From Ted Williams' home run in his final career at-bat to Sadaharu Oh's record-breaking blast and beyond, there have been some remarkable home runs hit in baseball history. Here's a look at six of them.
Duane Kuiper holds the record for most career at-bats with only one career home run. A look at that lone blast from 1977.
Fans come out to the ballpark for a variety of reasons, from cheap family fun to the intricacies of the hit-and-run to the devastating ruin of Pedro Martinez's changeup. Baseball has something for everyone. There is no denying, however, the almost universal appeal of the home run. Purists will tell you that they would rather witness a 1-0 combined three-hitter that's not decided until the ninth inning over a 10-8 slugfest with five different home runs, and it may even be true. But there's a reason the mound was lowered in 1969, the designated hitter was added in 1973, and the "steroid era" was so popular at the turnstiles. Greg Maddux said it best: "Chicks dig the longball."
The little second baseman steps into the lefthander's batters box, ready for the pitch. His stance is very much that of a man with a .280 career batting average and a .329 career slugging percentage. His body is as upright and rigid as his bat, which looks about two-times too big for him. His chin is dug deep into his right shoulder, as if he is trying to scratch an itch while his hands are otherwise occupied.
The Southern League president discusses the toughest pitcher he ever faced, his career highlights, and reflects on his accomplishments.
In Part II, Don Mincher talks about the toughest pitcher he ever faced, getting hit in the face by a Sam McDowell fastball, how the 1965 Twins compare to the 1972 Oakland A’s, and more. You can view Part I here.
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A look back at some of the top quotes from the 2010 season.
It was a busy year for the Prospectus Q&A series in 2010. Over 100 full-length interviews graced these pages from January through December, and I hope that most were entertaining and/or informative. As always, it was a pleasure to bring them to the BP community. Here is a selection of the best quotes from the interviews:
The Toy Cannon discusses baseball in the 1960s, hitting home runs in a big ballpark and some Hall of Fame teammates.
Jimmy Wynn is a humble man, and he is also one of the most underrated players in baseball history. Known throughout his big-league career (1963-77) as “The Toy Cannon,” the 5-foot-9, 170 pound outfielder was not only a prodigious power hitter in one of baseball’s worst hitting environments, he was an on-base machine who could run. Originally drafted by Cincinnati, he spent most of his career playing in the Houston Astrodome and finished with 291 home runs, 225 stolen bases, a .366 OBP, and a 128 OPS+.
With the Fall Classic now upon us, the staff at Baseball Prospectus shares their most memorable World Series moments.
Every baseball fan has a special World Series memory, whether it's Willie Mays' catch, Bill Mazeroski's home run, Brooks Robinson's defense, Kirk Gibson's limp around the bases, or Derek Jeter becoming the first-ever Mr. November. With the World Series opening tonight at AT&T Park in San Francisco with the Giants facing the Texas Rangers, many of our writers, editors, and interns share their favorite memories of the Fall Classic.
Some reasons why Jim Thome is not a household name despite approaching 600 career home runs.
Jim Thome hit three home runs over the holiday weekend to move into sole possession of the ninth spot on the all-time home run list with 585. The last of those blasts, Thome’s 21st of the season, provided the final margin of victory as the Twins defeated the Royals 5-4 to move a season-high 24 games over .500. Thome’s home run Tuesday night tied him with Frank Robinson for seventh on the all-time list.
Thome has been a godsend for the Twins this season, compiling a stunning .275/.399/.621 line while mirroring the production of the man whose lineup spot he is occupying, early AL MVP favorite Justin Morneau. In fact, since Morneau suffered a concussion July 7 in Toronto, Thome has battered opposing pitchers to the tune of a 1.090 OPS with extra-base hits coming at a rate of about one every six at-bats. Thome’s .343 TAv this season is runner up to his monstrous 2002 campaign (.304/.445/.677) and his 3.6 WARP is also very good considering he’s only pushing 300 plate appearances for the season. Moreover, his 1020 OPS is also historically good for a 39-year old, as it has been eclipsed by only Barry Bonds, Ted Williams (twice), and Hank Aaron. Elite company, indeed.
