Chris Davis launched home run No. 37 on Sunday, and that accomplishment hasn’t been received without its appropriate praises. You would be hard-pressed to watch a 24-hour sports newshole that hasn’t flashed a graphic reading “Chris Davis ties American League record with 37 home runs before All-Star break.”
Technically, this is true. It’s a mark that is just another highlight for Davis, who is amid a performance which could be looked back on as one of the best seasons anyone in an Oriole uniform has ever logged. And though a level-headed person wouldn’t discredit Davis’ monstrous season to date, it should be noted that Davis tying this “record” isn’t really that significant.
The All-Star break used to come pretty darn close to the midway point of the season, but that’s not the case in 2013. It’s a little further away than usual as the Orioles have played 96 games, which is 15 games past the halfway mark of baseball’s 162-game season.
Because of this, when people see Davis’ massive home-run total at the break, some are even quick to think he is on pace to shatter Barry Bonds’ record of 73 single-season home runs (Bonds had 39 home runs at that season’s break). And though Davis could very well shatter several Orioles batting records and reach other new heights in the process, thinking he is well on his way to shatter Bonds’ total would be wrong.
The home-run total that Davis is closer to eclipsing is Roger Maris’, whose 61 home runs stood as a record for 37 years, and is still the record in Davis’ eyes. That opinion will differ among all kinds of fans, but record or not, Davis is on pace to break it with his trajectory currently sitting at 62 home runs.
But before getting ahead of ourselves, the man whose record Chris Davis tied on Sunday was one belonging to Reggie Jackson, who totaled 37 homers right before the 1969 All Star Game. However, despite Davis’ torrid stretch of homering in each of his last four games, it didn’t put him on par with Jackson, who achieved Davis’ total by game No. 91. By the time Jackson reached his 96th game, he was still ahead of Davis with 40 home runs.
So yes, while Davis can claim he holds the American League record for most home runs at the All-Star break, it was one that benefited from a few extra chances. But Davis’ numbers aren’t just products of volume, and it’s for that reason the baseball world can’t wait to see what Davis does down the stretch.
Baltimore’s Next Sports Media Superstar contestant Dan Ciarrocchi is an editor of Hogs Haven, an SB Nation website. He also contributes to the fantasy football section of Pro Football Focus and covered Towson University baseball for two years at The Towerlight.