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When did each team set their single-season home run record?

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Balboni’s record has stood for so long.

MLB: Game One-Seattle Mariners at Kansas City Royals Peter G. Aiken-USA TODAY Sports

Mike Moustakas stands one home run shy of tying the franchise record for home runs in a season, set by Steve Balboni with 36 in 1985. It is the lowest franchise home run record in baseball, perhaps not that surprising for a team that plays at Kauffman Stadium and has never placed much emphasis on power hitters. For reference, here is the single-season home run record for each franchise.

Team Record-Holder # Year
SFG Barry Bonds 73 2001
STL Mark McGwire 70 1998
CHC Sammy Sosa 66 1998
NYY Roger Maris 61 1961
DET Hank Greenberg 58 1938
OAK Jimmie Foxx 58 1932
PHI Ryan Howard 56 2006
ARI Luis Gonzalez 57 2001
TEX Alex Rodriguez 57 2002
SEA Ken Griffey, Jr. 56 1997
BOS David Ortiz 54 2006
TOR Jose Bautista 54 2010
PIT Ralph Kiner 54 1949
BAL Chris Davis 53 2013
CLE Jim Thome 52 2002
CIN George Foster 52 1977
ATL Andruw Jones 51 2005
MIL Prince Fielder 50 2007
SDP Greg Vaughn 50 1998
CHW Albert Belle 49 1998
MIN Harmon Killebrew 49 1969
COL Todd Helton 49 2001
LAD Shawn Green 49 2001
LAA Troy Glaus 47 2000
HOU Jeff Bagwell 47 2000
TBR Carlos Pena 46 2007
WSN Alfonso Soriano 46 2006
FLA Giancarlo Stanton 44 2017
NYM Todd Hundley 41 1996
KCR Steve Balboni 36 1985

Here is the same list, but by chronological order.

Team Record-Holder # Year
OAK Jimmie Foxx 58 1932
DET Hank Greenberg 58 1938
PIT Ralph Kiner 54 1949
NYY Roger Maris 61 1961
MIN Harmon Killebrew 49 1969
CIN George Foster 52 1977
KCR Steve Balboni 36 1985
NYM Todd Hundley 41 1996
SEA Ken Griffey, Jr. 56 1997
CHC Sammy Sosa 66 1998
STL Mark McGwire 70 1998
SDP Greg Vaughn 50 1998
CHW Albert Belle 49 1998
LAA Troy Glaus 47 2000
HOU Jeff Bagwell 47 2000
SFG Barry Bonds 73 2001
ARI Luis Gonzalez 57 2001
COL Todd Helton 49 2001
LAD Shawn Green 49 2001
TEX Alex Rodriguez 57 2002
CLE Jim Thome 52 2002
ATL Andruw Jones 51 2005
PHI Ryan Howard 58 2006
BOS David Ortiz 54 2006
WSN Alfonso Soriano 46 2006
MIL Prince Fielder 50 2007
TBR Carlos Pena 46 2007
TOR Jose Bautista 54 2010
BAL Chris Davis 53 2013
FLA Giancarlo Stanton 44 2017

Just six of the current club records pre-date Balboni's season. In fact, 20 of the 30 club records were set between 1996 and 2007, during the silly ball era, when home runs spiked through the roof. Here is what the club records looked like at the time of the time of the 1994 work stoppage*, before home runs were flying out of ballparks.

Team Record-Holder # Year
NYY Roger Maris 61 1961
OAK Jimmie Foxx 58 1932
DET Hank Greenerg 58 1938
CHC Hack Wilson 56 1930
PIT Ralph Kiner 54 1949
SFG Willie Mays 52 1965
CIN George Foster 52 1977
BOS Jimmie Foxx 50 1938
BAL Frank Robinson 49 1966
MIN Harmon Killebrew 49 1969
TEX Frank Howard 48 1969
PHI Mike Schmidt 48 1980
ATL Hank Aaron 47 1971
TOR George Bell 47 1987
MIL Gorman Thomas 45 1979
SEA Ken Griffey, Jr. 45 1993
STL Johnny Mize 43 1940
CLE Al Rosen 43 1953
LAD Duke Snider 43 1956
CHW Frank Thomas 41 1993
CAL Reggie Jackson 39 1982
NYM Darryl Strawberry 39 1987
SDP Nate Colbert 38 1970
HOU Glenn Davis 37 1967
KCR Steve Balboni 36 1985
MTL Andre Dawson 32 1983

*-Not counting Florida and Colorado, which had only been in the league one year. The Montreal Expos would eventually relocate to Washington.

No decade really dominates the home run totals there - the 1980s have a bit more because there were new franchises added in the 1960s and 70s.

What this all means is that the Royals seem to be the only franchise that didn't really take advantage of the silly ball era. They did get a few players close - Gary Gaetti probably would have broken the record in 1995 had it not been a shortened season, since he hit 35 in 144 games. It can't all be about the stadium, since franchises in other pitchers parks like Dodger Stadium and Busch Stadium eventually saw their home run records fall. Perhaps the stadium coupled with the frugality of the franchise during that era cost them. Maybe the organization just stinks at developing power hitters - the players that threatened Balboni all originally came from outside the organization - Gaetti, Dean Palmer, Jermaine Dye (not to mention Balboni himself and the man whose record he broke - John Mayberry). Maybe they were a bunch of choir boys who couldn't be tempted by PEDs in an era where everyone else was popping them.

In any case, it looks like the record will go down this year, the year the most home run in baseball history are being hit. Will Mike Moustakas hold the record for three decades? Unless MLB deadens the ball this off-season, I'm not sure I'd count on it.