After slogging through the minors & indie leagues to get back to the bigs, St. Louis’ Bill Pulsipher finds himself on the DL, just days after being called up to take Rich Ankiel’s roster spot.
There is virtually no statistical relevance in pointing out that by hitting one homer a week, the Pirates are on pace to hit 26. But one homer a week by an entire team gets some rather alarming perspective in the context of a franchise for which a single player hit three homers in a game 16 times.
Willie Stargell, coiled into a Federal Street monument last night with his right pinky tucked under the knob of his menacing bat, hit three homers in a game four times. In a span of 12 days in 1971, he did it twice. Ralph Kiner did it four times. Roberto Clemente, another statue dwarfed by memory just up the sidewalk, did it twice. Frank Thomas, Dick Stuart, Bill Robinson, Darnell Coles, Aramis Ramirez and, of course, Mejias all did it once. Mejias hit five homers for the Pirates in 1958, but on May 4 he was hitting ’em one per hour.
As it happened, it wasn’t just the Pirates’ home run pace this week that defaced the franchise tradition. It was the hitters in general. In six games, they scored 16 runs. Pittsburgh has scored 20 in a game 15 times. Twenty Pirates have hit for the cycle 23 times, but everyone on this team combined would not have hit for the cycle this week if it hadn’t been for Benito Santiago’s most recent major-league triple.
Santiago, with 41 triples in 19 major-league seasons, likely hit the last of his in the opener Monday. Whole beers have been swallowed in the time he spent getting from second to third.
But our topic is homers, and who will hit them for Lloyd McClendon’s 2005 edition. Maybe you’re counting on Jason Bay hitting 30 instead of the 26 he hit a year ago. Maybe you’re counting on Craig Wilson hitting 35 instead of 29. Maybe you’re looking to get 20 each from Rob Mackowiak and Daryle Ward, or 15 from Jack Wilson.
Maybe you’ll be having drinks with Kim Catrall on Fleece Blanket Night.
The object for now, as the Pirates begin a three-game series against the mildly disliked Brewers in Milwaukee this afternoon, is to be watching a team that has at least homered two weeks in a row. Try to forget, for example, that eight times in Pirates history, they’ve homered in three consecutive at bats. The one homer a week show looks grim against a historical backdrop in which Orlando Merced, Jeff King and Midre Cummings once homered thrice in five minutes.
Kim Catrall? At least he didn’t say Angie Dickinson.