Pitchers who gave up home runs


While there’s great exultation for a hitter, his team, and his fans when he throws a scoring home run, there’s also the flip side: the resignation of knowing you’ll be a footnote. unfortunate in baseball history if you are the pitcher who served the memorable shot.

With Yankees slugger Aaron Judge on the verge of setting a new American League record for home runs in a single season, as well as future Hall of Famer Albert Pujols approaching the club’s 700 home runs, here’s a look at some pitchers who have dropped the frame record or other notable home runs in MLB history:

Barry Bonds’ 756th career home run – Mike Bacsik on August 7, 2007

Bacsik’s name has been immortalized, though it’s a footnote the southpaw would rather not see in the record books, thanks to Bonds. In five MLB seasons, Bacsik posted a 5.46 ERA in 51 appearances (31 starts) for Cleveland, the Mets, Rangers and Nationals. It was on one of his last starts in which he surrendered home run No. 756 of his career to Bonds at AT&T (now Oracle) Park, a solo shot in the fifth inning that broke the record of all time by Hank Aaron.

“He’s the greatest of all time,” Bacsik told reporters afterward. “Giving in to Barry Bonds is nothing to be ashamed of.”

Ironically, Bacsik’s father, Mike Sr., threw Aaron as Aaron sat on 755 home runs in 1976. He didn’t give up the record home run, though he surely could never have imagined his son would pitch to Bonds as the latter sought his 756th career home run 31 years later.

Barry Bonds’ 71st home run in 2001 – Chan Ho Park on October 5, 2001

It was only fitting that Bonds would break Mark McGwire’s record of 70 homers in a season, set three years earlier, against the Giants’ rival Dodgers. Park, the first South Korean-born player in MLB history, had a solid 3.88 career ERA in the 2001 campaign and was already used to being a historic footnote – he is the only pitcher in AL/NL history to give up two Grand Slams to the same player in the same inning. The Cardinals’ Fernando Tatis Sr. hit a pair of slams against Park in the third inning at Dodger Stadium on April 23, 1999.

Just over two years later, Park was again in the shadow of history, giving Bonds 71st homer in the first inning at Pacific Bell (now Oracle) Park. Bonds wasn’t done, crushing Park’s No. 72 in the third. Bonds would finish with 73 homers in the greatest single-season slugging display in AL/NL history.

Park, meanwhile, will pitch nine more major league seasons following his 2001 All-Star campaign. Although he spent nine of his 17 seasons with the Dodgers, he also pitched for the Rangers, Padres, Mets, Pirates, Phillies and Yankees.

Mark McGwire’s 62nd home run of 1998 — Steve Trachsel September 8, 1998

Roger Maris’ mark of 61 homers in 1961 was a record for 37 years until a thrilling chase took place between McGwire and the Cubs’ Sammy Sosa in 1998. McGwire hit the magic number of 62 first , and the victim was Trachsel, a Cubs right-hander in the sixth season of a 16-year big league career.

Trachsel finished fourth in voting for the NL Rookie of the Year award in 1994 and was an All-Star in 1996 with the Cubs. He then made spells in Tampa Bay, Toronto and Baltimore before spending six seasons with the Mets, returning to the Cubs in 2007 and finishing with the Orioles in 2008.

McGwire’s famous homer was a low-line drive that barely cleared the wall along the left-field line. Trachsel took note of that afterwards, along with a prescient prediction of McGwire’s season total when all was said and done.

“He will probably break the record again [on Sept. 9]”, Trachsel told reporters. “Once he hits numbers 63, 67 and 70, those guys will be talked about more than me. Especially if he gets to 70. They’ll remember the one who gives up the last.”

Trachsel got the number right — McGwire finished with 70 homers. But as for his hope that he would be forgotten as the man who gave up number 62, it didn’t pan out so well.

715th home run by Hank Aaron – Al Downing on April 8, 1974

As he opened the 1974 campaign, “Hammerin’ Hank” sat on 713 career homers, one less than Babe Ruth’s hallowed record.

It was Jack Billingham of the Reds who returned Aaron’s 714th home run in Cincinnati on April 4. Four days later, at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium, Aaron hit one of the most famous home runs in baseball history.

The man on the mound was Dodgers left-hander Al Downing, who had a 17-year MLB career spent mostly with the Dodgers and Yankees. He was the first African-American starting pitcher in Yankees history in 1961, led the AL with 217 strikeouts in 1964, and was an All-Star in 1967 for New York. He then led the NL with five shutouts for the Dodgers in 1971.

But Downing is best remembered for ceding No. 715 to Aaron.

