Matt Kemp and Jim Thome, Peas in a Pod

Have bat will travel (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

When Matt Kemp rocketed 39 home runs this past season he springboarded himself onto an impressive list. Since time began only 81 players 26 and younger have blasted at least 125 home runs. Matt Kemp is now one of them.

Yesterday while looking over Matt Kemp's season I noticed that he had increased his home run output every single season.

Year Home Runs OB% Slug% OPS SB
2006 7 .289 .448 .737 6
2007 10 .373 .521 .894 10
2008 18 .340 .459 .799 35
2009 26 .352 .490 .842 34
2010 28 .310 .450 .760 19
2011 39 .399 .586 .985 40

This made me curious. How many players have increased their home run output six straight years? I was not about to check every single player, but I felt if I narrowed the criteria I could do this. So I looked for every player who had hit at least 125 home runs by the age of 26. Eighty-one players showed, and as you can see from the list, this is a virtual who's who of the home run world.

As I checked each players history, it seemed that Matt Kemp might stand alone in this endeavor as each great slugger went down one by one. Vlady Guerrero checked in having done it five times. As did one-time wonder-kid Cesar Cedeno. Another player lost to the past came so close I almost have to give him credit: Johnny Callison did not increase six straight years because he got stuck on 9 for two of them but 1, 3, 9, 9, 23, 26, 31, 32 is still the trend I was looking for.

Just when I thought Matt Kemp had the hill to himself, Jim Thome said, "not so fast." Thome not only did it six straight years, he did it one better by doing it seven straight years.

1, 2, 7, 20, 25, 38, 40

The key to this, is that you have to have been a part time player early in your career and then as you develop into a full time player, your percolating power kicks in gradually, not all at once like many of the sluggers on this list.

These kinds of anomalies are probably only interesting to myself but the research is fun, and as you peruse through the 81 sluggers on this list you are reminded of greatness at some point in all their careers. Ralph Kiner's time was short but for seven years he was Albert Pujols. Ernie Banks seems to be remembered more for being the nicest guy in baseball then for being the all time slugging shortstop during his prime years.

Just the fact Matt Kemp is even on this list, should make current Dodger fans anticipate the future. For every Jesse Barfield that might give you pause, there are so many successes that you can't help but be excited about 2014.

