On Friday night in the Cardinals game against the Rockies something rare and exciting happened. In the bottom of the third inning Jack Flaherty took former teammate Austin Gomber deep for his first ever major league homer. It looked a little something like this:
I have previously broken this down after John Gant hit his first big league homer, but I think it could use a little updating.
Part 1: The Swing
This part is not always pretty, but in the case of Jack Flaherty, his home run swing was done in style. Flaherty worked a 3-1 count and knew he was going to get something good to hit. With the bases empty and no one out, Flaherty put his best swing on the ball. Then added a small bat toss for good measure.
Part 2: The reaction
There are a few common reactions when a pitcher hits a home run. There is the sheepish homerun hitter:
There is The Person That Is More Excited Than Everyone Else. This is usually Carlos Martínez and while I cannot seem to find video of it (but see header image), I am assuming this holds true in this instant after reading this:
Carlos Martinez says he hurt his right ankle when he slipped celebrating Jack Flaherty's home run Friday night, and that caused pain during his pushup/delivery today. He lacked power and that contributed to his lack of command at times. #Cardinals #stlcards— Derrick S. Goold (@dgoold) May 8, 2021
Finally, there is The Proud Dad, AKA Adam Wainwright. Adam Wainwright likes to hit and takes pride in being good at it for a pitcher. When other pitchers on the team hold their own with the bat, you can just see in eyes how happy he is. This is one of the best parts of The Pitcher Homer:
Part 3: The Curtain Call
When a pitcher hits a home run, there is around a 50% chance of a curtain call at Busch Stadium, but that bumps up to 100% when it is the player’s first ever one. Is this superfluous? Of course. I hope it never ends.
Pitcher home runs are unlikely and often unexpected. That is what makes them fun!