On this day in 2000, Barry Bonds became the first player to hit a home run into McCovey Cove. Bonds took Rich Rodriguez of the New York Mets deep on an absolute bomb, setting off the first boat chase for a home run ball in history. The kayakers in the cove waiting for a ball to land have since become one of the most iconic features of the truly beautiful AT&T Park. I was distraught that the Giants were not in town a few years ago when I travelled to the Bay Area, but I did make it through a game at the O.co Mausoleum without encountering any raw sewage.
For the number of kayakers who are willing to float around outside the stadium during every game, you would think a lot more homers have reached the water, but only 68 balls have landed in the cove on a fly since the stadium opened over 15 years ago. It takes quite a blast to reach the water on a fly, as the bay sits over fifty feet beyond the fence in right field. Hardball Times took a pretty in-depth look at what it takes to reach the water. As you might expect, the further away a home run gets from directly down the line, the harder it becomes to reach the water.
Bonds hit the first nine before Felipe Crespo got on the board over a year later. The San Francisco Giants keep a running tally on splash homers, and as you might expect, Bonds dominates, with 35. No one else has even reached double digits — Pablo Sandoval had seven before shifting his girth to Boston. Brandon Belt is the next best candidate to reach ten McCovey Cove bombs, with three for his career. Ryan Klesko is the only player to splash down as a Giant and as an opposing player. Surprisingly, no one reached the water when the Giants hosted the 2007 All-Star game and Home Run Derby.
Here’s a compilation of nearly every splash home run hit by the Giants over the past 15 years. Enjoy!