Ferkovich: Six Tigers have hit homers in their first MLB at-bats

From SABR member Scott Ferkovich at Detroit Athletic Co. on April 3, 2014:

Through the 2013 season, there have been a total of 113 players who have hit a home run in their first at-bat in the majors leagues. Joe Harrington, an infielder with the Boston Beaneaters, is generally believed to be the first to do it, in an 1895 game. How many Detroit Tigers have accomplished the feat? The answer is six. Here is a look:

Hack Miller: April 23, 1944. Miller was from Celeste, Texas. He went to college at Southeastern Oklahoma State University, as well as the University of North Texas. As a 31-year old in 1944, he had spent the last six years in the Chicago White Sox and St. Louis Browns’ organizations. A stocky, slugging catcher, 5’11” and 215 pounds, he could hit for power as well as a high average, as evidenced by his 27 bombs and .361 mark for the Lubbock Hubbers in 1938.

The Tigers signed him before the 1944 season, “principally for bull-pen purposes,” according to The Sporting News. Miller got into his first game with Detroit on April 19 in St. Louis, as a defensive replacement, but did not get an at-bat. His next game action was four days later, in Cleveland’s Municipal Stadium. Miller was again a defensive replacement. In the top of the eighth inning, with Al Smith on the mound, he came up to bat for the first time in the big leagues. The Tigers were trailing 3-1, but had two runners on. True to his name, Hack drilled a three-run home run, putting the Bengals on top. They went on to win the game by a score of 4-3. Miller would bat four more times in 1944, with no hits.

Read the full article here: http://blog.detroitathletic.com/2014/04/03/six-tigers-hit-homers-first-big-league-bats/

Originally published: April 4, 2014. Last Updated: April 4, 2014.