When you think about MLB pitchers with the most home runs allowed in a career, it’s easy to assume those victimized most by the long ball are bad pitchers. In reality, just the opposite is true. In fact, six out of the top 10 pitchers with most home runs allowed in their careers are in the Hall of Fame.
What does that mean? The key determining factor for serving up a high volume of dingers comes down to one thing—longevity. Here’s a look at the top 10 pitchers with most home runs allowed during a career in MLB history.
10. Tim Wakefield (1992-2011) — 418 HRs home runs allowed
During his 19-year career, 17 in Boston, Tim Wakefield was known for his knuckleball. Sometimes, however, it didn’t knuckle effectively enough and was more like a batting practice pitch. He allowed 418 home runs in his career, the most coming in 2005 when he surrendered a league-leading 35.
9. Bert Blyleven (1970-1992) — 430 HRs
Bert Blyleven pitched for an amazing 22 seasons with numerous teams, his most memorable with the Minnesota Twins. Blyleven, who finished his career with a 287-250 record, led pitchers in home runs allowed in 1986 and 1987, when he gave up 50 and 46, respectively, and is also in the record books for most home runs allowed in a season. He finished his career surrendering 430. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 2011.
8. Warren Spahn (1942, 1946-1965) — 434 HRs
Warren Spahn is considered one of the greatest pitchers in MLB history. The Hall of Famer had a 363-245 record over his 21 seasons, which could have been longer had he not served in the military for three seasons. The 17-time All-Star pitcher won the Cy Young Award once (finished second three other times) and the ERA title three times. He also served up his share of long balls at 434, the most in a year coming in 1958, when he allowed 29 home runs.
7. Bartolo Colon (1997-2018) — 439 HRs
Bartolo Colon pitched for a dozen teams in his 21-year-career. During that time, he earned a 247-188 record, which included four All-Star appearances and a Cy Young Award in 2005, when he won 21 games. Interestingly, Colon had his worst season a year prior in 2004 when he gave up 38 home runs. He finished his career allowing 439 home runs.
6. Frank Tanana (1973-1993) — 448 HRs
Frank Tanana pitched for five different teams in his 21 seasons, his most memorable time coming with the California Angels. In 1977, Tanana led the majors with a 2.54 ERA and earned his second of three All-Star appearances. His worst season with the long ball came in 1984 when he gave up 30. For his career, he was victimized by 448 round-trippers.
5. Don Sutton (1966-1988) — 472 HRs
Don Sutton pitched for an impressive 23 seasons, the majority of them at the beginning of his career with the LA Dodgers. With LA, Sutton was a fixture in the starting rotation and made the All-Star Game four times. He had two seasons where he surrendered 38 home runs apiece in 1970 and 1987. Despite allowing 472 career home runs, he finished his career with a 324-256 record and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1998.
4. Phil Niekro (1964-1987) — 482 HRs
Phil Niekro is considered by most to be the greatest knuckleball pitcher of all time. In his 24 seasons in MLB, he amassed a 318-274 record with six different teams, the majority of his time spent with the Atlanta Braves. Niekro earned five All-Star nominations in his career. He also led the league in home runs allowed on four different occasions, his highest of 41 in 1979. He finished his career surrendering 482. He was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1997.
3. Ferguson “Fergie” Jenkins (1965-1983) — 484 HRs
Ferguson Jenkins had an impressive 19-year career with multiple teams, the most successful time coming with the Chicago Cubs. In 1971, Jenkins led the majors with 30 complete games and 24 wins en route to winning the Cy Young Award. Interestingly, Jenkins led MLB pitchers seven different seasons in most home runs allowed, the most in 1979, when he surrendered 40. All of them combined equaled 484 homers. Jenkins finished with a 284-226 record and was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1991.
2. Robin Roberts (1948-1966) — 505 HRs
Robin Roberts made his name in the 1950s with the Philadelphia Phillies where he was named to the All-Star team in seven consecutive seasons from 1950-1956. During the 1956 season, Roberts led MLB with 22 complete games, but also led in most home runs allowed with 46, his worst total of his career. He is just one of two pitchers to give up more than 500 home runs with 505. Roberts, who finished with a 286-245 record, was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1976.
1. Jamie Moyer (1986-2012) — 522 HRs
Topping our list for most home runs allowed in a career by a pitcher is the soft-throwing lefty, Jamie Moyer. Moyer pitched for an impressive 25 years in MLB. When he retired in 2012, he held the record for oldest pitcher to record a win at age 49. Interestingly, he had one awful season, 2004, when he allowed 44 home runs. He only had two other seasons where he gave up more than 30. Moyer finished his career with a 269-209 record.