“Mr. Aaron handled those times with such dignity and grace,” Downing told The New York Times after Aaron’s death in 2021. “It couldn’t have happened to a kinder man, considering of everything he had to go through to get there. Milestone.”

Aaron endured racism and even death threats as he approached Ruth’s mark, but he not only broke one of the most revered records in all of sport, he did it with “dignity and grace”, as Downing said. And Aaron was as humble as anyone in the game.

“At the meeting we had in ’84, we were sitting at the lunch table and there was a group of writers there, and they were asking us questions,” Downing said. “A writer…says, ‘Hey, Al, Henry really wore you out, didn’t he? So Hank said, “Wait a minute. No, no, no. Al was a damn good pitcher. He wasn’t a guy you were taking lightly when you went up there. You knew he was going to fight. He was a great opponent.'”

Willie Mays hits home run No. 600 — Mike Corkins September 22, 1969

Mays, who finished his storied 23-year career with 660 home runs, pitched No. 600 against the Padres in San Diego. With his two-run shot on Corkins in the seventh inning, Mays became the first player in NL history to hit the 600 home run milestone.

Corkins, who was only on his fourth career start when he dropped Mays’ 600th home run, had a six-year MLB career entirely spent with the Padres from 1969 to 1974. His best campaign was occurred in 1972, when the right-hander posted a 3.54 ERA in 140 innings for San Diego. Corkins might hit a bit, too — he’s hit five career homers, including a grand slam against the Reds in Cincinnati on Sept. 4, 1970.

Roger Maris’ 61st homer in 1961 – Tracy Stallard on October 1, 1961

After a season-long pressure cooker as he chased another hallowed record, Babe Ruth’s single-season mark of 60 homers in 1927, Maris hit No. 61 against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium. He drove a Stallard pitch to the right field wall to cement his name in the game’s long and storied history. It was a solo shot in the fourth inning of what would be Maris’ second-to-last plate appearance. of the season.

“There’s nothing wrong with that,” Stallard said in an interview 50 years later. “I don’t want to say it’s great, but there’s nothing wrong with that. … He was a good hitter. He had a good year. … You have to be a good hitter to hit so many at home short.”

Stallard pitched for the Red Sox from 1960 to 1962, only giving up the Maris homer in a 1-0 loss on the final day of the 1961 regular season. The right-hander then pitched for the Mets in 1963 and 1964, and the Cardinals from 1965 to 1966. He had a career ERA of 4.17, and at plate he is in the record books as the only hitter with more than 200 career plate appearances (258) and no steps.

Babe Ruth’s 700th career home run – Tommy Bridges on July 13, 1934

Ruth redefined what it meant to be a hitter. He introduced slugging to the game early in the live ball era and changed the sport more than any other player in baseball history. So when he started setting home run records in his mid-twenties, it was clear he was going to break his own records for a long time.

Ruth ushered in the club’s 700 home run against the Tigers in Detroit, smashing a pitch from Bridges on the right-field wall at Navin Field.

The 1934 season was the first in which Bridges was selected as an All-Star, and the right-hander was named to five other All-Star teams during a distinguished 16-year Major League career. He had a career ERA of 3.57 over 2,826 1/3 innings, all for the Tigers.

Bridges was one of the best starting pitchers of the 1930s, leading the league in strikeouts twice (1935-36) and winning once (23 in 1936). He also won two World Series rings with Detroit, earning a pair of comprehensive wins against the Cubs in 1935 and making an appearance in the 1945 Fall Classic, again against Chicago.

Babe Ruth’s 60th home run in 1927 – Tom Zachary on September 30, 1927

No one else in baseball history had hit 50 home runs in a single season, let alone 60, by the time Ruth hit that huge number on the penultimate day of the 1927 regular season against the Washington Senators. The Bambino hit a two-run homer to right field at Yankee Stadium against Zachary in the eighth inning for a milestone he thought would never be hit.

“Sixty! Count them, 60!” Ruth reportedly said. “Let’s see another (player) match that!”

Ruth was right for 34 years. From there, five other sluggers hit the mark – Maris, McGwire, Sosa, Bonds and, most recently, Judge.

Ruth’s 60th was the sixth and final home run Zachary gave up in 1927, and three of them came off Ruth’s bat. The southpaw had a strong MLB career that spanned 19 seasons, during which he posted a 3.73 ERA. He appeared in three World Series, helping the Senators defeat the New York Giants with a 2.04 ERA in 17 2/3 innings in 1924, and winning Game 3 of the 28 series against the Cardinals as teammate of Ruth on the Yankees.


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