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EMILIO BONIFACIO & Inside-the-Park Home Runs By Players From the Dominican Republic

Emilio Bonifacio of the Marlins heads home (Reuters photo by Carlos Barria)

Emilio Bonifacio of the Marlins heads home (Reuters photo by Carlos Barria)

 

On Monday afternoon, Florida Marlins third-baseman Emilio Bonifacio made headlines by recording the first inside-the-park homer on Opening Day in over four decades.  For Bonifacio, a switch-hitting 23-year-old native of the Dominican Republic, it was the first “long ball” of his major league career, and he did it in his Marlins debut against the same Washington Nationals squad that traded him over the winter.  For all that, the Florida fans demanded a curtain call.

As a footnote, the pitcher that served up the “blast” –right-hander Julian Tavarez– is also Dominican, which prompted me to examine all the inside-the-park homers hit by players from the D.R.  Starting with Cardinals second baseman Julian Javier’s accelerated tour of the bases on 7/8/1967 in Philadelphia, a total of 41 inside-the-parkers have been hit by 34 different Dominicans.  Prior to Bonifacio’s earier this week, only Carlos Febles of the Royals had managed to hit one off one of his countrymen.  For Febles, it was also the first homer of his career, coming on 4/14/1999 in Cleveland against the Indians Bartolo Colon.

Alfredo Griffin, Angelo Encarnacion & Timo Perez also hit their first major league homers without clearing the wall.  Other players who’ve done it include Javier’s son Stan, and the Bell brothers –George & Juan– who did it within six days of each other. 

Roberto Pena, Frank Taveras & Luis Polonia all stroked inside-the-park grand slams.  Joaquin Andujar remains the only Dominican pitcher to hit an inside-the-parker.  The following players from the D.R. have achieved the feat twice:  Manny Mota, Cesar Geronimo, Juan Samuel, Luis Polonia, George Bell, Sammy Sosa & Angel Berroa.

The only pitcher to allow more than one inside-the-parker to a Dominican player is former Cy Young winner Barry Zito, who surrendered a pair of them when he was with Oakland.

Here is the complete list of Dominican Inside-the-Park Home Runs in the major leagues:

7/8/1967 – JULIAN JAVIER (Cardinals @ Phillies) off Dick Hall

7/1/1969 – MANNY MOTA (@ Dodgers v. Astros) off Denny Lemaster

5/30/1970 – ROBERTO PENA (@ Brewers v. Tigers) off Les Cain    ***Grand Slam!***

6/29/1971 – CESAR CEDENO (@ Astros v. Braves) off Phil Niekro

6/11/1972 – MANNY MOTA (@ Dodgers v. Pirates) off Bruce Kison

7/2/1972 – CESAR GERONIMO (Reds @ Padres) off Mike Corkins

6/10/1975 – CESAR GERONIMO (@ Reds v. Pirates) off Bob Moose

8/5/1977 – FRANK TAVERAS (Pirates @ Reds) off Doug Capilla   ***Grand Slam!*** (1st career HR)

8/14/1979 – JOAQUIN ANDUJAR (@Astros v. Expos) off Bill Lee

8/28/1979 – ALFREDO GRIFFIN (@ Blue Jays v. A’s) off Rick Langford (1st career HR)

4/30/1983 – JULIO FRANCO (Indians @ Royals) off Steve Renko

6/6/1984 – GEORGE BELL (Blue Jays @ Tigers) off Aurelio Lopez

8/7/1984 – JUAN SAMUEL (Phillies @ Expos) off Bryn Smith

8/10/1984 – TONY FERNANDEZ (@ Blue Jays v. Orioles) off Dennis Martinez

8/25/1985 – JUAN SAMUEL (@ Phillies v. Giants) off Jim Gott

6/9/1986 – MARIANO DUNCAN (@ Dodgers v. Reds) off Tom Browning

6/15/1987 – DOMINGO RAMOS (@ Mariners v. White Sox) off Jim Winn

7/29/1990 – FELIX JOSE (Athletics @ Twins) off David West

8/14/1990 – LUIS POLONIA (@ Angels v. Yankees) off Tim Leary    ***Grand Slam!***

8/9/1991 – LUIS POLONIA (@ Angels v. Athletics) off Dave Stewart

5/22/1992 – STAN JAVIER (@ Dodgers v. Pirates) off Stan Belinda

9/18/1992 – GEORGE BELL (White Sox @ Indians) off Dave Mlicki

9/24/1992 – JUAN BELL (@ Phillies v. Cubs) off Frank Castillo

8/19/1995 – ANGELO ENCARNACION (@ Pirates v. Marlins) off Chris Hammond (1st career HR)

9/3/1995 – GERONIMO BERROA (Athletics @ Yankees) off David Cone

5/26/1997 – SAMMY SOSA (Cubs @ Pirates) off Francisco Cordova

4/14/1999 – CARLOS FEBLES (Royals @ Indians) off Bartolo Colon (1st career HR)

5/21/2000 – ENRIQUE WILSON (@ Indians v. Yankees) off Orlando Hernandez

9/24/2000 – TIMO PEREZ (Mets @ Phillies) off Bruce Chen  (1st career HR)

10/6/2001 – SAMMY SOSA (@ Cubs v. Pirates) off Tony McKnight

5/11/2002 – RAUL MONDESI (Blue Jays @ Athletics) off Barry Zito

8/1/2003 – ANGEL BERROA (@ Royals v. Devil Rays) off Joe Kennedy

9/17/2004 – ABRAHAM NUNEZ (Royals @ Indians) off Rick White

5/15/2005 – ANGEL BERROA (@ Royals v. Devil Rays) off Mark Hendrickson

5/26/2006 – VLADIMIR GUERRERO (@ Angels v. Orioles) off Todd Williams

7/23/2006 – ADRIAN BELTRE (@ Mariners v. Red Sox) off Mike Timlin

9/4/2006 – NELSON CRUZ (Rangers @ Athletics) off Barry Zito (Cruz hit one over the fence later that game)

9/7/2006 – JOSE REYES (@ Mets v. Dodgers) off Brad Penny

9/27/2006 – HANLEY RAMIREZ (@ Marlins v. Reds) off Todd Coffey  (He also hit one over the fence earlier)

8/31/2007 – EDWIN ENCARNACION (Reds @ Cardinals) off Anthony Reyes

4/6/2009 – EMILIO BONIFACIO (@ Marlins v. Nationals) off Julian Tavarez (1st career HR)

 

by Mal Allen

malallen@live.com

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