It’s the top of the ninth. The bases are juiced with two outs and youâre down by one. The crowdâs making it no surprise whoâs up to bat next. Everyone from the grounds crew to Grandma Ellen are on there feet chanting at the decibel level nothing short of a Boeing 747 at takeoff. As number 25 steps out of the on deck circle and moves closer and closer to home plate, the 40,800 fans at AT&T Park start chanting,”BARRRRRYYY, BARRRRRRY, BARRRRRRY”.
Barry Bonds steps to the plate and immediately thousands of cameras go off at the same time. The flashes are so blinding that the pitcher looses consciousness for a split second and thinks to himself “this it is. I’m dead, and I’m following the light to God.” Then suddenly, like a kick to the head, he realizes where he is and what he has to do. As the pitcher steps back onto the mound, awaiting the sign from the catcher, there’s only one thing going through his head. Normally he’d be thinking about “Which lucky dancer at the Eager Beaver he’ll bring back to his five star, luxurious hotel suit later that night” but tonight it’s “Barry Bonds is sitting on 755 homeruns and there’s no way in hell I’m going to remembered as the next Al Downingâ? (for those of you living on Mars, Al Downing is the pitcher who gave up Hank Aarons 715 homerun to surpass Babe Ruth).
The catcher then gives the sign to the pitcher. The pitcher takes a deep breath and starts his wind up. As the pitcher releases the ball the loud screams and chants go deaf in his head and everything slows down to the speed of a fight scene in the âMatrix.â? As Barry takes a compact swing, he makes contact with the ball. The loud “POP!” sends everything back to normal speed. As the pitcher gazes at the ball, it flies into right field sky like a lightning rod. The ball travels further and further until it takes a drink in the San Francisco Bay. The pitcher puts his head down and realized his worst nightmare just came true. He just gave up Barry Bonds’ 756th Homerun.
With every at bat Barry Bonds inches closer to Hank Aarons career homerun record. By letting up the historic #756 our pitcher will give some lucky kayaker a $1 million baseball that he can sell on Ebay to a rich comic collector from Dallas, TX. Although this is a tough situation I got to thinking, what happened to other pitchers who gave up historic homeruns. Did they let that moment define them, or did they define there own moment? I did my homework and came up with the 21 biggest homeruns given up by pitchers in MLB history. By compairing the pitchers career ERA’s after giving up the historic homerun to the average MLB ERA in 2006 youâll find that the results are pretty impressive. 11 out of the 21 pitchers not only did better then the league average ERA, but include a Cy Young winner, an MVP winner, Hall of Famers, and a couple 20+ game winners. Listed below are the pitchers who had successful careers after giving up a historic homerun.
The average ERA in the MLB in 2006 was 4.52(The league leader, Johan Santana posted a 2.77 ERA)
9/30/1927 – Tom Zachary gave up Babe Ruth’s 60th Homerun.
- Zachary played six seasons after the historic homerun and had an ERA under 3.60 in all six seasons.
7/8/1941 – Claude Passeau gave up Ted Williams home run to win the ’41 All-Star Game.
- Passeau played six seaons after the homerun, had an ERA under 3.15 five times and had over 90 complete games in the years following.
10/1/1950 – Don Newcombe gave up Dick Sisler’s 10th-inning HR to win the pennant.
- Newcombe played eight seasons after the homerun and won 20 or more games three times (27 in 1956).
7/12/1955 – Frank Sullivan ace up Stan Musial’s 12th-inning HR to win the All-Star Game. (FYI Frank Sullivan is not related to CO-ED’s own Chris Sullivan, I looked into it).
- Sullivan played nine seasons after the homerun.
10/13/1960 – Ralph Terry gave up Bill Mazeroski’s World Series winning homerun.
- Terry played seven seasons after the homerun, have 49 complete games in that tie and won 23 gaems in 1962.
7/20/1976 Dick Drago gave up Hank Aaron’s 755th career homerun.
- Drago played 5 seasons after the homerun and had an ERA inder 3.50 in those five seasons.
10/14/1976 – Mark Littell gave up Chris Chambliss’ Homerun to win the ALCS.
- Littell played seven seasons after the homerun and had an ERA under 3.80 in six of the seven seasons.
10/15/1988 – Dennis Eckersely gave up Kirk Gibson’s Game 1 winning Homerun in the World Series.
- Eckersely played 10 seasons after the homerun, tallied 329 saves and won the CY Young and MVP in 1992.
10/16/2003 – Tim Wakefeild gave up Aaron Boone’s HR win to win the ALCS
- Four years later he is still in the MLB and is one of a handful of pitchers over 40 years old still in the league.
To sum it up, the pitcher who lets up Bonds’ #756 should recoginze his place in basbeall history. The bomb will be replayed on ESPN dozens of times over the next few years but in time A-Rod will break the record and statistically our picther will have a long and above average career.