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Inside-the-park Home Run
In baseball, an inside-the-park home run is a play where a batter hits a home run without hitting the ball out of the field of play. It is also known as an "in-the-park home run" or "in the park homer".
To score an inside-the-park home run, the player must touch all four bases (in the order of first, second and third, ending at home plate) before a fielder on the opposing team can tag him out. In Major League Baseball, if the defensive team commits one or more errors during the play, it is not scored as a home run, but rather advancing on an error, and is colloquially referred to as a Little League home run. Statistically, an inside-the-park home run counts as a regular home run in the player's season and career totals.
The vast majority of home runs occur when the batter hits the ball beyond the outfield fence on the fly. This is purely a feat of hitting with power, along with a fortuitous flight angle of the ball. The inside-the-park home run has a different character: it combines fast baserunning with a strong hit.
In the early days of Major League Baseball, with outfields more spacious and less uniform from ballpark to ballpark, inside-the-park home runs were common. However, in the modern era, with smaller outfields, the feat has become increasingly rare, happening only a handful of times each season. Today an inside-the-park home run is typically accomplished by a fast baserunner hitting the ball in a direction that bounces far away from the opposing team's fielders. Sometimes (such as Alcides Escobar's inside-the-park homer in the 2015 World Series), the outfielder misjudges the ball or otherwise misplays it, but not so badly that an error is charged.
Major league statistics
Of the 154,483 home runs hit between 1951 and 2000, 975 (about 1 in every 158) were inside-the-park. The percentage has dwindled since the increase in emphasis on power hitting which began in the 1920s.
On October 4, 1986 during a Twins' home game at the Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome, Greg Gagne tied a modern-era major league record by hitting two inside-the-park home runs against the Chicago White Sox. Only 18 players in major league history have performed this feat, with Gagne being just the second since 1930. Both home runs were hit off Chicago starting pitcher Floyd Bannister, who also tied a modern-era major league record by allowing two inside-the-park home runs in one game. The Twins went on to win the game, 7-3.
On June 17, 2007, Prince Fielder of the Milwaukee Brewers hit a popup to center field that became an inside-the-park home run when Minnesota Twins outfielder Lew Ford lost the ball after it struck a speaker on the ceiling of the Metrodome. Fielder weighed 262 pounds (119 kg) at the time, becoming the third-heaviest player to hit an inside-the-park homer. On June 19, 2008, he hit another inside-the-park-homer at Miller Park in Milwaukee, versus the Toronto Blue Jays.
On July 18, 2010, Jhonny Peralta of the Cleveland Indians hit a three-run inside-the-park home run when Detroit Tigers outfielder Ryan Raburn crashed through the bullpen fence while trying to catch the ball. Peralta was one of the slowest runners then on the Indians' roster, and would be traded to the Tigers ten days later. He took 16.74 seconds to round the bases, which was, at that point in the 2010 season, the slowest of any inside-the-park home run and slower than five regular home run trots.
On May 25, 2013, Ángel Pagán of the San Francisco Giants hit an inside-the-park home run at AT&T Park in San Francisco, a tenth inning, two-run walk-off home run, with teammate Brandon Crawford on base. It was the first walk-off inside-the-park home run since 2004, when Rey Sanchez of the Devil Rays hit one, also in the bottom of the tenth inning, also against the Rockies, albeit in a tie game.
On July 8, 2015, Logan Forsythe of the Tampa Bay Rays hit an inside-the-park home run in the 4th inning against the Kansas City Royals when, in attempting to field the ball, Royals left fielder Alex Gordon injured his groin. Gordon was replaced by Jarrod Dyson, who hit an inside-the-park home run of his own in the 6th inning of the game. Dyson's hit went past Rays left fielder David DeJesus, who, like Gordon, had been injured five years earlier, on July 22, 2010 while playing for the Royals on a play that led to an inside-the-park home run for Derek Jeter.
On September 2, 2015, Rubén Tejada of the New York Mets hit the ball down the right-field foul line, under the glove of Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Domonic Brown who, running full speed, flipped over the out-of-play wall in foul territory. Brown was unable to return to field the ball and it rolled to the deep right field fence in Citi Field before it was fielded by Phillies second baseman Cesar Hernández. Kelly Johnson also scored on the play. Brown later left the game with concussion-like symptoms. At 74.5 mph off the bat, it was the softest-hit homerun of the season to that point.