Photo credit: @PaulBraverman
By Jeremy Kahn
SAN FRANCISCO–When AT&T Park opened for business back on April 11, 2000, there is the San Francisco Bay Area, and the portion just beyond the right field wall was coined as “McCovey Cove,” by former San Jose Mercury News columnist Mark Purdy.
When you hit a home run on the fly into the cove they were called, “Splash Hits” and the count is noted on the 24-foot wall in right field.
In the 19 seasons that baseball has been played at AT&T Park, there have been 78 “Splash Hits” that have landed in San Francisco Bay on the fly.
It maybe just 309 feet down the right field line, but to hit a ball into the Cove, it is a little further, as you have the arcade seating, the passageway and the port walk, where the fans can watch the game through the knothole.
Nearly three weeks after the first regular season game against the Los Angeles Dodgers, Barry Bonds reached McCovey Cove for the first ever “Splash Hit,” hit by a San Francisco Giants player.
Bonds reached the Cove, as he launched a home run off of Rich Rodriguez, a left-handed reliever for the New York Mets.
Nine days later against the St. Louis Cardinals, Bonds reached the water twice in the same game against Cardinals starter Andy Benes and reliever Heathcliff Slocumbe.
Eleven months and one week after reaching the water against the Cardinals, Bonds joined a very exclusive club when he hit the seventh “Splash Hit,” off of Dodgers reliever Terry Adams. The two-run home run off of Adams was the 500th career home run for Bonds, and became just the 17thplayer to hit 500 home runs in a career.
Bonds hit the first nine “Splash Hits,” until Felipe Crespo reached the water on May 28, 2001 against the Arizona Diamondbacks and reliever Bret Prinz.
Crespo hit his second “Splash Hit,” om July 8, 2001 against the Milwaukee Brewers and pitcher Curtis Leskanic.
Bonds and Crespo were the only Giants player to have “Splash Hits” until J.T. Snow hit one off of Kyle Lohse of the Minnesota Twins on June 5, 2003.
Jose Cruz, Jr., hit the Cove for his first “Splash Hit” on July 8, 2003, as he took Dan Haren of the Cardinals into the Bay.
Michael Tucker made it a quintet on May 30, 2004, as he took left-hander Joe Kennedy of the Colorado Rockies for a swim into McCovey Cove.
Catcher A.J. Pierzynski joined the club, as he reached the water off of Denny Stark of the Rockies.
When Bonds retired at the end of the 2007 season, there were 45 “Splash Hits,” and 35 of them were hit by Bonds.
Since Bonds retired after the 2007 season, there have only been 33 “Splash Hits” by Giants players from 2008 to the present.
Both Pablo Sandoval and Brandon Belt are currently tied for second with eight “Splash Hits,” while Denard Span hit five in his two years with the Giants.
While the Giants have 78 “Splash Hits,” opposing players have hit 45 in the time span that the park has been opened.
Todd Hundley of the Dodgers hit the first “Splash Hit” by an opponent on June 30, 2000 off of former Giants closer Robb Nen.
Former major leaguer Ryan Klesko is the only player to have “Splash Hits” as a Giants player and as an opponent
Kevin Correia is the only pitcher serve up “Splash Hits” as a Giants pitcher and an opposing pitcher.
Carlos Delgado, Carlos Gonzalez and Adam LaRoche have the most “Splash Hits” hit by an opposing player with three.
There have been three post season “Splash Hits,” as Bonds turned the feat against the Cardinals on October 12, 2002, then Rick Ankiel of the Atlanta Braves reached the water on October 8, 2010 and then Bryce Harper hit the last post season “Splash Hit” on October 7, 2014.