 on the list with 41 by Todd Hundley (1996) and former Royal Carlos Beltran (2006).

The record for 19 teams is 50 or more.

“It is surprising, the way people have been hitting home runs in the years since I retired,” Balboni said in 2013. “It does seem unusual that 36 is still the record.”

The record is in peril this season as third baseman Mike Moustakas is zeroing in on the mark.

As long as Moustakas keeps on pace to get near to the record, we’ll chart his progress against Balboni’s here.

Mike Moustakas

Royals games played: 133

Home runs hit: 36

Pace: 44

Steve Balboni in 1985

Royals games played: 133

Home runs hit: 30

Pete Grathoff: 816-234-4330, @pgrathoff

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