Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Royals catcher Salvador Perez passes Johnny Bench for MLB record with 46th home run

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Royals catcher Salvador Perez has made history. With a home run Monday afternoon in Cleveland, Perez broke a tie with Hall of Famer Johnny Bench. This was Perez’s 46th blast of the season, the most of any primary catcher in a single MLB season.

Perez is appearing Monday in his 118th game behind the plate. He’s served as the designated hitter 34 times. The record here recognizes players that appeared in at least 75 percent of their games in a season as catcher. Perez now stands at the top. Here are the catchers in MLB history to hit at least 40 home runs in a season. 

1. Salvador Perez: 46 (2021)

2. Johnny Bench: 45 (1970)

3. Javy Lopez: 43 (2003)

4. Todd Hundley: 41 (1996)

4. Roy Campanella: 41 (1953)

6. Mike Piazza: 40 (1999)

6. Mike Piazza: 40 (1997)

6. Johnny Bench: 40 (1972)  

Here’s a look at Perez’s record-setting blast:

Bench congratulated Perez on the accomplishment on Twitter:

Perez is also up to 115 RBI, though that’s still a far cry from Bench’s record 148 (1970). 

In terms of making history, Perez likely isn’t done. He’s now right on the heels of the Royals’ franchise record. Here’s the top five on the Royals’ single-season home run leaderboard. 

1. Jorge Soler: 48 (2019)

2. Salvador Perez: 46 (2021)

3. Mike Moustakas: 38 (2017)

4. Steve Balboni: 36 (1985)

5. Gary Gaetti: 35 (1995)

Further, Perez is now tied with Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. for the major-league lead in home runs. He came into Monday tied with White Sox slugger and reigning MVP Jose Abreu for the lead in RBI, meaning he’s now at least temporarily pushed ahead. 

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It is incredibly unlikely that Perez can do anything to pass Angels two-way star Shohei Ohtani or Guerrero in the race for the AL MVP, but he’s putting together quite the case for finishing third place. 

No matter how we look at it, this is far and away the best year of Perez’s career. He’s already in the history books with more coming. 

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