It was May 10, 1996.
Ernie Young, a 26-year-old center fielder getting his first real shot in the majors, blasted three homers as the A’s beat the Twins 15-5. He had entered the game with three homers in 164 career at-bats, the lowest previous homer total for anyone who has ever had a three-homer game.
(The last of those homers came off LaTroy Hawkins, one of two players from the game still active today. The other, Jason Giambi, started at third base for Oakland. Steve Wojciechowski and Frankie Rodriguez were the starters.)
Young went on to hit 19 homers that season, but he finished with a mediocre .242/.326/.424 line. The A’s kept him around in 1997, but as he continued to struggle, they went to Damon Mashore in center field instead.
Aside from a year in Japan in 2002, Young spent most of the rest of his career tearing up Triple-A pitching. At 31, he was the oldest player on the 2000 U.S. Olympic baseball team that took home gold in Sydney. He made his final major league appearance with the Tigers in 2004, but he played until he was 37 and hit 319 minor league homers in all. In parts of 13 seasons in Triple-A, he hit .282/.371/.502 with 245 homers. He hit .225/.310/.378 with 27 homers in 908 at-bats as a major leaguer.
Today, Young is managing in the Tigers system with the West Michican Whitecaps of the Midwest League.
The Cubs’ defense — or lack thereof this year — has been a topic of conversation as it could help explain why the team hasn’t played at the elite level it played at last year.
Manager Joe Maddon tried to go into detail about that but ended up channeling his inner Rex Ryan. Via CSN Chicago’s Patrick Mooney.
If, in the future, Joe Ross ever complains about a lack of run support, point to his first four starts of the 2017 season.
Ross started on April 19 in Atlanta against the Braves, on April 25 in Colorado against the Rockies, on April 30 at home against the Mets, and on May 23 at home against the Mariners. In those games, the Nats’ offense scored 14, 15, 23, and 10 runs respectively for a total of 62 runs, or an average of 15.5 per start. Ross was the pitcher of record for seven, eight, 10, and 10 runs for a total of 35 runs (8.75 runs per start), which would still make him the major league leader in run support by that restrictive standard.
Among qualified starters — Ross did not qualify — entering Tuesday’s action, the Rockies’ Antonio Senzatela led the way according to ESPN, averaging 7.11 runs of support in nine starts. The Rockies scored double-digit runs in only three of those starts, oddly enough.
Per the Nationals, the 62 runs of support for Ross is a major league record in a pitcher’s first four starts of a season.