Monday, September 26, 2011

Back to Back Like You've Never Seen

You probably saw the highlight of Texas Ranger Craig Gentry's inside the park homerun on Friday against Seattle. It just happened to be Gentry's first career homer. As a guy with little pop, but lots of speed, that's not overly surprising.

You may not have seen Ranger's third baseman Esteban German in his bid for an inside the park homer on Sunday. I was listening on the radio at the time and it sounded as if he repeated Gentry's feat from Friday, but apparently Mariner's centerfielder Trayvon Robinson should have caught the ball and was charged with an error.

This prompted the Ranger's radio crew of Steve Busby and Eric Nadel to talk about notable inside the park homeruns in Ranger's history. Busby noted that he once worked the booth with former Ranger Jim Sundberg who had an inside the park homerun that was clocked at 28 seconds. I'm wondering if all three outfielders collided and were knocked unconscious on that one.

Even more notable were the inside the park homers hit by Toby Harrah and Bump Wills. What makes these historic, is that they were the only back-to-back inside the park homeruns in MLB history.

On August 27, 1977, the Rangers were playing the New York Yankees. It was the top of the 7th and the Rangers were winning 4-2. Ken Clay was on the mound for the Yanks.

Toby Harrah stepped in with two men on and one out. Unfortunately, I can't tell you where he hit the ball or what happened to the Yankee outfielding corps of Roy White, Mickey Rivers and Lou Piniella. I can tell you he cleared the bases without an error.

On the very next pitch, Bump Wills followed Harrah with an inside the park homerun of his own. It was his second homer of the day and helped the Rangers go on to an 8-2 victory.

I've never seen an inside the park homerun, so I can only imagine how exciting the play is in person. I know it was fun watching Gentry race around the bases on Friday. I'll bet it was fun watching Harrah and Wills too.

You know, except for the Yankee's fans at the game. And Ken Clay.


  1. that is a great story about Sundberg. 28 seconds is a lifetime when the ball is in play... I can't imagine!

  2. 1977 was a year in which I was aware of almost every Yankee game played. It was the only team we could get on radio all the time. I remember those back-to-back insider-the-parkers.

    I was delighted.

  3. That's awesome, I never heard about that before!

    I have been lucky enough to witness an inside-the-parker, and a couple weeks ago thanks to Ryan Braun I got to personally witness the even more rare feat of a guy losing an inside-the-park home run by tripping on his own feet between third and home. :)