(Editor’s note: Brian Dozier is hitting home runs faster than we can record them. The following blog was published this morning before Dozier hit three more home runs this afternoon, giving him 38 on the season. He hit one in the first deck, one in the middle deck and the third in the upper deck. The baseball must look the size of a volleyball these days to the Fulton native and former Southern Miss baseball standout.)

Alfonso Soriano holds the all-time record for home runs by an American League second baseman. Soriano hit 39 for the New York Yankees in 2002.

Here’s why that is important today in Mississippi: Fulton native Brian Dozier, who played his college ball at Southern Miss, Sunday hit his 35th home run of the season for the Minnesota Twins. With 25 games remaining, Dozier needs four to tie the AL record, five to beat it.

He just might do it. His bat is hotter than Mississippi asphalt during a July/August heat wave. Since July 31, Dozier has slammed 18 home runs. That’s six more than any other player in the Major Leagues has hit.

What’s really amazing is that Dozier wasn’t known as a power hitter at USM. He hit 16 career homers over four seasons with the Golden Eagles.

Dozier had three hits and three RBI Sunday to raise his batting average to .276, with the 35 homers, 32 doubles, five triples and 87 RBI.

He has a chance to become only the fourth second baseman in Major League history to hit 40 home runs and the first since Ryne Sandberg in 1990. These are crazy numbers. No Twins player has hit 40 homers in a season since the great Harmon “Killer” Killebrew slammed 41 in 1970.

“Home runs come in bunches, man,” Dozier told the Minneapolis Star-Tribune Saturday. “Am I going to continue to hit this many home runs? I don’t know. But I feel like I’ve gotten stronger each and every week, which hasn’t been the case in the past. I’m saying that I’m not as fatigued.”

The Major League record for home runs by a second baseman is 42, shared by Hall of Famer Rogers Hornsby and former Jackson Mets manager Davey Johnson. If Dozier were to continue at his current pace — a considerable “if” considering how hot he’s been — he would set the Major League record.

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Rick Cleveland, a native of Hattiesburg and resident of Jackson, has been Mississippi Today’s sports columnist since 2016. A graduate of the University of Southern Mississippi with a bachelor’s in journalism, Rick has worked for the Monroe (La.) News Star World, Jackson Daily News and Clarion Ledger. He was sports editor of Hattiesburg American, executive director of the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame. His work as a syndicated columnist and celebrated sports writer has appeared in numerous magazines, periodicals and newspapers.
Rick has been recognized 13 times as Mississippi Sports Writer of the Year, and is recipient of multiple awards and honors for his reporting and writing.