Wednesday, October 25, 2006

 
October 25th, 1923

Bobby Thomson Born

That's Bobby Thomson of "The Giants Win the Pennant! The Giants Win the Pennant!" fame and that's how his name is spelled, no "p" despite innumerable writers and others sticking one in there over the years. There's little to say about Thomson's moment that hasn't already been said so I won't even try but it did get me thinking about something else entirely.

Of the "great" home runs, those hit and remembered for their individual signifigance rather than the place in the larger scheme of history--in other words, Thomson's pennant winner rather than Maris' sixty-first, it's amazing how many of them were hit by guys who weren't really home run hitters. For example, a few years ago ESPN ranked the top one hundred home runs of all time, a list you can see the top fifteen of here. Leaving out numbers thirteen (Reggie's three homer night in the World Series as that's about the number of homers, rather than any individual one) nine (Bonds' 71st), seven (Maris' 61st), five (McGwire's 62nd) and three (Aaron's 756th) you're left with ten home runs.

The names left on that list don't exactly jump out at you as home run hitters. The leader is Joe Carter. While 1993 home run won the World Series for the Blue Jays, he also hit nearly four hundred the rest of his career and ranked forty-sixth all-time on the home runs hit list. He's the only guy in the top fifty however, the next closest is Carlton Fisk (376 HRs, fifty-ninth all-time).

Those are the only guys on the list who hit any kind of unusual total of home runs. While some other players have respectable totals, they are largely nothing to write home about. Kirk Gibson hit two hundred and fifty-five home runs, a total bested by names like Dean Palmer and Brian Downing. Like Carter, Kirby Puckett hit a memorable Game Six home run, but his two hundred and seven home runs are fewer than Joe Pepitone or Kevin McReynolds. And pleased as I was to see Scott Brosius listed as having one of the top fifteen home runs of all-time, even I would never have described him as a major power threat. All that doesn't even get into guys like Bucky Dent and Dick Sisler, who don't even have a hundred home runs between them.

This is all mostly apropos of nothing, as all of those guys but Dent at least had some power, enough to manage at least one double-digit home run season, sometimes more. But as Yadier Molina proved just a few nights ago, sometimes the guy with the big home run is the guy you expect the least.




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