Sunday, June 1, 2014

Pic of the Week

Ben Revere celebrates his first
major league home run.
Old friend Ben Revere hit his first major league home run Tuesday. It only took the former Twins outfielder 1,466 plate appearances to get his first dinger.

I always figured Revere's first four-bagger would be an inside-the-park job, but he actually muscled it over the fence.

Revere had held the post-integration (1947) record for going homerless until Tuesday. That record now reverts to Tim Johnson, who, as I recall, was the Brewers shortstop until manager Del Crandall decided an 18-year-old could do the job better. (He was right; that 18-year-old was Robin Yount.)

There have been players who took longer than Revere to homer, but like him, they did eventually get a dinger. The longest career-opening homerless streak since 1947: Greg Gross, who was, like Revere, a left-handed hitting outfielder who was very good at making contact but very poor at hitting the ball a long way. Gross had a 17-year career in the 1970s and '80s, mostly as a platoon outfielder/pinch hitter. It took him 1,888 plate appearances between 1973-1977 to homer.

Gross did wind up with seven career homers; a goodly part of his long drought might be attributed to opening his career with the Astros. The Astrodome was never a good park for power, and guys like Gross were bound to see their best drives swallowed up.

Revere, on the other hand, has a bandbox for a home park now. He was bound to get one sooner or later.

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