                                                                                             
Rk              Player  HR From   To   Age   PA    H  2B  BB IBB  SB  OBP  SLG   OPS      Pos
1       Alex Rodriguez 298 1994 2002 18-26 4972 1354 255 472  27 160 .380 .579  .958     *6/D
2          Jimmie Foxx 266 1925 1934 17-26 4590 1307 224 667   0  42 .437 .640 1.077 *35/2967
3        Eddie Mathews 253 1952 1958 20-26 4457 1039 165 646  47  34 .382 .541  .923     *5/7
4        Albert Pujols 250 2001 2006 21-26 4062 1159 260 493  98  36 .419 .629 1.047 *37/59D6
5        Mickey Mantle 249 1951 1958 19-26 4770 1238 185 799  48  77 .430 .577 1.006 *89/6475
6              Mel Ott 242 1926 1935 17-26 5328 1440 257 704   0  45 .411 .554  .966  *98/754
7       Frank Robinson 241 1956 1962 20-26 4493 1202 228 468  71  99 .390 .571  .961   7938/5
8          Ken Griffey 238 1989 1996 19-26 4558 1204 227 504 119 108 .381 .549  .930   *8/D39
9       Orlando Cepeda 222 1958 1964 20-26 4434 1266 223 252  63  92 .353 .537  .890   *37/95
10        Andruw Jones 221 1996 2003 19-26 4630 1105 216 430  30 118 .341 .494  .836   *89/7D
11          Hank Aaron 219 1954 1960 20-26 4530 1309 225 341  72  36 .369 .560  .929  *978/45
12       Juan Gonzalez 214 1989 1996 19-26 3406  887 172 214  40  16 .334 .552  .885     78D9
13        Johnny Bench 212 1967 1974 19-26 4587 1096 197 451  83  29 .340 .483  .823 *2/95378
14      Miguel Cabrera 209 2003 2009 20-26 4441 1220 253 446  90  24 .383 .542  .925   5379/D
15        Jose Canseco 209 1985 1991 20-26 3664  867 156 370  32 122 .348 .518  .866   *97D/8
16           Adam Dunn 198 2001 2006 21-26 3466  695 151 574  60  48 .380 .513  .892   *73/9D
17        Joe DiMaggio 198 1936 1941 21-26 3737 1163 214 336   0  21 .408 .626 1.034    *8/79
18      Prince Fielder 192 2005 2010 21-26 3518  826 164 459  83  15 .385 .535  .919     *3/D
19         Willie Mays 187 1951 1957 20-26 3296  903 128 362  48 121 .387 .593  .980       *8
20   Darryl Strawberry 186 1983 1988 21-26 3387  768 143 449  80 165 .366 .529  .894    *9/87
21          Hal Trosky 180 1933 1939 20-26 3890 1120 231 326   0  19 .376 .563  .939     *3/4
22    Harmon Killebrew 178 1954 1962 18-26 2766  601  86 397  16   6 .367 .532  .899    537/4
23            Jim Rice 172 1974 1979 21-26 3456  976 149 236  30  39 .359 .552  .910   *7D/98
24   Vladimir Guerrero 170 1996 2001 21-26 3044  879 169 234  76  74 .378 .587  .965    *9/8D
25         Ralph Kiner 168 1946 1949 23-26 2582  618  78 401   0  11 .398 .568  .966     *7/8
Rk              Player  HR From   To   Age   PA    H  2B  BB IBB  SB  OBP  SLG   OPS      Pos
26           Ron Santo 167 1960 1966 20-26 4465 1108 189 480  43  22 .361 .481  .841     *5/6
27       Adrian Beltre 166 1998 2005 19-26 4468 1103 212 324  38  65 .327 .455  .783    *5/6D
28       Tom Brunansky 165 1981 1987 20-26 3745  825 153 395  22  36 .331 .455  .785   *9/87D
29        Eddie Murray 165 1977 1982 21-26 3775  997 178 354  60  32 .360 .502  .862   *3D/75
30         Boog Powell 165 1961 1968 19-26 3740  843 125 429  58  11 .345 .454  .799    *37/9
31          Troy Glaus 164 1998 2003 21-26 3237  696 154 439  22  47 .357 .491  .849    *5/D6
32     Tony Conigliaro 164 1964 1971 19-26 3522  842 138 279  28  19 .329 .480  .809    *9/78
33      Rocky Colavito 164 1955 1960 21-26 2791  646 107 328  18   7 .354 .520  .874   *9/317
34         Eric Chavez 163 1998 2004 20-26 3507  858 181 374  55  34 .354 .502  .856  *5/D673
35           Babe Ruth 162 1914 1921 19-26 2636  718 162 485   0  44 .467 .700 1.167   71/983
36          Bob Horner 161 1978 1984 20-26 2845  724 113 235  21  12 .341 .517  .858     *5/3
37          Cal Ripken 160 1981 1987 20-26 4279 1084 211 394  10  14 .348 .475  .823    *6/5D
38           Al Kaline 159 1953 1961 18-26 5071 1390 226 475  46  84 .374 .485  .859   *98/75
39         Roger Maris 158 1957 1961 22-26 2835  642  83 327  17  16 .348 .509  .857    *98/7
40      Reggie Jackson 157 1967 1972 21-26 3154  700 128 371  48  79 .355 .494  .849    *98/7
41        Ruben Sierra 156 1986 1992 20-26 4512 1160 230 298  51  88 .325 .470  .794   *9/78D
