Very Well Then

Contradicting myself, always contradicting myself

The Great South Dakota Home Run Chase

Posted by verywellthen on May 17, 2010

[Updated 7/25/2010 — Jason Kubel hits a grand slam against the Orioles today.  With the home run, he takes the lead in the Great South Dakota Home Run Chase for the first time.  The latest stats below.]

Here is the updated South Dakota HR count:

Jason Kubel 83
Mark Ellis 82

Original Post dated May 17, 2010 follows:]

After Jason Kubel’s grand Grand Slam on Sunday, I decided to go see how the Great South Dakota Home Run Chase was going.    I know Mark Ellis is the record holder for native sons of the Mt. Rushmore State and was wondering how Jason Kubel was doing in advancing on him.  I was surprised to see how close things were — just 6 Home Runs separating the two after Jason’s big homer.  Apparently, I hadn’t checked in a while.  I know it’s hard to believe, but I must have had better things to do.

But now that the buzz is beginning to gather from Aberdeen to Sturgis, I present to you the race as of end of baseball day, May 17, 2010:

               From   To    PA  HR 
Mark Ellis     2002 2010  3605  80 
Jason Kubel    2004 2010  1988  74
Dave Collins   1975 1990  5507  32

Provided by View Original Table
Generated 5/18/2010.

As a Twins fan, I am pulling for Jason Kubel, the boy from Belle Fourche, on this one.  Mark Ellis, the pride of Rapid City, still has the lead.  But  Jason has going for him both the first derivative (velocity) and the second derivative (acceleration) on this home-run projection, and should pull into the lead sometime soon.  Mark is still playing (well, once he comes back from the DL)  and maybe this could see-saw back and forth a bit, but I think he’ll have to turn over the crown to Kubel for good sometime soon.

You have to admit, this is the Golden Age of South Dakota Home Runs.   Until Mark Ellis came along, the career home run leader from a native South Dakotan was 32.    The Grand Total of home runs by a South Dakotan (as of the original date of this posting) is 227.    Marquis Grissom hit that many just by himself.    Howard Johnson surpassed that total.

I believe that by the time Jason Kubel’s career is over, he’ll present South Dakota with a formidable record for the state home run king.   But, for the mean time, that’s a pretty wimpy record.

Now, up there in North Dakota — South Dakota’s fraternal twin and my home state — they know how to hit some home runs.   With less than half the representation of Major Leaguers (15 native NoDaks to 36 native SoDaks), the Northern friends have 358 homers.    That’s Yogi Berra territory.  A couple more dingers by all-time North-Dakota-Home-Run-King Travis Hafner(166 HRs),* and the Great State of North Dakota will pull even with Gary Gaetti on career home runs.

I’ll note that we are coming to the end of the Golden Age of North Dakota Home Runs, with Travis Hafner appearing to have his best days behind him and Darin Erstad (124 HRs)at or near retirement.  Before those two, Ken Hunt held the record of 33 (still a step ahead of  the classic-era South Dakota record).

* No, it’s not Roger Maris**.  Roger was born in Hibbing, Minnesota, but grew up in North Dakota.  Roger is third on the Minnesota list w 275 HRs, behind Dave Winfield (465 HRs) and Kent Hrbek (293 HRs).  State total 2650 HRs w/ 153 MLB players.

**  My mother went to high school with Roger Maris at Fargo Shanley High School.  I shook his hand when I was a wee kid at my mom’s 20-year class reunion.  I remember on the way to the reunion, my brother exclaiming that Roger Maris was going to be there.  I asked, “who’s Roger Maris?”  My brother laid into me.  “You don’t know who Roger Maris is?”   “He’s the home run record holder, stupid.  He broke Babe Ruth’s record.”   I was no dummy.  I knew who Babe Ruth was.   But, by shame, I got a baseball lesson.   I recall “Mr. Maris” (as I called him) to be very nice.

Until the nationwide excitement settles down, I’ll try to keep the Great South Dakota Home Run Chase up to date.  (Or maybe I’ll figure out how to have the stats update themselves.  Anyone?)


4 Responses to “The Great South Dakota Home Run Chase”

  1. verywellthen said

    5/18 — made a few edits and cleaned up the table so that you could view it on an iPhone without having to turn it sideways.

  2. kennyrogers said

    I know for a fact Cal Ripken Jr. lived in Aberdeen, he must have a bunch of homers. There are people still in town who babysat him. His baseball card says he was born in Aberdeen, but there is some confusion about that. Cal Sr. was manager of the Pheasants. NO, NOT THE SIOUX FALLS PHEASANTS, HE MANAGED THE ORIGINAL ONES, THE ABERDEEN PHEASANTS ! ! !

  3. kennyrogers said

    Boston Red Sox Mangager Terry Francona was definitely born in Aberdeen, South Dakota, and played for the Expos/Reds/Brewers/Cubs/Indians and his 16 career major league homers would place him fourth on the list.

  4. […] The Great South Dakota Home Run Chase […]

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