The history of the “splash hit” is beautifully illustrated and tracked in a new interactive created by Column Five Media for Stubhub.
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As presented in the interactive, McCovey Cove is not an easy place to hit a ball into. And it is even harder to track all of the different aspects of hitting the ball into the Cove. Column Five Media has created a fun, interactive way to learn the history of the Cove, named for the mighty first baseman Willie McCovey.
Not sure how many he would have it into the Cove, but I am wondering how many balls would have went through the brick wall in right.
It is hard enough to hit one out as a lefty, but the interactive correctly shows that no right-handed hitter has ever hit a ball into the cove.
As it stands currently, 107 balls have been hit into the cove, and Bonds still leads the rest of his teammates 35-33. (Hopefully Brandon Belt can help overtake the home run king in this category this year.)
Former Giant Pablo Sandoval has the second-most splash hits with six, and Belt has the most by active Giants with four.
Ryan Klesko is the only player to hit one for the Giants and an opponent. He hit one for the Padres in 2003, and then hit two with the Giants in 2007.
A quote from the interactive states that a physics experiment was reported in SFGate that it is required to hit the ball at least 105 mph off the bat, hitting it with a backspin of 1800 rpm, and a vertical angle between 30-45 degrees.
Basically the Park was made for Barry Bonds. There are a few other left-handed power hitters that could hit the ball into the stands consistently. But most of those hitters would also lose a few home runs to right based on how high the wall is. A perfect combination of power and loft on the ball is required.
It’s really amazing to think that AT&T Park has possibly already seen its greatest hitter, as well as the Cove’s biggest contributor. Nothing against the next crop coming up, Belt will conquer the Cove more than a few times and Jarrett Parker has the swing to do it as well.
But as we move into the next phase of sports. it is highly unlikely that a player will play long enough to challenge many of these records that were set recently.
Hopefully I am wrong, but as long as the team on the field performs consistently well, the individual records don’t really matter.