Outfielder Rick Ankiel of the Houston Astros joined an elite group Sunday when Drew Stubbs of the Cleveland Indians hit a home run that upset a popcorn tub belonging to a fan sitting in the front row at Minute Maid Park and rained countless tasty kernels onto Ankiel's head and shoulders.
With one out in the sixth, Stubbs hit a line drive against to right against rookie Brett Oberholtzer and Ankiel climbed the fence attempting to make a play. The ball barely eluded his glove, but it did not miss a fan holding a large popcorn tub. The impact caused much of the contents to splash onto the field, some onto Ankiel. It was a comical moment, though less so for Ankiel and the Astros, who fell 5-4 to the Indians. Houston's record fell to 5-13.
However, the popcorn shower does place Ankiel third all-time in baseball history among players showered with a foreign substance during a home run. To the list!:
1. Al Smith of the White Sox gets a beer shower
The Chicago White Sox led the 1959 World Series 1-0 and were up 2-0 in the fifth inning of Game 2 when Charlie Neal of the Los Angeles Dodgers hit a solo home run to left. Adding insult to injury, fan tipped over a beer trying to catch the drive and it famously splashed onto the head of outfielder Al Smith. Neal's homer sparked a comeback at Comiskey Park and the Dodgers won both the game and the Series, in six.
2. Roy Hobbs lights up the Pirates at War Memorial Stadium
OK, so this is fiction, but it's still one of the coolest home runs ever. Roy Hobbs sends the New York Knights to the World Series with a home run that hits a light tower, busts a bulb and makes lightning happen. As a 12-year-old, I wondered if the sparks hurt the actors to the touch. Even today my guess is: Maybe.
3. Ankiel gets popped
At least with the beer, if Al Smith happened to have his mouth open, he gets a taste. Ankiel would have had to lose his cap and have it flip over in order to catch enough kernels for a snack. That's why he places no higher than third. But it's a heck of an honor just to be nominated!