Publish date:

You Will Definitely Believe Who Hit the First Walk-Off Home Run for the White Sox Against the Yankees

In Friday’s Hot Clicks: the funny coincidence about Tim Anderson’s home run and more from the ‘Field of Dreams’ game.

Just like Shoeless Joe

MLB could not have scripted a better night for its Field of Dreams showcase. The field was immaculate, the sunset was beautiful and the game was thrilling.

Even the movie’s many detractors have to agree that the middle of a corn field is a special place for a baseball game. Watching home runs disappear into the stalks never got old, even though there were eight of them. The last was by Tim Anderson, an opposite-field shot on the first pitch he saw from Zack Britton that won the game for Chicago and set off an enormous fireworks display.

The homer was, according to former ESPN statistician Doug Kern, the 15th walk-off in White Sox history against the Yankees. Who had the first? Shoeless Joe Jackson, the title character of the book that inspired Field of Dreams.

That’s a fun coincidence (as is the fact that the final score was 9–8, or 8–9, as in 1989, the year Field of Dreams came out). The movie is a celebration of baseball’s timeless nature, and the random connection between Anderson’s walk-off a few hundred yards from where Ray Liotta played Jackson and the real Jackson’s similar home run more than a hundred years ago is a reminder of the game’s long history.

But there’s something extra special about Anderson being the guy to hit the homer. Throughout the early innings of the game, Fox analyst John Smoltz kept talking about how White Sox starter Lance Lynn looked like one of the players who might have walked through the corn in the movie. And while his observation is not entirely superficial—Lynn has the slightly doughy body type we associate with players from that era and throws almost exclusively fastballs—the same could not be said of Anderson. He’s Black. All the players who appeared on the magic baseball field in the movie were white, even the ones who weren’t Jackson’s Black Sox teammates. (They couldn’t have Satchel Paige or Josh Gibson walk through the corn, too?) Beyond that, though, Anderson plays with a joy and exuberance that would have shocked the Black Sox. Everything about his home run, from the pose he struck immediately after making contact to the way he signaled “It’s over” with his hands all the way around the bases, was a beautiful contrast with the game that Field of Dreams romanticized. 

SI Recommends

The best of SI

Why the new-look Bulls could be contenders in the East. ... As the Premier League season starts, the title race already looks to be down to two teams. ... Alperen Şengün’s play in the summer league is making him look like a great pick already for the Rockets

Around the sports world

A protein bar company will sponsor the walk-ons on the BYU football team, covering their tuition costs. ... Urban Meyer says Trevor Lawrence and Gardner Minshew are competing for the Jaguars’ quarterback job. ... Kyle Korver will be an assistant coach with the Nets, the team that once traded him for a copy machine. ... Usain Bolt says he’s up for a 70-meter race against Tyreek Hill and he’ll wager one of his Olympic gold medals if Hill puts up his Super Bowl ring

This angle of the White Sox’ celebration at the plate is stunning

Here’s the full Kevin Costner intro for the Field of Dreams game

Bryan Powers of the Des Moines Register captured the best photo of the entrance

Bryan Hoch did finally make it to Iowa after about 19 hours on the road

It’s cool to see how excited the players were from the moment they arrived

The offensive lineman didn’t know what hit him

Not sports

The American Pickers guys are feuding online after one them got dumped from the show. ... The Barneys flagship store on Seventh Avenue, once the peak of elegant department stores, will be a Spirit Halloween this fall. ... The famous 10-foot-wide “Skinny House” in Boston is for sale for $1.2 million. ... A man in Saskatchewan was charged after landing a helicopter at an ice cream shop

A good song

Email dan.gartland@si.com with any feedback or follow me on Twitter for approximately one half-decent baseball joke per week. Bookmark this page to see previous editions of Hot Clicks and find the newest edition every day. By popular request I’ve made a Spotify playlist of the music featured here. Visit our Extra Mustard page throughout each day for more offbeat sports stories.