Ryan Mountcastle of Winter Springs, FL made Baltimore Orioles franchise history on Thursday. The left fielder set the Orioles record for most home runs by a rookie in a single season in a 3-2 Baltimore win over the New York Yankees at Camden Yards. Mountcastle hit his 29th home run, which broke the record previously held by shortstop Cal Ripken Jr. of Havre de Grace, MD, who had 28 home runs during the 1982 Orioles regular season according to Grace Grill of WDVM.
Mountcastle’s record-breaking home run came in the sixth inning off of Yankees starting pitcher Jordan Montgomery. At the time, the Orioles pulled within one run as the score was 2-1 New York. Baltimore then tied the game on a wild pitch with two out in the ninth inning, and then won the game in the bottom of the 10th, on a bases loaded RBI single by Austin Hays of Dayton Beach, FL.
Mountcastle meanwhile has batted .261 this season in 476 at bats. In addition to the 29 home runs, he has scored 69 runs, and had 124 hits, 23 doubles, one triple, four stolen bases, 35 walks, a .311 on base percentage, a .496 slugging percentage, 236 total bases, seven sacrifice flies, and three times hit by a pitch.
It should be noted that Mountcastle had 140 plate appearances in 35 games for the Orioles in 2020. However he did not lose his rookie status in 2021 as he only had 126 at bats. If Mountcastle had four more at bats last season, he would not have been considered a rookie this season.
The Orioles record for most home runs in a single season belongs to Chris Davis of Longview, TX, who had 53 home runs in the 2013 Major League Baseball regular season. Eight years ago, Davis led MLB in home runs (53), runs batted in (138), and total bases (370). However, it was a struggle for Davis in 2021, as he only batted .115, 85 points below the Mendoza Line, and subsequently retired on August 12. It was the third straight year that Davis batted below .200 as he only batted .168 in 2018 and .179 in 2019.
The rookie record for most home runs in a single season belongs to New York Mets first baseman Pete Alonso of Tampa, FL. Like Davis, Alonso hit 53 home runs in a single season, as he accomplished the feat in 2019.