Thursday, June 21, 2007


I was doing some random research on the Green Monster's ladder and read about some inside-the-park homers that were caused by it.

From this excerpt of Shaughnessy's book about Fenway: 1963 when the Sox stonefinger slugger Dick Stuart—a man with all the speed of an ox—hit an inside-the-park home run in Fenway. His towering fly to left center hit the ladder, then bounced off the head of the Cleveland center fielder, Vic Davalillo, and rolled to the left field corner. By the time Davalillo ran down the ball, Stuart had chugged around the bases.

I'm trying to figure out what the deal with this play was. I checked retrosheet, and the only time Stuart hit any homers at Fenway, against Cleveland, with Davalillo in center, in 1963 was August 19th, and Stuart actually homered twice. But retrosheet simply says "Stuart homered" both times. It's not like they ignore I-T-P HRs, as you can see in the second inning play-by-play of this awesome game. (Yes, I checked every other season when Stuart was on the Sox while Davalillo was on the Tribe, and there was one other homer, in 1964, but, again, retrosheet doesn't call it an I-T-P homer.)

A fan mentions the play in this Remy Q & A, but claims the ball
...hit part of the scoreboard and glanced off of the shoulder of the left fielder and rolled out toward center field - hugging the wall. He slid safely under the tag at home plate as I recall.

Considering the ball hit the center fielder (either on the head or shoulder), it would make more sense that the ball went toward center field. (Wait, we've got one report of it hitting the left fielder and going toward center, and one of it hitting the center fielder and going toward left, now I'm really confused.) That would also give much more time for Stuart to get all the way around. And wait a minute, Dan, if it did go toward left, wouldn't the left fielder have chased after it? (Same question to the fan, only replace the "left"s with "center"s.)

So, does anyone know what the real story is with this? It has to be from that August 19th date. But if it were that famous, I'd think retrosheet would know about it and make mention of it. This sounds to me like one of those plays that's such a legend, its story just keeps changing as one generation tells it to the next.

I-T-P homers don't have their own special list on retrosheet, which is also odd to me. These seem like they'd also warrant the boldface type "notes" they sometimes give in their play-by-plays. Like Nixon's--they should tell us how in the world he hit an inside-the-parker. (Thanks, Melky.) That would be better than their note after Bucky F. Dent's bloop homer that says "the HR that broke New England's back." As you know, that's my one criticism of the great retrosheet.


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Location: Rhode Island, United States