Friday, August 14, 2009

Gomes Goes Yard-Again and Again!!!!

Well, my good buddy Paul from the awesome Carl Crawford Cards blog wrote about this earlier tonight, but I am gonna continue the story, simply because I think Jonny Gomes is awesome. Jonny was drafted by the Devil Rays in the 18th round of the 2001 draft and by 2005 he earned a regular spot on the team. He hit 3 homers in one game as a rookie against the Royals in 2005, he went on to hit 21 long balls that year in 101 games, placing third in AL Rookie of the Year voting. He has the second longest home run in Tropicana Field history at 474 feet. He has hit the catwalk more times than anyone and he still holds the club record for most home runs by a right handed hitter, although Evan Longoria will be breaking that soon. He still holds team records in getting hit by a pitch. He was beaned three times in one game in 2005 against the Yankees. That’s a team record and it ties the AL record. He also holds the team record getting hit by a pitch 28 times in his tenure with Tampa Bay. He also shares (with Longo) the Rays mark for most total bases in a game with 12, courtesy of his 3 homer day against the Royals in ’05. He was a vocal clubhouse leader throughout the stretch run in 2008 with the Rays and despite being left off the playoff roster; he was always the first out of the dugout to congratulate his teammates after scoring. After the 2008 season, he was non-tendered by the Rays and out of work. The Cincinnati Reds were the only takers; they signed him to a minor league contract with a spring invite. Despite a strong showing in the spring, he was sent to AAA to open the year. He was finally called up on May 21st and has been on a tear ever since. Having spent much of his time with the Rays playing designated hitter, the Reds were concerned with his defense, but it has been solid, he has made just 1 error in 63 chances with 2 outfield assists and 1 double play. So far this year, he has hit .271 with 14 homers and 33 RBI in just 166 at bats and a .566 SLG %. Project those home runs per at bats over a 500 at bat year and you have a 42 homer year. Compare him to the guy that replaced him, Pat Burrell, who is batting .220 with 10 homers in 275 at bats. Plus Gomes is making millions less in salary this year. I think the Rays made a pretty choice there. That said, I am writing about Gomes performance last night when he homered in his first three at bats against the Washington Nationals. These weren’t barely over the wall dingers either. His longest measured out at 439 feet to left, he added a 385 footer to left and finished with a 410 foot blast to straight away center. He had the chance to hit number 4 when he came up against Mike MacDougal in his final at bat. MM promptly buzzed a fast ball up in his face. Gomes ended up striking out. MacDougal was pitching for the Royals in 2005 and had served up Gomes’ third homer that night, he wasn’t about to give up his fourth tonight. As it turns out, one homer would have been enough. Reds starter Bronson Arroyo threw a gem, needing only 103 pitches to defeat the Nats in a two-hit shutout, his second of the year. His record improved to 11-11 with a 4.74 ERA and 3 complete games. Some fun facts about Gomes and other guys to have multiple three-home run games…
Another Jonny, actually Johnny. Mize that is, shares the record with Sammy Sosa for most 3 homer games with 6. Dave Kingman, Joe Carter, Mark McGwire and Carlos Delgado have done it 5 times over their careers. Babe Ruth, Ralph Kiner, Larry Parrish, Ernie Banks, Willie Stargell and Lou Gehrig all had four 3-homer games in their careers. Other than Larry Parrish, everyone in that bunch is in the Hall of Fame. Some Hall of Famers who accomplished the feat once in their career (therefore trailing Gomes in this category) include an interesting list of Hall of Famers including Hank Aaron, Frank Robinson, Mickey Mantle and surprisingly Ty Cobb who hit 3 in one game back in 1925. 29 different players have had 3-dinger games for two different teams, of them Johnny Mize, Dave Kingman and A-Rod have done it for 3 different teams. Anyway, I want to congratulate my favorite ex-Ray, Mister Jonny Gomes on another 3-homer game. Here’s to many more Jonny! As an end note, Jonny has always been a fantastic autograph signer-I have about 10 of his sigs in my collection, he always signs at the park-before and after games and is a great TTM signer. Go Rays! Troll out.

1 comment:

  1. Man, those are some sweet cards Gomes signed! Nice post. I didn't know about his HBP prowess, but I guess it fits hits personality. Also didn't realize the backstory with MacDougal--pretty wild coincidence.

    Go Rays!