StaTuesday: History of Twins’ inside-the-park home runs
There have been 51 inside-the-park home runs in Minnesota Twins history, but none quite like the one Eduardo Nunez hit against Tampa Bay on June 2.
Unlike the previous 50, Nunez was the first to leadoff a game for the Twins with an inside-the-parker.
Here is the complete list of inside-the-park home runs hit by Twins with interesting facts on a few of them below.
|Harmon Killebrew||White Sox||7/4/61||Cal McLish|
|Zolio Versailles||Indians||4/27/62||Dick Donovan|
|Jimmie Hall||Red Sox||9/22/63||Bob Heffner|
|Vic Power||Yankees||9/28/63||Whitey Ford|
|Tony Oliva||Yankees||7/4/64||Jim Bouton|
|Rich Rollins||Red Sox||8/4/64||Bill Monboquette|
|Tony Oliva||Red Sox||9/4/64||Dave Gray|
|Zolio Versailles||Yankees||4/22/65||Pedro Ramos|
|Jimmie Hall||Senators||6/4/65||Howie Koplitz|
|Rich Rollins||Yankees||6/18/65||Bill Stafford|
|Tony Oliva||Indians||6/4/66||Tom Kelley|
|Ted Uhlander||Senators||5/8/67||Phil Ortega|
|Rod Carew||Orioles||5/13/69||Mike Cuellar|
|Jim Nettles||Yankees||7/22/71||Fritz Peterson|
|Eric Soderholm||White Sox||10/4/72||Ken Frailing|
|Danny Thompson||Rangers||6/24/74||David Clyde|
|Dan Ford||A’s||6/17/75||Vida Blue|
|Steve Brye||White Sox||9/7/75||Claude Osteen|
|Ken Landreaux||Blue Jays||5/8/79||Balor Moore|
|John Castino||Rangers||5/15/79||Sparky Lyle|
|Rick Sofield||Mariners||7/11/80||Glenn Abbott|
|Mike Cubbage||Blue Jays||8/20/80||Jackson Todd|
|Tom Brunansky||Yankees||5/28/82||Ron Guidry|
|Tom Brunansky||Brewers||7/19/82||Jerry Augustine|
|Gary Ward||Royals||9/10/82||Larry Gura|
|Kent Hrbek||Blue Jays||9/30/82||Luis Leal|
|Tom Brunansky||Royals||9/25/83||Keith Creel|
|Randy Bush||White Sox||6/23/84||Tom Seaver|
|Tim Teufel||White Sox||6/24/84||Rich Dotson|
|Kent Hrbek||Royals||9/11/84||Charlie Liebrandt|
|Dave Engle||Indians||7/3/85||Neal Heaton|
|Ron Washington||Orioles||7/3/86||Mike Boddicker|
|Greg Gagne||White Sox||10/4/86||Floyd Bannister|
|Greg Gagne||White Sox||10/4/86||Floyd Bannister|
|Gary Gaetti||Tigers||5/31/87||Jeff Robinson|
|Greg Gagne||Rangers||9/24/87||Charlie Hough|
|Steve Lombardozzi||Brewers||7/8/88||Bill Wegman|
|Steve Lombardozzi||A’s||9/28/88||Todd Burns|
|Gene Larkin||Red Sox||5/26/90||Mike Boddicker|
|Mike Pagliarulo||Tigers||5/19/91||Dan Petry|
|Shane Mack||Yankees||5/17/94||Jimmy Key|
|Rich Becker||Rangers||4/26/97||Bobby Witt|
|Pat Meares||A’s||5/25/97||Ariel Prieto|
|Roberto Kelly||Yankees||8/8/97||Dwight Gooden|
|Todd Walker||Devil Rays||9/5/99||Ryan Rupe|
|David Ortiz||Red Sox||7/5/00||Rich Garces|
|Chad Moeller||Yankees||7/29/00||Ramiro Mendoza|
|Torii Hunter||A’s||7/26/01||Mark Guthrie|
|Joe Mauer||Angels||7/21/07||Scot Shields|
|Kurt Suzuki||Padres||5/20/14||Nick Vincent|
|Eduardo Nunez||Rays||6/2/16||Matt Moore|
— Surprisingly, the first inside-the-park home run in Minnesota history was hit by Harmon Killebrew, who wasn’t exactly known for his speed. According to the Chicago Tribune, "Killebrew lined his homer off the center field fence, making it all the way only because (Jim) Landis was stunned momentarily."
— Two players had their first career home run with an inside-the-park job. One was 1979 co-Rookie of the Year John Castino, The other, Chad Moeller — a catcher. In that game, the Twins entered the eighth inning against the Yankees down 2-0 but tied it up with Moeller at the plate against Ramiro Mendoza. According to a wire service story, "Moeller’s sinking liner into left field got past a diving Ryan Thompson and rolled all the way to the wall."
— Eric Soderholm’s homer came on the final day of the 1972 season.
— The Metrodome and its very bouncy turf caused a propensity of inside-the-park home runs. Tom Brunansky had the first one hit at the stadium, just a couple of months into the first season Minnesota played there, when the Yankees’ Lou Piniella lost the ball in the lights. "It’s hard to see the ball out there in the outfield," Piniella’s outfield mate Oscar Gamble said after the game. "Later in the game, my eyes got adjusted to the lights." Piniella never forgot that play. In 1995, after David McCarthy hit a triple in the dome that Seattle’s Jay Buhner misplayed, Mariners manager Lou Piniella recalled that Brunansky HR. "Historically weird things happen in this park," Piniella said 13 years after the inside-the-park homer. "I played a routine fly ball into an inside-the-park home run here once."
— Brunansky not only had the first inside-the-park home run in Metrodome history, he also owns the only inside-the-park grand slam, which he hit two-and-a-half months later. The reason Brunansky had the bases full were thanks to two errors by Milwaukee’s third baseman — current Twins manager Paul Molitor.
— In 1984, Tim Teufel hit the only walk-off — or should that be run-off? — inside-the-park home run in Twins history. Just one day earlier, Randy Bush had an inside-the-parker as well.
— Todd Walker got his inside-the-park home run when outfielder Randy Winn crashed into the wall and had the ball pop out of his glove (Winn would have to be helped off the field). When asked after the game how he felt while rounding third base, Walker said "I felt like someone punched me right in the stomach."
— Kent Hrbek hit not one but two inside-the-park home runs. After hitting his second and last one in 1984, he told the Associated Press it was his biggest thrill. Teammate Mickey Hatcher backed up that statement. "When he dove into home plate I could see him yelling, ‘Yeah,’ before he hit the plate," he said. Tom Brunansky, who followed Hrbek with an old-fashioned homer over the fence, enjoyed Hrbek’s effort — and aftermath. "On my home run all I has to do was jog. The fans like to see Herbie run," Brunansky said. "To watch Herbie pass out in the bat room was kind of fun, too."
— Greg Gagne is the lone Twins player to his two inside-the-park home runs in one game, thanks to a rough day by Chicago White Sox center fielder Daryl Boston. On the first, Boston never picked up the ball and it bounced behind him. On the second, Boston charged on a liner only to have it bound over his head. Gagne nearly had a third as Boston had another bounce past him, but the Twins shortstop had to "settle" for a triple. Gagne was the first to hit two inside-the-park home runs in the same game since the White Sox’s Dick Allen did it against Minnesota in 1972. No one has done it since.
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