Jaffe: 40th anniversary of Willie Stargell’s homer out of Dodger Stadium

From SABR member Chris Jaffe at The Hardball Times on May 8, 2013:

Forty years ago today, Willie Stargell did something that no one else had ever done before and no one else had ever done since. He smacked a ball completely out of Dodger Stadium. Not just out of the playing field, but out into the parking lot itself.

On May 8, 1973, the Dodgers hosted Stargell’s Pirates in a night game at Chavez Ravine. In the top of the fourth inning, Stargell came up with a runner on against Dodger hurler Andy Messersmith when he hit his historic moonshot.

Some places are easy to hit the ball out of. Wrigley Field is famous for having balls leave its park, for instance. In some places, it happens rarely, but at least it still happens. Over a dozen players knocked one out of Tiger Stadium, for example.

But Dodger Stadium is big. It’s one of the biggest parks the game has ever had. That’s why only Stargell has done it in over a half-century of games there.

Oh, I should note that today isn’t the 40th anniversary of the first time a ball left Dodger Stadium. Wait, what? Yeah, you see, while Stargell is the only person to do it, that doesn’t mean he did it only once. Stargell first accomplished the feat in 1969, and today is the 40th anniversary of his second parking-lot shot. We’re still waiting for a third occasion.

Read the full article here: http://www.hardballtimes.com/main/content/article/40th-anniversary-stargell-hits-one-out-of-dodger-stadium/

Originally published: May 8, 2013. Last Updated: May 8, 2013.