Any major league baseball player can hit a home run. It's rare, however, to get one without hitting the baseball outside of the park.
It requires a lot of speed, and usually it requires an outfielder taking a risk that doesn't work out.
Colorado Rockies outfielder hit his second inside-the-park homer of the season on Saturday night, this time in the ninth inning to lead his team to a 5-4 win over the San Francisco Giants. And he had the combination talked about above.
Giants centerfielder Angel Pagan took a bad angle on a ball that went through the right field gap and, by the time the ball reached the right field wall things were pretty much over. The speedy Barnes rounded third base and dove headfirst into home without much of a close play:
"I'd really like to hit one out so I can just jog -- that would be easier," Barnes told MLB.com after the play:
"I always make it hard on myself."
Barnes had eight homers last season with the Astros, but both of his homers this year with the Rockies have been of the inside-the-park variety. That's odd considering the Rockies' home park is one known for having balls fly out at an incredible rate.
In fact, he's the first Rockies player to have two in a season and just the third Rockies player to have two in a Rockies uniform, adding his name to the list of Ellis Burks and Clint Barmes:
"Barnesie has a tendency to be in the middle of things, dust flying and all that," Rockies manager Walt Weiss told MLB.com:
"He's been a real clutch player for us."
Usually a player hitting multiple inside-the-park homers would also have remarkable speed and a lot of stolen bases. But Barnes has just four this season and 13 stolen bases in his major league career.
The inside-the-park homer is definitely a lost art. None of the top 20 in career inside-the-park homers are modern day players with the New York Giants' Jesse Burkett leading the way with 55, according to Baseball Almanac. His major league career began in 1890. Ty Cobb is the American League all-time leader.
Only two players (Toby Harrah, Bump Wills) have ever hit back-to-back inside-the-park homers and Roberto Clemente is believed to be the only player to ever hit an inside-the-park grand slam.
Back to Barnes, however. He was excited to have completed the feat in front of his family, who made the trip from Anaheim to watch the game:
"They don't get to see me play much," Barnes told MLB.com.
"When we come back to Cali, and we come back to San Francisco and San Diego, it's special. Today I got to start. I just wanted to have fun with it. I had the support of my family."
Speaking of San Diego, the last player who hit two inside-the-park homers was Tony Gwynn, Jr., who accomplished the feat in 2010 for the Padres. Odds are good, then, that Barnes won't do it again this season.
Check out the inside-the-park homer below:
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