Trying to bring a little common sense to the game of baseball. But considering many of the people who read baseball blogs, I'm probably just pissing into the wind.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

More things than you ever wanted to know about things you don't know about

Having now completed the last two lists, I thought you didn’t have quite enough information on this subject. So here is more than you ever wanted to know about batters hitting a homerun in their first major league plate appearance.

First, a quiz. Only one pitcher has given a homerun to a batter in their first plate appearance more than once. He was a knuckleballer in the 70’s. Please make your guess and leave it in the comments. The winner will receive nothing but satisfaction from the fact that they probably know more baseball trivia than a sane person should.

Only 2 Hall of Famers have done this, and one was a pitcher. They are Hoyt Wilhelm and Earl Averill. I’m surprised that only one Hall of Fame batter has done this.

Of the 106 players to do this, 18 have been pitchers.

2 of the 4 pitchers to do it since the Kevin Graham Rule was instituted have been American League pitchers.

2 have been inside the park. Luke Stuart in 1921 and Johnnie LeMaster in 1975. One from each league.

25 have hit it on the first pitch they saw

44 have been hit in the American League and 62 in the National League

21 hit their only career homerun in their first at bat

26 have hit it as a pinchhitter

4 have hit a grand slam for their first homerun

10 did in the top of the 1st inning, before they even had a chance to play defense (call this the anti-Moonlight Graham syndrome)

The following clubs have done it the most:
Boston Red Sox – 4
Brooklyn Dodgers – 4
Chicago Cubs – 8 (that’s Wrigley, folks)
Detroit Tigers – 6
Houston Astros – 4
Minnesota Twins – 5 (only 1 in the Metro Dome)
Montreal Expos – 4
New York Giants – 4
Philadelphia Phillies – 5
St Louis Cardinals – 7

The only franchise not to have a player do is the Milwaukee Brewers

1890’s – 2
1900’s – 1
1910’s – none
1920’s – 4
1930’s – 7
1940’s – 10
1950’s – 7
1960’s – 12
1970’s – 10
1980’s – 10
1990’s – 13
2000’s – 31

52 (less than half) hit double figures in career homeruns

16 hit 100 or more homeruns

8 hit over 200 (Earl Averill, Bill White, Will Clark and Tim Wallach in the 200’s)

3 ht over 300 (Jermaine Dye, Carlos Lee, and Garry Gaetti)

Gary Gaetti hit the most with 360

By position:
C - 13
1B – 12
2B – 8
3B – 7
SS – 8
LF – 11
CF – 3
RF – 5
P – 18
Utility – 21

Took 21 years for the American League to do it. Only 20 for the National League.

The first time it was done more than once in a season was 1937, when two players from the Philadelphia Athletics did it.

The National League followed with two the next year, with one of them playing for the Phillies

They did it on the same day.

The American League only had 1 player do it during the war years, the National had 4.

The longest streak for the National League is six years in a row. The American’s streak is 5.

The longest gap for the American League was 11 years. For the National League, it was 13.

Ed Sanicki did on September 14th, 1949. Ted Tappe was the next to do it, exactly a year later.

The American League did it 3 times in 2006 and 2010, the most ever.

Some of the notable names that did it:
Bob Nieman
Gates Brown
Bert Campaneris
Gary Gaetti
Jay Bell
Carlos Lee
Marcus Thames
Miguel Olivo
Mike Napoli
Elijah Dukes
Whitey Lockman
Hoyt Wilhelm
Chuck Tanner
Wally Moon
Bill White
Benny Ayala
Johnny LeMaster
Tim Wallach
Will Clark
Jose Offerman
Jermaine Dye
Kaz Matsui
Jason Heyward
Starlin Castro

3 players, Bob Neiman, J.P. Arencibia, and Bert Campaneris homered twice in their first game. Neiman did it consecutively. Keith McDonald did it consecutively over 2 days.

8 Hall of Famers have given up a first plate appearance homerun:

Walter Johnson
Nolan Ryan
Warren Spahn
Bert Blyleven
Randy Johnson (I’m jumping the gun)
Don Sutton
Grover Cleveland
Catfish Hunter

Other pitchers of note:

Bret Saberhagen
Jim Bouton
Van Lingo Mungo (love the name)
Mickey Lolich
Andy Pettitte
Justin Verlander
Dennis Martinez
Tom Candiotti
Jack Morris
Lindy McDaniel
Diego Segui
Monte Stratton
Jim Katt

Prime-time matchups:

Will Clark vs Nolan Ryan
Bert Campaneris vs Jim Kaat
Jay Bell vs Bert Blyleven
Jason Heyward vs Carlos Zambrano
Carlos Lee vs Tom Candiotti
Marcus Thames vs Randy Johnson
Jose Offerman vs Dennis Martinez
Terry Steinbach vs Greg Swindell
Charlie Hough vs Gary Gaetti
Brad Fulmer vs Bret Saberhagen

Hoyt Wilhelm hit one homerun in his career. He hit off of Dick Hoover, who only gave up one homerun in his career.


  1. 2 things:
    1. I'll guess Wilbur Wood
    2. The designated hitter rule is the only thing separating us from the apes.

    Interesting stuff, as usual,

    Kevin G.

  2. Good guess, Kevin, but it was actually Charlie Hough.

    Pass the bananas.