Evan Longoria hit the Rays’ 9th-ever inside the park homer today in a 9-6 victory for the good guys over the Baltimore Orioles. That got me thinking about what a rare and exciting feat it is. It’s not the “Most Exciting Two Minutes in Sports” (the Kentucky Derby), or in baseball terms even equivalent to a no-hitter which builds in intensity, pitch by pitch for three plus hours. But when that knuckling line drive slipped past Adam Jones and went all the way to the wall, and when Longo rounded second and headed to third with plenty of time to kill, I was slapping the side of the couch screaming “Wave him around, Foley, wave him around!” Yeah, the heart gets pumping a little bit.
In honor of that, I dug up some things you probably don’t already know about inside the park home runs. If you already know all of this stuff, you are a huge nerd:
- Also known as a “leg home run” or a “quadruple”.
- If there is any defensive error, it is not scored as a home run, but rather the runner advancing on error.
- Of the 154,483 home runs hit from 1951–2000, 975 (about 1 in every 158) were inside-the-park. The percentage has dwindled over the years with the growing propensity toward power hitting and smaller parks.
- The since-1950 record for in the park homers by one player (13) is held by Wille Wilson (Royals, A’s, Cubs), but considering he was busted on a cocaine rap in 1983 one wonders if his speed wasn’t related to….well, speed. A few guys actually hit over 40 of them “back in the day”, but the parks and the game itself were pretty different back then.
- Kyle Blanks (Padres) is the heaviest player to hit one, tipping the scales at 285 at the time. At 262 lbs, Prince Fielder (Brewers) is still only the third heaviest player to hit an inside the park homer.
- The Urban Dictionary has several other definitions of “inside the park home run”, the tamest being hooking up with a girl/guy without even leaving the establishment (bar) where you met them. You can read the rest for yourself here: http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=inside%20the%20park%20home%20run
- Greg Gagne (Twins) hit two in the same game in 1986.
- It has happened 9 times in World Series games, but not since 1929.
Anyway, Way to go Evan! Congrats!