April 4, 2018

"Foul Home Runs" From 100 Years Ago

Babe Ruth, the big, husky left-hander of the Boston Red Sox ... is the heaviest hitter the game has known. ...

The fans in every park in the league except two take pride in pointing out to a stranger the direction of some hefty wallop of the young giant from Boston. In Cleveland they point to a shattered window in the top story of a building across the street from the park that a ball from Ruth's bat broke after clearing a fence 45 feet high! They show you the very spot far out in the bleachers in Detroit where the ball landed, and you wonder if you are being told the truth.

In St. Louis Ruth did not bother about driving the ball into the right field bleachers, but just banged it clear over them into the next block. The big fellow always picks out the upper tier in the Polo Grounds stands to plant the ball, and he hit it out of the Washington ballpark, a remarkable wallop. ...

In Boston, where the outfield fences are far distant, he hit a sacrifice fly so far that a runner scored from second base after the catch.

He has hit more foul home runs than any player in the game, too.
Robert E. Ripley, Boston Globe, July 9, 1918


allan said...

Speaking of Babe Ruth: Shohei Ohtani hit his first career home run in his first at bat at Angel Stadium. Ohtani is the first player to win as a starting pitcher, then start and homer as a non-pitcher in his next game since Babe Ruth in 1921.

FenFan said...

Oh, man, I hope OB and Remy don't see this post or else they'll add "foul home runs" to their rotation.

The statement about a sac fly that scored a runner from second makes me curious. I wonder if that can be proven through a BBRef search... it would probably be difficult since I don't think they have PBP for games in 1918.

allan said...

I have a lot of PBP from my 1918 research. Not always complete games, but whatever was in the newspaper stories (which actually was often most of the game). I should check my old files since this most likely happened during a 1918 at-bat*.

(*: I mean "plate appearance" since a sacrifice fly would not be an "at-bat"!)

allan said...

Oh, man, I hope OB and Remy don't see this post or else they'll add "foul home runs" to their rotation.

That would be okay with me - as long as they also saw all the NESN posts.

allan said...

Well, that was easy!

Friday, April 19, 1918
Yankees and Red Sox, Doubleheader at Fenway Park

Game 1: Red Sox win 2-1. (Time of game reported as 2:04 and 2:12 by two different newspapers.)

Game 2: Red Sox win 9-5 - and have won their first six games of the season. Ruth pitches a complete game. Dave O'Brien's great-grandfather is amazed that the winning Red Sox have only 8 hits, but the losing Yankees have 13. My notes on the Red Sox fifth and sixth innings:

Sox 5th: "Agnew slashes a double to rcf (Gilhooley misses a circus catch). Ruth hits a high pop up to Pratt that he dropped (hit so high he got dizzy; one NY writer said it came down with snow on it). Hooper beats out a bunt to load bases. Pratt boots Shean's easy grounder and then throws wild to 2nd and two runs score (Agnew and Ruth). Hooper and Shean score on Strunk's liner through Pratt's legs. Strunk moves to 2nd on throw to home and he scores on infield outs by Hoblitzell and McInnis. Boston 6-1."

Sox 6th: "The throw on Scott's grounder is dropped at first by Pipp, Agnew sacrifices, and Ruth's long sac fly to right scores a run. Gilhooley made a one-handed catch at the right field bleacher wall and Scott scored from second. The wind held it up. In 1915, when Gilhooley played for Richmond against Buffalo, he scored from second on a fly to deep right center."

So assuming that it did not happen twice in the first half of 1918, that's our game.

FenFan said...

Wow, that's amazing! Either the outfielder had a weak arm or Gilhooley had great speed. It very well could have been a combination of both.

Nice that you have that research at your disposal - you and L both have great talent in this area!

Straddling the Border said...

Amazing that Scott was fast enough to score from second, and more amazing that Allan so quickly produced that clear and compelling summary. Been loving Joy of Sox for many years!

allan said...

more amazing that Allan so quickly produced that clear and compelling summary. Been loving Joy of Sox for many years!

Thanks so much! I have day-by-day 1918 info in WordPerfect (!) documents by month and I opened up April and searched "scored from second". Found the game right away. The inning summaries were not new, written (probably) in 1996-97.

laura k said...

Oh my, I come late to comments and discover I was complimented. Thank you FenFan!