Hey Jeremy, what is an inside the park home run?
Howdy everyone and welcome back!
As the new season is well underway and many division races are already starting to heat up, many fans have been wondering, “what is an inside the park home run?”
This is actually a pretty common question as many people who don’t get a chance to watch a baseball game very often rarely, if ever, get the opportunity to see one.
In this article, we will talk a little bit about what I, and many others, would consider one of the most exciting plays you will ever see in the game of baseball and answer the question; what is an inside the park home run?
What is an inside the park home run?
First off, if you are unfamiliar with baseball, the field that baseball games are played on are called “parks.”
Home runs are the result of a player who is able to successfully reach all 3 bases and safely reach home plate within one continuous play after hitting the ball.
When most people think of a home run, they normally think about a player who has hit the ball hard enough to send it flying over the outfield fence. This would be the most common kind of home run.
Inside the park home run.
An inside the park home run occurs when a batter hits the ball somewhere in the field of play without going over the fence and is still able to safely reach home plate in one continuous play.
As you can imagine, inside the park home runs are extremely rare at the Major League level.
Each base is 90’ apart, so the speed of the runner is absolutely critical if a batter has any chance whatsoever of successfully hitting an inside the park home run.
Think of it like this; The average fence in Major League Baseball is around 350 – 400 feet from home plate.
If a batter is going to be able to complete the inside the park home run, they will have to run 360’ around a diamond shaped infield before the defense is able to get the ball back to home to apply the tag.
Even if you were running in a straight line, this would be nearly impossible, especially when you consider the arm strength of a Major League outfielder.
Who has the most inside the park home runs in MLB history?
While an inside the park home run may be a rare occurrence, they do happen more than you may think.
In fact, of the 154,483 home runs hit between the years 1951 and 2000, 975 of them were of the inside the park variety.
While not a huge percentage, the number kind of surprised me.
Jesse Burkett holds the Major League record for the most inside the park home runs with a whopping 55 for his career.
Ty Cobb holds the American League record with 46 inside the park home runs, all hit with the Detroit Tigers.
Tommy Leach holds the National League record with 48 career inside the park home runs.
Who has the most inside the park home runs in a single season?
Ty Cobb also holds the American League record for the most inside the park home runs hit in a single season with 9 in 1909.
Sam Crawford holds the National League record for the most inside the park home runs hit in a single season with 12 in 1901.
Does an error negate an inside the park home run?
Yes it does.
Any time an error is committed by the defense, a scoring change must be made any time a batter safely reaches base.
For example: If a batter hits a line drive to the right field fence and was fast enough to make it to third before the right fielder got the ball back in to 3rd to apply a tag, that would be scored as a triple for the batter.
But let’s say the right fielder made a throwing error while getting the ball in and the ball ended up rolling into left field, thereby allowing the batter to reach home safely and score.
The batter would still be credited with a triple, but the throwing error by the right fielder would negate the inside the park home run and they would be charged with an error, so the play would be scored – Triple with E-9.
The batter would also still be credited with a run scored.
9 is the player position number assigned to the right fielder.
If you are unfamiliar with player position numbers and want to check out some basic rules of the game of baseball, Check Out Simple Baseball Rules.
That was a fun article I wrote that covers most of the basics including position names, numbers and functions.
What is an inside the park home run? – Wrap it up!
An inside the park home run is credited to a batter when they hit the ball anywhere in the field of play, without going over the outfield fence, and are able to reach home plate safely without any defensive errors.
An inside the park home run is one of the most rare and exciting offensive plays that you will see during a baseball game.
While I have seen quite a few during my kids’ baseball games over the years and 1 while watching an MLB game on T.V., I have never seen one at an actual game live.
I will keep my fingers crossed! 🙂
I hope you enjoyed the article and that I answered the question; What is an inside the park home run?
If you have any questions about this article, or anything else, please feel free to leave a comment below and I will get back with you a.s.a.p.
Thanks for stopping by ~Jeremy