During Tuesday night’s game against the Rangers, Ben Revere bunted. It didn’t seem like anything particularly special; Ben Revere bunts all the time. He even bunts in the shower. What made that moment special was that it was the 1,409th plate appearance of Revere’s career, which was also his 1,409th consecutive plate appearance without a home run. With that seemingly innocuous bunt against Martin Perez, Revere broke Tim Johnson’s expansion era record for the most plate appearances in a career for a position player without a home run. In the grand scheme of things, this means absolutely nothing. This achievement will not be celebrated. It will not be talked about at whatever office water cooler you frequent. His bat will not be sent to the Hall of Fame for eternal enshrinement. Skip Bayless will not yell mercilessly into space at no one in particular about how Ben Revere is the greatest of all time. None of these things will happen. But that doesn’t mean Ben Revere isn’t an American hero.
Revere debuted in the big leagues on September 7th, 2010. Since that day Miguel Cabrera has hit 123 home runs, Travis Wood has hit 5, and Munenori Kawasaki has one lonely dinger. Since that day Barry Bonds has slashed .321/.491/.812 with 451 home runs. Whether due to a lack of strength, a swing not suited for loft, or an unwarranted fear of recreating The Sandlot, Revere has kept the ball in the yard for every single one of his 1,409 career plate appearances.
While Revere currently holds the record for most PA’s without a HR, his reign could end suddenly with a single swing. Many before him have overtaken Johnson’s record only to see their title disappear as they launched a dinger or two into the crowd before calling it quits. The three players with the most PA’s into their career without a homer in the expansion era were:
3.) Larry Bowa: 1,744 PA’s without a home run.
2.) Frank Taveras: 1,779 PA’s without a home run.
1.) Greg Gross: 1,890 PA’s without a home run.
1,890 PA’s is a lot of times to walk up to the plate with a wood stick and not use that wood stick to place a ball in the stands. Gross wasn’t even a bad player, putting up almost 10 WAR before he ever hit a home run. His first dinger came on 7/6/77, one day away from biblical immortality, against the Expos at Wrigley Field. It was a joyous day for Greg, the Gross family, and the entire city of Chicago.
If what Greg Gross did was impressive in some sort of weird way, then what Frank Taveras accomplished was much more impressive-er than Gross’ grossness. Taveras’ first home run came almost a month after Gross hit his first on 8/5/77. While Gross was able to hit his first dinger over an actual fence, Taveras had to settle for an inside-the-park home run. Such a novelty officially counts as a home run, but who the hell cares, I want to know when a player hit a ball over the wall. So then when was Taveras’ first over-the-fence-ball? The answer: 1,437 PLATE APPEARANCES LATER. WHICH IS ABSOLUTELY MIND-BLOWINGLY INSANE.
IT TOOK FRANK TAVERAS 3,216 PLATE APPEARANCES TO HIT A HOME RUN OVER THE FENCE. During one stretch in his career, Barry Bonds hit 275 home runs in 3,216 plate appearances. It took Taveras that long to hit just one. One dinger. One measly little over-the-fence ball. After over 800 career games, Taveras finally sent one to the peons in the bleachers on August 18th, 1979.
What Ben Revere has done, or really, what he hasn’t been able to do, is pretty astounding compared to the rest of baseball history. But if you look at what Ben Revere has done compared to what Frank Taveras did, Revere looks like Barry Bonds on steroids ;). At his current pace, Revere will need to play nearly four more seasons without a home run to catch Taveras.
Taveras holds a record meant to be broken, but more importantly, a record worth watching. But right now, all we can do as fans is stand up and cheer on Mr. Revere in his quest to play baseball the way it was played in 1899. Revere’s current title could evaporate at any moment so make sure you keep your fingers crossed that the wind keeps blowing in wherever Ben Revere can be found.