Rangers outfielder Joey Gallo hit his 100th career home run on Wednesday afternoon, a two-run home run off of Pirates starter Nick Kingham that cleared the seats in center field at PNC Park, breaking a scoreless tie.
As MLB.com’s Sarah Langs notes, Gallo is the first player in baseball history to reach 100 career home runs before 100 singles. Gallo has 93 singles. Previously, the fewest singles hit before one’s 100th career homer was 172 by Russell Branyan. So, Gallo obliterated that record like he does so many baseballs.
Gallo is emblematic of modern baseball, which has seen a marked rise in the “three true outcomes” — events that don’t involve the defense — which are strikeouts, walks, and home runs. Entering Wednesday, Gallo had 523 career strikeouts, 195 career walks, and 99 homers, accounting for about 59 percent of his 1,393 plate appearances. For comparison, the league avearage TTO% is about 35.5 percent, a rate that has gotten higher and higher with each passing year.
Gallo finished the afternoon 1-for-2 with three walks along with the homer. He’s now batting .274/.426/.679 with 12 homers, 28 RBI, and 27 runs scored in 136 plate appearances on the season.
The Astros’ sign-stealing story broke in November, a steady drumbeat of coverage of it lasted through December and into January, when Rob Manfred’s report came out about it. The report was damning and, in its wake, Houston’s manager and general manger were both suspended and then fired.
After that a steady stream of media reports came out which not only made the whole affair seem even worse than Manfred’s report suggested, but which also suggested that, on some level, Major League Baseball had bungled it all and it was even worse than it had first seemed.
Rather than Manfred and the Astros putting this all behind them, the story grew. As it grew, both the Red Sox and Mets fired their managers and, in a few isolated media appearances, Astros’ players seemed ill-prepared for questions on it all. Once spring training began the Astros made even worse public appearances and, for the past week and change, each day has given us a new player or three angrily speaking out about how mad they are at the Astros and how poorly they’ve handled all of this.
Why have they handled it so poorly? As always, look to poor leadership:
In other news, Crane was — and I am not making this up — recently named the Houston Sports Executive of the Year. An award he has totally, totally earned, right?