I have seen the future, and its name is FIELDf/x. OK, so we kind of knew that. But today, FIELDf/x started to seem a lot more real, and even more exciting than I’d imagined. You may have noticed that BP had a man on the scene at Sportvision’s PITCHf/x summit whose liveblog was actually live. So why am I doing this, when Colin already did? Well, for one thing, Colin arrived fashionably late, and I was all over those first 14 minutes that he missed. For another, his computer died before a lot of the fun started. And for still another (this is a third reason, now), I thought it might be fun to do a Simmons-style quasi-liveblog (written live, published later) that would free me from worries about frequent updates, and allow me to write at length. Most likely that length turned out to be a good deal longer than anyone has any interest in reading, but if you’re determined to catch up on the day’s intriguing events without sitting through eight hours of archived video, you’re welcome to peruse what lies below. If you’d like to follow along, here’s an agenda, and here’s where you should be able to find downloadable presentations in the near future.
Here we are in sunny California, home of the cutest girls in the world, if the Beach Boys are to be believed (I gather there’s also a more recent chart-topper that expresses a similar view). Okay, so by “we,” I mean the attendees at the 3rd (annual?) Sportvision PITCHf/x summit, held at the Westin San Francisco in—you guessed it—San Francisco. I, on the other hand, am watching from the other end of the continent, via a webcast that dubiously claims to be “hi-res,” despite being blurry enough to make deciphering text an adventure (I guess “hi-res” is relative, in the sense that there are even lower resolutions at which it could’ve been streamed). And sure, maybe the Beach Boys weren’t thinking of this particular gathering when they extolled the virtues of California’s beach bunnies. But never mind that—it’s a beautiful Saturday afternoon here in New York, and how better to spend it than to watch a video of some fellow nerds talk about baseball in a dark room some 3,000 miles away? Well, to describe the experience at the same time, of course. Let’s get this quasi-liveblog started.
A first attempt at looking at offense and defense as a whole.
I’ve laid out the foundations for a new defensive metric (here and here). One thing that I’ve done is lay out an explicit margin of error for our estimates of defensive performance over a period of time.
In measuring offense, there are certain amounts of uncertainty as well, so we’re going to look at how to measure that. But first, we have to come to some agreement—or, barring that, a cordial disagreement—over what it is we’re measuring.
A historian looks at Willard Brown, the first African-American to play in a big-league game at Fenway Park.
Chris Wertz is a freelance baseball writer and historian living in New York City. He is a contributing author to the recently-released Pumpsie & Progress: The Red Sox, Race, and Redemption, by Bill Nowlin, which was published by Rounder Books.
David Ortiz, whose career seemed in an unstoppable downward spiral at this time a year ago, punctuates his return to prominence.
Some stat geeks and sabermetric fanatics usually pass-up the All-Star Home Run Derby, calling the event purely commercialized for the younger or more casual fans, not for the true fans that study the game! Well, now at 18, I’d like to think of myself as a “scholar of the game.” I’m increasing my knowledge each and every day with Baseball Prospectus, as numerous research and analytical assignments ensures the expansion of my baseball mind.
However, I can happily admit that there was nothing wrong with enjoying Monday night's showcase of baseball’s best power hitters (well, beside A-Rod, Pujols, and Ryan Howard….). Maybe, aside from bragging rights, it didn’t count for anything, but what it did do was bring to light the competitive nature of a baseball player. Yes, it was just a derby, but it still meant something to each and every one of those participants. Especially for Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz, who was pronounced as good as dead at the same time last year. Now, once again an All-Star, Big Papi put on a show at Angels Stadium in Anaheim.
Is there a surprise to be found in terms of the in-series pattern of home-field advantage?
In the first three articles of this series, we have studied what home-field advantage affects, who it affects most, and where it shows up most. We have found that home-field advantage affects nearly every aspect of a team's performance, including pitching, defense, baserunning, and offense. We found that the Rockies are the only team that has statistically significant home-field advantage, and that most other teams are bound to win about eight percent more games at home than on the road in the long-run. We also found that home-field advantage was larger in interleague games than intraleague games, larger in interdivision games than in intradivision games, and even within divisions, it was larger the further apart the teams played. This suggested that travel might be playing a significant effect in home-field advantage. Further evidence of this came from the fact that interleague games within teams in equivalent divisions (e.g. East vs. East) had smaller home-field advantages than interleague games where longer travel distances were involved.