The pigs were on the runway. Tiny Ben Revere took a mighty swing, connected, and they all took off. The wait was over.
In short order the Philadelphia Phillies’ play-by-play man Tom McCarthy asked, “Could it be?” The ball landed just over the outfield fence atop the right field score board; McCarthy called the hitter “Resere,” and Ben the Bomber claimed the 21st century record for the most MLB at-bats before hitting a home run – 1465 OAB (1565 plate appearances). McCarthy noted that the last player to wait longer to homer was the Pirates’ banjo hitter Frank Taveras, whose first big fly came in 1977 after 1594 AB.
The often punchless Phillies in the dugout then re-enacted the time-honored tradition of ignoring an unlikely home run hitter after his tour of the bases – or possibly began pondering quietly whether Ben would homer a second time before Domonic Brown or Ryan Howard will homer again. Neither did after Revere’s blast last night, nor did any other Phillie, and the team dropped a 6-2 decision to the Colorado Rockies.
In fairness to the 5′ 9″, 165-pound Revere, he was not acquired from the Minnesota Twins before last season to lose baseballs in fair territory. It was thought then that the speedster would be useful in tracking down fly balls (he does sometimes) and stealing bases (fairly often). However, Revere has come under some fire after a season-plus in red pinstripes because of poor routes sometimes run after those fly balls and an occasional lapse in intellection on the base paths. His on-base percentage hasn’t been anything to cheer about either, for a lead-off hitter, .338 in an injury-shortened 2013 campaign and a mere .301 this year.
Nonetheless, the wait for Ben to go yard was one of only three entertaining aspects of the Phillies’ efforts this year, behind watching Chase Utley hit like the player many expected him to be more consistently (.333 through last night), and just ahead of a) waiting for Cole Hamels to begin pitching this season (elbow tendonitis), then b) wondering whether the very expensive hurler still has an elbow problem (1-3, 4.43 ERA after last night’s loss). For the record, since Ben’s Homer is now a dead discussion, the Rockies’ Boone Logan served up the gopher ball.
Revere took his minor place in history with some sense of humor, declaring, “When I got to second base, I didn’t know what to do.” He last homered late in May, 2011, for the Rochester Red Wings against Max Klinger’s favorite team, the Toledo Mud Hens.