'Duk

Want your first career home run? Face a pitcher from Chicago

Big League Stew

View photo

.
Houston Astros rookie Brett Wallace(notes) hit the first home run of his career on Tuesday night, a solo shot to center off Carlos Silva(notes) that tied the game in the second inning at Wrigley Field.

Not only did Wallace's debut dinger help the 'Stros to an eventual 7-3 win, it also caused one commenter on Bleed Cubbie Blue to muse that it seems like the Cubs have been giving up an abnormal amount of first career homers this year.

I initially chalked the guy's grousing up to simple confirmation bias. After all, doesn't it always seem like your favorite baseball or hockey team is giving up first home runs and first goals left and right?

But because I like stats that probably don't really mean anything, I decided to take a closer look at the list of the 43 first-year players who have recorded their first career home runs in 2010 (through Tuesday night's games).

Turns out that dude was right. Alone at the top of the list are the Chicago Cubs. While they're only 10th among all MLB staffs in homers allowed, they've blessed five guys — Jason Heyward(notes), Steve Hill, Ruben Tejada(notes), Chris Valaika(notes) and Wallace — with their first major league home runs this season.

Meanwhile, the Chicago White Sox are right behind their crosstown rivals with four first-time homers, the same amount as the Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Angels. No other team has given up more than two, and seven teams have been stingy in giving up zero.

The list is bound to change as more September callups get their hacks, but here's a few more interesting tidbits I gleaned from the home run logs Wednesday morning:

• Four pitchers have seen two separate players go yard on them for the first time this season: the Cubs' Marcos Mateo(notes), the White Sox's John Danks(notes), the Phillies' Kyle Kendrick(notes) and the Angels' Joel Pineiro(notes).

Cliff Lee(notes) is the only pitcher to surrender a player's first two career home runs this season. Baltimore's Josh Bell(notes) did the deeds on Aug. 21.

• Other rookies with big bragging rights after victimizing a star pitcher include Mitch Moreland(notes) (Josh Beckett(notes)), Danny Valencia(notes) (Zack Greinke(notes)), Jason Castro(notes) (Matt Cain(notes)), Logan Morrison(notes) (Tommy Hanson(notes)) and Jason Donald(notes) (Jake Peavy(notes)).

• Oh, and add Travis Wood(notes) to that list. He's the only rookie pitcher to record his first career home run in 2010. He embarrassed St. Louis' Adam Wainwright(notes) on Sept. 4.

• The seven teams that haven't given up a first-time homer are typically among the most dinger stubborn in the league, but not all of them. The Arizona Diamondbacks lead baseball with 180 homers allowed, while the Oakland A's are in the middle of that list at 14.

• The rest of the homer-free teams, though, are all in the bottom third, which makes sense — New York Mets (21), San Diego Padres (24), Houston Astros (27), Colorado Rockies (28) and Florida Marlins (29).

View Comments