Whether you want to call what Alcides Escobar of the Kansas City Royals did leading off the bottom of the first inning tonight an inside-the-park home run or an error on New York Mets centerfiedler Yoenis Cespedes, the facts remain unchanged — the official scorer ruled the play a hit and a home run. With that, Escobar delivered one of the rarest hits in baseball, an inside-the-park home run in the World Series.
After doing a little digging, here are all of the best World Series inside-the-park home run nuggets of trivia:
- There have been only ten inside-the-park homers in World Series history. Of the players who have hit them, Lou Gehrig is by far the best of the bunch. Five of Gehrig’s 493 career home runs were of the inside-the-park variety.
- The first player to hit an inside-the-park home run in the World Series was Jimmy Sebring of the Pittsburgh Pirates who were playing the Boston Americans in the 1903 Series. Sebring retired in 1909 with six career home runs in 1,411 at-bats.
- Only one other inside-the-parker in the World Series was hit by a lead-off man. That hit was delivered by Patsy Dougherty, also in 1903. Sebring hit his homer in Game 1, while Dougherty delivered in Game 2.
- There were also two inside-the-parkers hit in the 1916 World Series. Hy Myers knocked one for the Brooklyn Robins in Game 2, while Larry Gardner raced around the bases in Game 4 for the Boston Red Sox.
- Speaking of 1916, you may recognize the name of the pitcher who Myers hit his inside-the-parker against. That would be one Babe Ruth. The Babe allowed only one run in 14.0 innings in the 1916 Series, and was, until Matt Harvey gave Escobar’s hit up, the last pitcher to give up an inside-the-park home run in the first inning of a World Series game.
- Casey Stengel hit an inside-the-park home run in Game 1 of the 1923 World Series. Stengel would go on to become a legendary figure in baseball lore for his time spent managing the New York Yankees and Mets. Stengel’s team lost the Fall Classic in 1923, but he would go on to win seven titles with the Yankees.
- The last inside-the-park home run prior to tonight’s game came in 1929. Mule Haas scored in Game 4 for the Philadelphia Athletics. Mule, given name George William, was a career .292 hitter who walked 134 times more than he struck out over a 12-year career. He was a two-time World Series champion.
Prior to the World Series, you are able to bet on just about anything. One thing I could not find was the odds that the first hit of the Series would be an inside-the-park home run. If you found someone willing to take that bet, you are now a very wealthy individual. The 2015 World Series is off to a great start!