If you’ve been around baseball coaches for any amount of time in your life, you’ve probably heard them talking about crawling before you can walk. Baseball is an incremental game in that way. Generally speaking, you hit singles before you hit homers — and usually a lot more of them.
Unless you’re Joey Gallo.
Gallo, the Texas Rangers slugger, has always played a bit differently than other people in the game. But the feat he pulled off Wednesday might be the surest sign yet that Gallo is turning baseball’s record book upside down.
He hit this monster homer against the Pittsburgh Pirates. Let’s all marvel at it. It went completely out of the stadium at PNC Park.
— MLB (@MLB) May 8, 2019
The distance isn’t necessarily the most interesting part here. It was Gallo’s 100th career homer — a feat he reached in fewer games than anyone in American League history. He’s 25 and this was 377th career game.
But get this: He’s also the first person in MLB history, according to Elias Sports Bureau, to reach 100 homers quicker than he reached 100 singles. Crazy, right?
Just for context here: There are players — a good amount of them — who hit 100 singles in a season. Last year, Jean Segura hit 136 of them, the most in MLB. Dee Gordon hit 170 in 2017. Gordon already has 33 this season. Gallo has 93 for his entire five-season career.
This next stat might put all this into perspective. Before Gallo the lowest number of singles hit by someone when they reached 100 homers was 172. That’s a big difference.
Before Joey Gallo, the fewest career singles at time of 100th career HR was 172
Joey Gallo has 93!
Fewest career 1B at time of 100th HR:
1) Joey Gallo: 93
2) Russell Branyan: 172
3) Ken Phelps: 174
4) Ryan Howard: 176
5) Chris Carter: 179
6) Dave Kingman: 180
— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) May 8, 2019
Gallo is clearly a unique player. He strikes out a lot. He hits around .200 most years with like 40 homers. He’s the modern version of Adam Dunn without as many walks.
Earlier this season, he also accomplished an odd feat that’s completely understandable now that you know about Joey Gallo. He registered the first sac fly of his MLB career. The first one! After 1,337 plate appearances!
Yep, Gallo also holds the MLB record for most plate appearances without a sac fly.
Perhaps it’s a testament to how baseball is played in 2019 — teams are fine letting some players just go out there and swing for the fences. They’ll live with the other consequences. That’s an ecosystem that produces The Joey Gallo Home Run Machine.
But to Gallo’s credit, he’s hitting nearly .270 in the early part of this season. And he’s got a sac fly and 100 homers to his name.
Maybe at 25, he’s figuring out how to be a productive big-leaguer ... while also putting his own unique spin on the MLB record books.
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