Twenty five players have hit 500+ home runs in their careers, a very unique group that share something special from their respective Major League careers. Only one of them is still considered active – Alex Rodriguez, who’s stuck at 647 career home runs considering he’s been injured and inactive all season long. Albert Pujols very well may the next to join the exclusive club, as he leads all other active players with 484.
Eight years ago today, baseball saw something even more unique, as three members of this exclusive club all played on the same field together – the largest collection of 500+ home run hitters to appear in one game together (non All Star games, of course).
On June 10, 2005 the Baltimore Orioles found themselves facing the Cincinnati Reds in an interleague matchup. Baltimore would end up winning the game by a score of 4-3, thanks largely to a three run outburst in the 3rd inning that put them ahead early. The Orioles lineup featured a pair of 500+ home run hitters in first baseman Rafael Palmeiro and right fielder Sammy Sosa – both on the tail ends of their respective careers. Across the diamond with the Reds was another member of the club, center fielder Ken Griffey Jr. – who actually homered in the game, the 511th of his career.
Expectations were high in Los Angeles heading into the season, both for the Dodgers and the Angels. Each team spent big, believing that they’d not only built a roster that could compete in 2013 but one that could be competitive for years to come. And yet, each team has been a disappointment.
While optimism may remain on some fronts, there are some segments of each team’s respective fanbases that have clearly come to accept the fact that the playoffs just simply in the cards this year. In the case of Saxon Baird at Halo Hangout, however, the playoffs aren’t in the picture for the Angels in the next four years. His realization is due to a combination of factors – long term contracts, increasing age, and a weak farm system. Baird ultimately thinks that it’s also a detriment that the team remains in what he calls “constant contender mode”. We’ll let him explain:
Even when the odds of making the playoffs have seemed slim at the trade deadline in past years, the Angels refuse to become sellers. Instead, the front office has remained in “constant contender mode.” regardless of their 2013 season results, this approach seems likely to continue. A terrible win-loss record is one thing but once you start trading big name players, you’ve raised the white flag and the fans stop coming to the ballpark. Even in a lousy season, there are reasons to come the games when big name players are on your roster. Weaver can still throw a gem, Trout can still make a spectacular catch and Pujols or Trumbo can still hit a monster home run. When those players are traded, then the reasons to attend a game become few and far between. Look at the Marlins and the Astros attendance as an example.
Interviews are usually left up to the national writers, particularly the in-person opportunities, but every once in awhile one of our gets a unique chance. Such an event took place just this past week, as Ehsan Kassim at Marlin Maniac was able to corner Logan Morrison for a few minutes following one of his latest rehab games with the Jacksonville Suns. The pair talked about returning from injury, Twitter, and the Marlins future pipeline of prospects.