1987 – The first eyebrow is raised…
The following is a graph of home runs per year in the majors since 1978, adjusted for expansion, omitting years ’81 and ’94 (lockouts).
The casual baseball fan could probably tell you that the suspected “steroid” era in baseball began soon after the 1994 player lockout, in which players like Barry Bonds, Mark McGuire, and Sammy Sosa put on Home Run clinics. This conspiracy theory can partially explain the rise in home runs over the period:
But what happened in 1987?
The statistics used to populate the graph were culled from www.baseball-reference.com.