42        Mark McGwire 156 1986 1990 22-26 2571  550  84 344  26   4 .356 .512  .868   *3/5D9
43       Manny Ramirez 154 1993 1998 21-26 2923  758 169 359  29  25 .390 .558  .948     *9/D
44       Greg Luzinski 151 1970 1977 19-26 3699  958 179 356  49  15 .365 .497  .861    *7/39
45         Duke Snider 151 1947 1953 20-26 3510  947 157 328   0  71 .369 .521  .890    *8/97
46      Jeff Burroughs 149 1970 1977 19-26 3579  802 121 421  32  11 .345 .445  .790   *9/7D3
47         Vada Pinson 147 1958 1965 19-26 4955 1381 250 318  22 160 .349 .485  .834    *8/97
48          Lou Gehrig 146 1923 1929 20-26 3321  919 206 480   0  30 .436 .622 1.058    *3/97
49          Dick Allen 145 1963 1968 21-26 3184  840 144 358  65  55 .380 .551  .931  *57/684
50        Frank Thomas 142 1990 1994 22-26 2844  741 158 525  54  13 .449 .590 1.040      *3D
Rk              Player  HR From   To   Age   PA    H  2B  BB IBB  SB  OBP  SLG   OPS      Pos
51         Barry Bonds 142 1986 1991 21-26 3643  837 184 484  81 212 .367 .485  .852    *78/9
52       Willie Horton 141 1963 1969 20-26 2876  694 102 240  33  11 .334 .486  .820    *7/95
53        David Wright 140 2004 2009 21-26 3665  983 222 414  34 119 .389 .518  .907     *5/D
54       Mark Teixeira 140 2003 2006 23-26 2671  661 149 273  34  11 .364 .534  .898  *3/D957
55        Jim Ray Hart 139 1963 1968 21-26 3135  799 109 268  35  17 .347 .490  .837    *57/9
56         Ernie Banks 136 1953 1957 22-26 2601  679 108 211  35  29 .348 .534  .881     *6/5
57        Cesar Cedeno 135 1970 1977 19-26 4724 1245 257 365  50 374 .350 .466  .817   *8/973
58     Johnny Callison 134 1958 1965 19-26 3822  933 155 330  17  41 .340 .475  .815    *97/8
59         Scott Rolen 133 1996 2001 21-26 3205  783 186 374  27  66 .375 .508  .884       *5
60           Jim Thome 133 1991 1997 20-26 2616  617 120 430  29  15 .408 .541  .950    *53/D
61          Jack Clark 132 1975 1982 19-26 3477  837 163 380  42  54 .354 .479  .833   *9/875
62           Joe Torre 132 1960 1967 19-26 3635  972 143 300  36   9 .359 .473  .832    *23/7
63          Sammy Sosa 131 1989 1995 20-26 3139  738 110 198  27 159 .308 .449  .757   *98/7D
64        Mike Schmidt 131 1972 1976 22-26 2548  532 104 374  35  74 .369 .500  .869   *5/643
65         Joe Medwick 131 1932 1938 20-26 4039 1291 305 196   0  22 .373 .560  .933    *7/89
66      Jason Thompson 130 1976 1981 21-26 3206  718 109 427  30   6 .359 .452  .811     *3/D
67           Del Ennis 130 1946 1951 21-26 3735 1000 188 306   0  24 .355 .487  .841    *79/8
68      Grady Sizemore 129 2004 2009 21-26 3612  861 189 403  33 130 .367 .485  .851     *8/D
69           Matt Kemp 128 2006 2011 21-26 3158  840 140 250  41 144 .350 .496  .846   *89/7D
70      Ryan Zimmerman 128 2005 2011 20-26 3668  947 214 338  30  25 .355 .479  .834    *5/D6
71          Ryan Braun 128 2007 2010 23-26 2547  711 149 184   7  63 .364 .554  .918    *75/D
72      Jesse Barfield 128 1981 1986 21-26 2609  634 112 238  18  45 .344 .502  .846   *9/8D7
73         Dale Murphy 128 1976 1982 20-26 2907  686  97 283  34  63 .337 .459  .796   83/279
74      Aramis Ramirez 127 1998 2004 20-26 3114  776 156 194  16   9 .324 .467  .791     *5/D
75        Nate Colbert 127 1966 1972 20-26 2513  569  90 235  35  30 .326 .481  .808  *3/8795
Rk              Player  HR From   To   Age   PA    H  2B  BB IBB  SB  OBP  SLG   OPS      Pos
76        Ted Williams 127 1939 1942 20-23 2615  749 154 495   0  11 .481 .642 1.123    *79/1
77         Gary Carter 126 1974 1980 20-26 3344  787 135 321  40  28 .339 .452  .790  *29/735
78         Bobby Bonds 126 1968 1972 22-26 3202  779 132 318  20 179 .350 .476  .826      *98
79      Willie McCovey 126 1959 1964 21-26 2222  524  75 244  19  10 .357 .523  .880     37/9
80        Fred McGriff 125 1986 1990 22-26 2322  540  99 352  31  21 .389 .530  .919     *3/D
81         Chuck Klein 125 1928 1931 23-26 2329  760 152 181   0  16 .412 .636 1.048    *9/78

Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 12/23/2011.

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