I was watching a Cardinals game the other day—can’t remember exactly which one—and after a few innings the only runs were off solo homers. I hate games like that. I don’t mind a few taters, but small ball is more fun. It got me wondering: How many games have all their runs knocked in by homers? And how many games have no home runs? I took a guess at both numbers. You have a guess. I’ll wait.
Ready? OK, continue reading.
In 2007 1.9% of games (47 of 2431) had all their runs scored via long balls, one game out of every 52. (My guess was 5%.) In 21 of those 47 games, only solo home runs were hit.
14.6% of games (355 of 2431) had no home runs. (My guess was 20%.)
This all came from Retrosheet event files, so we can see how these figures have changed over time. (Standard Retrosheet disclaimers apply: a few games are missing in the earlier seasons, and I may have parsed some of the events incorrectly.)
The percentage of games with no home runs drops off in the 90s, which isn’t a big surprise. The percentage of games with all scoring via homers is pretty constant.
The highest scoring game that had all runs scored on home runs since 1960 (and probably ever) was a 12-3 shellacking of the Cubs by the Tigers in a 2006 interleague game that featured 11 homers.
The largest number of runs on solo shots only? There have been four games with five solo homers since 1960:
The 1962 game was interesting, because it had home runs from three Hall of Famers: Willie Mays, Orlando Cepeda, and… Warren Spahn!