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Most Home Runs by a Pinch Runner

Posted by Raphy on August 12, 2009

After his unusual "pinch running"  assignment for the Red Sox last night, Mike Lowell stayed in the game and hit 2 home runs.  He became the 3rd player since 1954 to enter a game as a PR and hit 2 or more homers.

  Cnt Player            Date          Tm   Opp GmReslt PA AB  R  H 2B 3B **HR** RBI BB IBB SO HBP SH SF ROE GDP SB CS BOr Positions
    1 Mike Lowell       2009-08-11    BOS  DET W  7-5   3  3  3  2  0  0    2     3  0   0  0   0  0  0   0   0  0  0 4th PR 3B     
    2 Craig Kusick      1979-05-08    MIN  TOR W 16-6   2  2  3  2  0  0    2     2  0   0  0   0  0  0   0   0  0  0 3rd PR 1B     
    3 Chuck Essegian    1961-06-11(1) CLE  KCA W  7-3   2  2  2  2  0  0    2     5  0   0  0   0  0  0   0   0  0  0 2nd PR CF     

9 Responses to “Most Home Runs by a Pinch Runner”

  1. Andy Says:

    That's a stunning stat and a great find.

  2. mikeyjax Says:

    Interestingly both gus on that list before last night played for the team they did it against in the same season. Kusick after and Essegian before. I'm not trying to ship Lowell to Motown but......

  3. tomepp Says:

    Does anyone know what the record is for most HR in a game the player didn't start (entering as PH, PR, DR, etc.)?

  4. Jgeller Says:

    Using the Play Index Game Finder, you can click just "Sub" under the positions and search for most home runs. This gives us since 1954 at least. Art Shamsky hit 3 homers in 1966 off the bench for Cincinnati, the only to do it. According to the play-by-play, he entered in a double switch during the Top of the 8th with the pitcher. He proceeded to hit a homer in the bottom of the 8th to put his team up 1. The game went to extra innings. Bottom 10 he hit a home run to re-tie the game. Bottom 11 he did the same. Pittsburgh won the game in the 13th inning, with Shamsky 2 batters away from his 4th at-bat in the game. In short: not just the most home runs by a sub in a game, but probably one of the most valuable subbing ever in a losing effort.

    Not counting Shamsky, 53 players have hit 2 homers off the bench. Dave Ross did it in June.

  5. khgiddon Says:

    The irony, of course, about being a "pinch runner", is that Mike Lowell is without doubt one of the slowest people in baseball.

  6. Jed Says:

    Slow: Kusick (listed at 6'3", 232) stole 11 bases in 1461 PA. Lowell has stolen 28 bases in 6119 PA.

    And then there's Essegian -- 1140 PA, zero SB, zero CS. Now I'm curious: Does he have the most plate appearances without a stolen base or a stolen-base attempt? (I'm not a PI subscriber.)

    Terrific stat, Raphy.

  7. Tom Clancy Says:

    Last night Lowell suggested he might have a future as a pinch runner. Earlier this year when he was part of a double steal (or something equally unlikely), he said, "Guys, I've got another gear out there. It's called second."

  8. gerry Says:

    Jed, you don't have to be a subscriber to get PI to tell you that the record for most PA without an SB or a CS is 2244 by Johnny Estrada.

  9. tomepp Says:

    Jgeller: Thanks for the info. I recognized that the post was specifically referring to PRs (as opposed to PHs), but I was curious about hte record for any substitute. I seemed to recall that there was a player who got 3 HR in an extra-inning game as a late-inning sub but couldn't place the name (I kept thinking it was Rusty Staub, but that didn't ring exactly right, either).

    As a BoSox fan, I appreciated the irony of Lowell's pinch runner status. Of course, he showed his best method of beating a throw to second - hit it out of the park to begin with.