3:40 p.m. EDT update: Braun just added his second solo shot of the game, giving him 201 career homers.
Ryan Braun became the seventh player in major league history to reach 200 homers within his first six seasons when he took the Mets’ Chris Young deep on Sunday.
Here’s the list of players with the most homers through six seasons:
257 – Ralph Kiner (1946-51)
250 – Albert Pujols (2001-06)
222 – Ryan Howard (2004-09)
222 – Eddie Mathews (1952-57)
203 – Mark Teixeira (2003-08)
202 – Frank Robinson (1956-61)
200 – Ryan Braun (2007-12)
198 – Joe DiMaggio (1936-41)
198 – Adam Dunn (2001-06)
197 – Ted Williams (1939-47)
Braun went to college and didn’t debut in the majors until age-23, so he wouldn’t fare so well on an age-based home run list. Still, this is pretty impressive company he’s keeping here.
In case you’re wondering how the all-time home run leaders fared through six seasons, Hank Aaron is tops in the 700 club, with 179 homers. Barry Bonds had 142 homers through six seasons (23 fewer than his father had). Still pitching for Boston, Babe Ruth had 59 homers in his first six seasons.
Jim Salisbury of NBC Sports Philadelphia reports that Phillies owner John Middleton flew to Las Vegas for a meeting with Bryce Harper on Friday. Per ESPN’s Jeff Passan, it’s “more of a meet-and-greet than a sign-a-deal” affair, but as the club is still at the forefront of trade rumors involving the All-Star slugger, there remains a possibility (however slight) that something could be completed in the days to come.
Even now, the Phillies aren’t alone in the race to sign Harper, but recent rumors have helped whittle down the competition from five or more teams (Phillies, Nationals, White Sox, Giants, and Padres) to three strong contenders. The Giants are said to be interested in a lucrative short-term deal with the outfielder, while the Padres remain in the conversation despite inking Manny Machado to a mammoth 10-year, $300 million contract this week. It’s not yet clear just how far either team would go to outbid Philadelphia as talks with Harper intensify.
As for the Nationals and White Sox, the former officially bowed out earlier today, and MLB Network’s Jon Heyman adds that the latter won’t make a strong play for Harper as they feel the asking price and competing offers are “getting too high” for the 26-year-old’s services. If a mystery team is still in the mix, there’s been no word on their standing with Harper in the last month or so.