It may seem like a strange request, but the St. Louis Cardinals’ #53, John Gant, has a chance to become a trivia answer for centuries. He best not blow the “save” here by attempting to swing.
St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher John Gant is the only person in baseball history to hit two (or more) home runs and never reach base in any other manner. Like some weird form of whiffle-ball where there are only strikeouts and home-runs, John Gant has appeared as a batter 50 times and has either made an out or hit a home run.
That record is too precious to break, in Redbird Rants‘ opinion.
Almost 150-years of baseball history is nothing to sneeze at, folks. This is not one of those records that is obscured by the selective baseball record-keeping practices pre-1919. They kept home run records in the nineteenth century. They kept hit records and bases on balls.
The 27-year-old Gant is of course still very much an active pitcher. So “never” can quickly become “once” if Gant is called upon to, say, bat against the Colorado Rockies tonight. And as tempting as it might be, playing at the home run launching-pad that is Coors Field, for Gant to attempt to keep the string going – and make it even more fabulous – with a third home run, he might hit a triple, and screw the whole thing up.
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Gant should definitely intentionally strikeout. From now, until he hangs up his spikes. No one will know his intent… but him! To the rest of the world, it will just look like another pitcher-strike out. Ho hum.
If Gant were to be traded to an American League team, because of the designated hitter rule in that league, we would rarely ever have to fear him batting again. In the meantime, though, Gant, (10-0, 3.16 ERA, 1.0 WAR for 2019) is far too important a bullpen piece in the Cardinals’ 2019 playoff push. He will probably have to bat again.
But for the sake of the record, he should not swing. Even risking a bunt – which could easily be “too sweet” and turn into an Official Scorer single – is not worth the risk. Perhaps, if there is a runner on base, that runner could attempt to steal in order to make Gant’s at-bat be a productive at-bat.
It is frightening to me that since August 30, 2018 when Gant hit his last home run (to deep left-center on a 2-1 pitch from Joe Musgrove at Busch Stadium), Gant has been allowed to bat six times! And swing too!!
Mike Shildt seems to not care as much as Redbird Rants about this important record. (Maybe he does not know about it; someone should tell him). Just recently, on August 26, with the Cardinals leading 9-2 in the fifth inning, Gant made a fly-ball out to deep (of course! .. it’s John Gant) right field. I get not needing to pinch hit for Gant with a seven run lead, but could Shildt not have had someone else mop up the Brewers and not risk this epic record?
I will also call upon the opposing fielders to be on their toes. Even reaching first on an error slightly sullies the record. And, opposing pitchers, … please be on your best control. We are giving you a free out here to pad your ERAs. Because a walk … almost totally ruins the record.
Baseball is the most amazing sport for records. It has the oldest record book in pro sports, worldwide. When records are broken, or “never-before” baseball occurrences occur, it is always worth noting. These are the baseball equivalent of solar eclipses.