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Who Hit The Most Home Runs During Each Pope's Reign Since 1876?

We already knew that John Paul II was the best baseball player of all the Popes. But which major leaguer took the home run crown under every Pope since the National League formed in 1876? This is an important question, and thankfully, someone took the time to figure it out.

Bill Arnold, a historian and statistician, calculated which players hit the most home runs during the reigns of the last 11 Popes, and shared it with the Baltimore Sun. It is, post-dead- ball era, a catalog of the greatest sluggers in baseball history, plus Jim Rice. (John Paul I died after just 30 days in office. Rice had a good September that year.)

Pope (Reign), Player, HRs

Pius IX (1846-1876), Charley Jones, 6

Leo XIII (1878-1903), Roger Connor, 138

Pius X (1903-1914), Frank Schulte, 73

Benedict XV (1914-1922), Babe Ruth, 162

Pius XI (1922-1939), Babe Ruth, 552

Pius XII (1939-1958), Ted Williams, 482

John XXIII (1958-1963), Hank Aaron and Harmon Killebrew, 174

Paul VI (1963-1978), Hank Aaron, 437

John Paul I (1978), Jim Rice, 13

John Paul II (1978-2005), Barry Bonds, 703

Benedict XVI (2005-2013), Albert Pujols, 312

It's a fool's errand to try and guess who will be the leading home run hitter under the new Pope, because it requires predicting both the length of Francis's reign and the next however many years of MLB. But among last year's top nine home run hitters, just two are under age 30: Ryan Braun and Giancarlo Stanton, and only one of them is Catholic.


[Baltimore Sun]

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