June 14th, 1976
Frank Tanana Surrenders Home Run to Hank Aaron
Sorry, I know I've fallen a bit in love with the "Titles That Tell You Nothing" lately, but sometimes that's the way it goes. The home run Tanana gave up was an unremarkable one, not Aaron's first, nor his 500th or his 715th or 755th. It was notable for another reason. It put Tanana into exclusive, if slightly dubious company, as one of only two men to give up home runs to two of the three 700 HR men in baseball history. Tanana shares the "honor” of watching both Barry Bonds and Hank Aaron launch one his pitches over the fence with Rick Reuschel.
This is the sort-of trivia that I love, even if it’s not especially (or at all) meaningful. It is interesting to note that depending on how the home run races play out over the next few years, Tanana and Reuschel may retain--or even enhance--their place in history, or have it fall by the wayside. If no one else reaches 700 home runs in the next couple of decades, Tanana and Reuschel will be safe. If Bonds drags himself out of all the BALCO controversy and recovers from his knee surgeries to pass Ruth (and perhaps Aaron) then Tanana and Reuschel will have given up home runs to the two top home run men in history. Of course, if Bonds fails to pass Ruth, or passes Ruth but not Aaron and is later passed by Alex Rodriguez, then we'll be back to the same sorry, trivia-less state of affairs we have now, with the two top home run men never having hit a bomb off the same pitcher.