You won’t find the Hit Dog anywhere near the top of baseball’s all-time home run list, as his 328 career homers puts him outside the top 100. The reason wasn’t for a lack of power, but rather a lack of longevity.
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Vaughn’s career began to spiral downward almost immediately after he left Boston following the 1998 season. He severely sprained his ankle falling down the dugout steps chasing a pop up in his first game with the Anaheim Angels, limiting his first post-Red Sox season to 139 games. He still managed to top 30 homers in each of his two years with the Angels, before missing the entire 2001 season with a knee injury.
He was traded to the New York Mets in 2002, but played a total of only 166 games over two seasons. In January 2004 he announced that he would miss the upcoming season, collecting the $15 million remaining on his contract while spending the year on the disabled list, before officially retiring when doctors told him that he’d require knee replacement surgery in order to continue playing.
His career ended on a down note, but he was one of the game’s most feared power hitters during the first eight years that he spent with the Red Sox. The 270 home runs Vaughn hit in Boston rank 7th in franchise history. In the four year stretch that wrapped up his tenure with the Red Sox, Vaughn averaged a tick under 40 home runs per season, made three All-Star appearances, won the MVP award in 1995 and finished in the top 5 on the ballot two other times.
Vaughn didn’t have a long career, but during his prime years in Boston he was one of the most feared power hitters in the game, producing a .936 OPS as a member of the Red Sox.
Next: Jim Rice