Ever since the Giants opened their gorgeous home in 2000, they’ve been counting balls that reach McCovey Cove on the fly Splash Hits. I think the Giants may have believed, before the park opened, that a great many balls would land in the water. They would be wrong. Well, except for when it came to Barry Bonds.
Bonds hit 23 of the first 25 Giants Splash Hits. He also once had a 21-month 12-home run streak on the Giants’ Splash Hit tracker (August 2001-April ’03). He was good. Actually, he was something much more than great.
Of the 58 Splash Hits since the park opened, Bonds owns 35 of them. That’s pretty remarkable because he hasn’t played since 2007. His final Splash Hit was an absolute missile, a ball that was hit harder than seems scientifically possible. It came in August 2007, and there have only been 13 hit into the drink since.
Here’s the leaderboard:
1. Barry Bonds (35)
2. Pablo Sandoval (6)
T3. Felipe Crespo (2)
T3. Andres Torres (2)
T3. Aubrey Huff (2)
T3. Michael Tucker (2)
T3. Ryan Klesko (2)
There’s one caveat to that, though. Klesko actually has three splash hits, but one of them came when he took Ryan Jensen deep in 2003 as a Padre. Because of that, it doesn’t exactly count. That said, I’m happy to use it as a tie breaker and make Ryan Klesko third all time in Splash Hits. It also makes Mr. Klesko the only man to hit a Slash Hit both for the Giants and against the Giants.
The other thing that is awesome about the Giants’ leaderboard is Crespo’s presence. Crespo had just 10 career home runs, which makes the fact that he’s tied for third all time simply awesome. No one ever said it didn’t help to be lucky, though I don’t imagine this honor’s extracting any real utility for him. Still, it’s sort of a cool thing.
And well, since I mentioned Klesko’s home run as an opponent, I should also mention Carlos Delgado and Adam LaRoche, each of which hit the ball into China Basin on the fly three times. I guess the three of them deserve to be in a three-way tie for third. LaRoche has done so twice against two-time Cy Young award winner and San Francisco darling Tim Lincecum.
As far as Giants getting torched for Splashdowns, Tim Lincecum has given up more than any other Giants pitcher (4). This sort of makes sense to me–when he gives up taters, they tend to be extremely well struck. Maybe that’s the hitters’ way of telling him they don’t appreciate all the times they’ve flailed at his devastating changeup. It also makes sense that it’d be a right-handed pitcher as opposed to a lefty.
As for the visitors, Rodrigo Lopez, John Thomson & Livan Hernandez are in elite company: These three are the only visitors to have given up more than one Splash Hit to Giants (each has given up two). Yup, totally makes sense.
Unsurprisingly, no right-handed hitter has ever reached the cove on the fly. I’ll bet Mike Piazza could have done it. Feel free to write which righty-handed hitter (past or present) you think could have reached McCovey Cove. Again, Piazza is my guy for that one.
Here’s some video of a few memorable ones (note that video wasn’t available until 2004).
The Duane Kuiper crew (just one each):
Last by certainly not least…