Aug 29, 2013, 12:29 PM PST
On this day in 1965, Willie Mays hit his 17th home run of the month. At the time, it was a National League record for the month of August. Sammy Sosa eventually hit 17 homers in August of 2001, to equal Mays’ mark.
Mays’ August achievement remains one of the hottest stretches in San Francisco Giants history. To put it into context, the entire roster of the 2013 Giants have combined to hit 13 home runs this month. Mays also hit .363, drove in 29 runs and scored 32 times.
The Hall of Famer ended up with a career-high 52 home runs that season. On Sep. 13, 1965, Mays would end up hitting his 500th career home run.
In 2001, Barry Bonds hit 17 home runs in the month of May. He currently holds the record for the most home runs hit in a single month by a National League left-handed hitter.
The Major League Baseball record for home runs in a single month is 20, set by Sosa in June of 1998. That was the year Mark McGwire and Sosa engaged in an internationally-captivating and PED-driven home run chase. McGwire ended up with 70 home runs and Sosa ended up with 66. Both of the larger-than-life sluggers broke Roger Maris’ long-standing record of 61 home runs in a single season that year.
Three years later, Bonds would hit 73 home runs to take the crown. Based on the cloud of suspicion surrounding all of those inflated stats, it makes what Mays did in 1965, and what Maris did in 1961 more impressive.
Mays hit 660 home runs in his career, ranking him fourth on MLB’s all-time list. He may soon be bumped to fifth place, with another PED user, Alex Rodriguez, 10 home runs away from tying him.
All-Time MLB Home Run Leaders:
1. Barry Bonds – 762
2. Hank Aaron – 755
3. Babe Ruth – 714
4. Willie Mays – 660
5. Alex Rodriguez – 651
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