Today marks the 24th anniversary of Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Von Hayes’ record breaking performance when he became the first player in Major League history to hit two home runs in the first inning of a ballgame.
Von Hayes was never known to be a power hitter. While most power hitters of the ’80s were jacking 30 or more home runs a year, Hayes hit more than 20 HRs just twice in his career (13 HRs per year average as an every day starter).
On this date in 1985, Von Hayes led off with a HR against the New York Mets. The Phillies would bat around the order in the first inning only for Hayes to make his mark in the annals of baseball history by hitting a grand slam, becoming the first player ever to hit two HRs in the first inning of a game. More importantly, the Hayes-led Philles would go on to beat the Mets 26-7.
How fitting is it today that the Philadelphia Phillies march into the new home of the New York Mets, CitiField, in a rubber match against their arch rivals.
Two days ago, Phillies outfielder Raul Ibanez was critically lambasted by a blogger from the Midwest for possibly “taking steroids” as that could be the only reason why Ibanez, at age 37, is on pace for a career season and possibly a run at National League Most Valuable Player.
Von Hayes was never a power hitter but his best season came late in his career, in 1989. Hayes would only play one full season and two partial seasons after that. Raul Ibanez, at 37 years old, is showing no signs of slowing down yet it is very unlikely that his production will keep increasing after this season.
Forget numbers, it is just pure common sense that Ibanez moved from a pitcher’s ballpark to a hitter’s ballpark. Citizen’s Bank Ballpark ranked third in the National League in 2008 for HRs allowed while in Seattle, where Ibanez played, can be found near the bottom of the American League in HRs allowed.
Raul Ibanez has the best protection a hitter can have as well, batting in the same lineup as Jimmy Rollins, Chase Utley, Ryan Howard, and Shane Victorino. Jayson Werth is streaky, but no slouch when it comes to hitting the ball either.
For someone to speculate, as the basement blogger from the Midwest did, about Ibanez’s increased production during the latter stages of his career, and that the production “probably” can be attributed to steroid use, is asinine.
Von Hayes is proof that players like Raul Ibanez can improve their production even if they are a little longer in the tooth.
I guess Jaime Moyer is juicing up as well.
Pete Dymeck is the owner of DailyPenn.com