Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Kyeong Kang sneaks into Mgm HR history

Elliot Johnson, did not make list
Elliot Johnson homered in spring training last week and I started wondering about Biscuits and their home runs, so I put together a list of the top home run hitters by year for the home team. It was enlightening!

Since the Biscuits came to town, our single season home run leader is Evan Longoria, who smacked 21 bombs in 2007.

Tied for second in Biscuit-era leaders with 20 homers, just behind Longo, is Delmon Young 2005 and Gabby Martinez 2008.

Rico Washington hit 19 in 2005 and Elijah Dukes had 18 for the same squad to round out the Biscuits top five.

The All Time Montgomery Single Season Home Run Record?
So glad you asked!

Greco hit 33, then 24 more!

For that we go way back to 1951, when the Rebels Dick Greco hit .310 with 33 homers in 110 games to lead the league and win MVP of the Sally League. An incredible season!

To put it into perspective, in 2007 Evan Longoria needed 105 games to hit 21 homers and we all knew Longo was on a torrid pace.

For Greco in 1951, a third of his at bats resulted in hits and a third of those hits were over the fence! At six foot three, 215lbs Greco was a big guy who could intimidate pitchers.

Greco leads in single season HR's
It must have been tough to lead the league in homers, win the league MVP and not get a promotion the next year but that is exactly what happened. The powerhitting career minor leaguer Greco followed his MVP season with another 24 long balls in 1952 to again lead the Montgomery squad.

Whiteman led in 1909-10
Dick Greco's 57 HR in two seasons is the highest of any Mgm player in back to back years. Its also the highest career total for a Mgm player, ahead of Gabby Martinez 53.

With that second season, Dick Greco is one of only three players to lead the Montgomery team in homers two seasons in a row - blog fave George Whiteman did it first, in 1909-10.

Kang led Skitz in HR 2012 & 2013
This past season when Kyeong Kang led the Biscuits in home runs for the second time, he quietly added his name to the short list of those who have led Montgomery in Homers in back-to-back seasons. 

Along with Dick Greco and George Whiteman, Kyeong Kang is the first Biscuit ever to lead the team in Home Runs in two different seasons.

Kang, who signed with Baltimore in the offseason, probably doesn't know he is the first man in sixty years to lead Montgomery in Homers in back-to-back seasons.


Robert "Smokey" Robinson
Dick Greco 31 HR in 1951
1972 Robert Robinson 28 hr
1968 Wayne Redmond 26
1980 Eddie Gates 25
1948 Ken Guettler 24
1952 Dick Greco 24
1952 Leonard Morrison 23 (second on team)
1975 John Valle 23
1971 Ike Blessit 22
1946 Bill Serena 22

Ed Mickleson
1950 Ed Mickelson 21
1954 Louie Schaufele 21
1959 James Bethea 21
1959 Peter Walski 21
1969 George Kalafatis 21
1978 Al Greene 21
2007 Evan Longoria 21

Delmon Young 2005 Homerun Derby
2013 Kang 15
2012 Kang 14
2011 Wrigley 17
2010 Fields/Nowak (tied) 11
2009 Hughes 15
2008 G.Martinez 20
2007 Longoria 21
2006 Coleman 17
2005 D.Young 20
2004 A.Clark 11

Other things stood out as I compiled the list - by hand of course....

Gabriel Martinez, the last Biscuit to hit 20HR
The first thing I noticed was that most of the highest totals were back in time, only Longoria has been added to the list since Eddie Gates in 1980.

We haven't had a team leader in homers with a single digit total since 1949, when Rob Humberson and George Lucas both finished with nine.

We have only had three 20-homer guys since the Biscuits arrived.

20 players have hit a dozen or more homers for the Biscuits in a season.

The lowest HR total of any Biscuits team leader is 11, Aaron Clark was the top HR hitter of the 2004 inaugural Biscuits team.

The 2006 Champion Biscuits team had five players with 13 or more homers. Coleman, Elliot Johnson, Owens, Christiansen and Ruggiano.

Three of the Biscuits top five single season HR leaders appear in 2005 when Delmon, Elijah Dukes and Rico Washington hit a total of 58 homers.

Since 2006, 17 is the most HR by any Biscuit not named Longoria or Gabby Martinez.

Ed Pabst hit 9 HR in 1896
The early years had lower totals, to be expected from the deadball era. From 1892 until 1939 the most homers a Montgomery player had hit was nine.

Two players hit nine homers, George Biggerstaff in 1930 equaled the number of four baggers put up way back in 1896 by Ed Pabst.

Ed Pabst's nine homers in 1896 was the Montgomery record for over 40 years. It wouldn't be surpassed until 1940 when Bill Adair hit 20 as the deadball era finally crept into history.

So with that I propose that the player with the most home runs on the Montgomery team be given an award, something fitting as a symbol of the excellence.

Perhaps the Pabst Blue Ribbon?

On February 18th of this year, Al Greene passed away at the age of 59. Greene hit 21 homers for Montgomery in 1978 to get into the top twenty list. He also had a cup of coffee the following season with the Tigers.
Al Greene with Tigers 1979

The Biscuits will all enjoy the refurbished infield and the new grass in the outfield, but happiest of all could be Skitz pitchers. The hurlers will be able to warm for games on a newly redesigned mound in the bullpen. Surely, after ten seasons it needed a bit of TLC, which it seems to have gotten ahead of the exhibition games.

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