Dewan: Home runs and home-run robberies

From SABR member John Dewan at ACTA Sports on April 15, 2015:

Following his quick and impressive run through the minors and an excellent 52-game debut in the majors in 2014, many expected Mookie Betts to have a breakout season in 2015. Monday, Betts demonstrated why he’s such an exciting player. In the first two innings of the Red Sox game against the Nationals, Betts stole two bases on a single play, hit a home run, and robbed Bryce Harper of a potential two-run home run in center field.

Bill James, Senior Baseball Operations Advisor for the Boston Red Sox, was wondering how often it happens that a player both hits a home run and robs a home run in the same game. It turns out that it happens more often than both Bill and I would have guessed.

The combination of a home run and a home run robbery is particularly compelling, in part because of the similar but opposite nature of those plays and in part because the combination of skills it takes to hit for power and to make that kind of athletic play is pretty rare. Baseball Info Solutions has been tracking home run robberies since 2004, and in the 11-plus seasons since, 42 players have both hit and robbed a home run in the same game. Eight of those players have managed the feat two times.

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Originally published: April 15, 2015. Last Updated: April 15, 2015.