The inside-the-park home run: arguably the most exciting play in baseball! Admittedly, I made the same claim about “Little League home runs,” and there is some overlap between the two. To clarify, there’s nothing that beats the experience of watching a batter sprint all the way around the bases after putting a ball in play.
Fortunately, we have television footage of many of these unconventional homers:
- Bret Barberie at Cardinals (June 13, 1994)—The first inside-the-park home run ever credited to a Marlin was made possible by an outfield collision. Barberie’s is the only one in Fish history to be fielded by an infielder, as second baseman Geronimo Peña ventured deep into center to assist. It was also an extremely clutch play, tying the score at 1-1 in the top of the ninth inning.
- Edgar Rentería vs. Reds (April 5, 1997)—Even more so than Barberie’s, this ball was easily catchable if not for the miscommunication between Deion Sanders and Reggie Sanders. Instead, Rentería turned it into a game-tying homer in the bottom of the ninth, forcing the game into extras. He later gave the Marlins a walk-off victory with a run-scoring single in the 11th.
- Kevin Millar vs. Cubs (May 24, 1999)—Millar’s first career major league homer was also a game-winner, aided by Sammy Sosa’s inability to locate the ball near Wrigley Field’s ivy-clad wall. Close play at the plate!
- Hee-Seop Choi vs. Astros (May 19, 2004)—This home-to-home sprint took about 17 seconds for the rookie slugger.
- Emilio Bonifacio vs. Nationals (April 6, 2009)—Bonifacio got his on Opening Day 2009 in what was his Marlins debut. He made an amazing first impression on his new fanbase throughout that entire week before coming back down to Earth. It took more than two years for the Dominican speedster to actually get an over-the-fence dinger for the Fish.
So beautiful— Fish Stripes (@fishstripes) February 2, 2021
Fantastic news: MLB Film Room has added this original, high-definition, local TV call of *THE* Emilio Bonifacio Marlins inside-the-park home run from Opening Day 2009 pic.twitter.com/CMfW77tGiS
- Cameron Maybin vs. Brewers (May 31, 2010)—Trailing Milwaukee 4-0 heading into the later innings, the Marlins flipped the game on its head with 13 unanswered runs! Maybin was right in the middle of that offensive barrage.
- Dee Gordon vs. Giants (June 30, 2015)—I’d be willing to bet that Gordon’s home-to-home dash was the fastest ever for a Marlins inside-the-parker. What a dynamic leadoff man he was at his peak.
- J.T. Realmuto vs. Brewers (September 8, 2015)—The final month of the 2015 season was also the final month of Marlins Park’s original, cavernous outfield dimensions. Since then, any batted balls similar to Realmuto’s have cleared the fence.
- Realmuto at Phillies (August 24, 2017)—FOX Sports Florida play-by-play announcer Rich Waltz was convinced that this was a game-tying two-run shot. Realmuto technically proved him right by hustling all the way.
- JT Riddle at Padres (May 29, 2018)—Statcast estimates that this ball traveled 266 feet in the air, 87 feet less than Riddle’s next-shortest home run during that season.
- Jazz Chisholm Jr. vs. Braves (July 10, 2021)—This play, unfortunately, will be best remembered for the right knee injury that Ronald Acuña Jr. suffered when attempting to make the catch.
The Marlins all-time leader in inside-the-park homers? World Series champ Kurt Abbott (three).
Here is the full list:
I’ll be keeping this updated throughout 2021 and beyond.