Seeing Is Believing One eye-popping feat has followed another as home run records of monumental and minuscule proportions fell or were on the brink of obliteration--and there's still half a season to go

July 16, 2000

With the multitude of home runs being hit in 2000, it stands to
reason that the season would produce numerous long-ball records
and oddities. Here's a countdown of our 10 favorites from the
first half.

10. There were 1,069 home runs hit in May, more than in any other
month in major league history. The 57 homers hit on April 7 were
the most ever slugged on one day.

9. Pirates outfielder John Vander Wal entered the season with no
career grand slams in 1,318 at bats. He hit two in his first 137
at bats this year.

8. On June 20 in Toronto, the Tigers hit eight dingers against
the Blue Jays, breaking their single-game team record by one.

7. Before beating the Devils Rays on April 19 with a ninth-inning
solo shot, the Orioles' Cal Ripken Jr. hadn't hit a game-ending
home run since July 13, 1984--a span of 2,367 games and 9,168 at
bats. His next streak without a walk-off homer was much shorter:
24 games and 91 at bats later, on May 23, against the Mariners.

6. On May 21, six players hit grand slam homers--the most slams on
one day in baseball history.

5. The Red Sox pitching staff set a team record by giving up at
least one home run in 15 consecutive games, from June 13 through
June 30. In that span 14 pitchers served up 36 gopher balls,
including six in two starts by ace Pedro Martinez.

4. Catcher Keith McDonald of the Cardinals became the second
player to hit home runs in his first two major league at bats,
when he went deep as a pinch hitter on July 4 and homered in his
next at bat two days later. Bob Nieman of the 1951 St. Louis
Browns is the only other player to have done it.

3. In the sixth inning of an April 9 game at Kansas City, Twins
Ron Coomer, Jacque Jones and Matt LeCroy hit consecutive home
runs. In the eighth Royals Carlos Beltran, Jermaine Dye and Mike
Sweeney hit consecutive dingers. It was the first time that big
league opponents had gone back-to-back-to-back on each other in
the same game.

2. On April 23 in Toronto, switch-hitting Yankees teammates
Bernie Williams and Jorge Posada became the only duo to each hit
home runs from both sides of the plate in the same game. They hit
their bombs lefthanded off Blue Jays starter Frank Castillo, and
then they connected from the right side off reliever Clayton
Andrews.

1. On April 21 in Tampa Bay, Mo Vaughn, Troy Glaus and Tim
Salmon of the Angels hit home runs in the fourth inning, and
then they all hit home runs in the ninth inning to become the
only three teammates to each hit home runs in the same two
innings of a game.

--David Sabino

THREE COLOR ILLUSTRATIONS: ILLUSTRATIONS BY FRED HARPER

Commonplace Clouts

Not long ago it was considered a treat to see a home run when
you attended a major league game. In 2000 it's rare if you don't
see one. Only about one of every 10 games played this season has
gone homerless. In 1992 the rate was more than one of every four
games.

Homerless
Year Games Games Pct.

1990 2,105 485 23.0
1991 2,104 496 23.6
1992 2,106 551 26.2
1993 2,269 443 19.5
1994 1,600 238 14.9
1995 2,017 324 16.1
1996 2,267 324 14.3
1997 2,266 353 15.6
1998 2,432 344 14.1
1999 2,428 314 12.9
2000 1,295 121 9.3

SOURCE: ELIAS SPORTS BUREAU

Bombs Away

Longtime Orioles manager Earl Weaver was averse to the idea of
manufacturing a run, preferring to wait for one of his players
to hit a three-run homer. That philosophy is more and more
prevalent in the majors today, as more than 40% of all runs
scored this season have come by way of the long ball.

Runs
Year Runs on HRs Pct.

1990 17,919 5,432 30.3
1991 18,127 5,655 31.2
1992 17,341 5,002 28.8
1993 20,864 6,704 32.1
1994 15,752 5,496 34.9
1995 19,554 6,857 35.1
1996 22,831 8,488 37.2
1997 21,604 7,639 35.4
1998 23,297 8,443 36.2
1999 24,691 9,512 38.5
2000 13,633 5,586 41.0

SOURCE: ELIAS SPORTS BUREAU

The New Breed

At the All-Star break the season home run records of 12
franchises were in danger of falling. Here are the players on
track to rewrite club history.

Projected
Team Record Holder, Year HRs Player on Pace HRs

Angels Reggie Jackson, '82 39 Garret Anderson 48
Astros Jeff Bagwell, '97 43 Bagwell, R. Hidalgo 43
Blue Jays George Bell, '87 47 Carlos Delgado 51
Devil Rays Jose Canseco, '99 34 Fred McGriff 34
Diamondbacks Jay Bell, '99 38 Steve Finley 46
Dodgers Duke Snider, '56 43 Gary Sheffield 51
Expos Vladimir Guerrero, '99 42 Guerrero 44
Giants Willie Mays, '65 52 Barry Bonds 53
Mets Todd Hundley, '96 41 Mike Piazza 45
Rangers Frank Howard, '69 48 Ivan Rodriguez 50
Reds George Foster, '77 52 Ken Griffey Jr. 52
Royals Steve Balboni, '85 36 Jermaine Dye 42

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)