09/18/2004 12:49 AM ET
Peavy in select company
Padres righty is third pitcher tagged for 700th HR
By Mark Newman / MLB.com
Jake Peavy. Ken Brett. Tommy Bridges.
|Jake Peavy joins Ken Brett and Tommy Bridges as pitchers who have surrendered 700th homers. (Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Those three pitchers share the distinction of giving up the only 700th career home runs in Major League Baseball history.
Peavy, San Diego's ace right-hander, joined the group Sept. 17 when Barry Bonds powered an 0-1 offering over the left-center field wall in SBC Park for his historic 700th home run, much to the delight of the hometown faithful in San Francisco.
Peavy, who has had a sensational season in leading the Padres to contention, at least can take solace knowing that he is in some pretty fair company -- and seemingly destined to be more than a future trivia answer.
Brett, the brother of Hall of Famer George Brett, was pitching for the Phillies when he threw a fastball that Hank Aaron hit to left-center for No. 700 on July 21, 1973, at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium.
In his book entitled "Hank Aaron And The Home Run That Changed America," author Tom Stanton wrote:
"Brett, the pitcher, stood facing his dugout, hands propped on hips while an outfield scoreboard glowed with the number 700. As Aaron rounded third base, coach Jim Busby greeted him with one hand and swatted his rear with the other. No swarm of players waited at the plate, but Darrell Evans, who had scored, was just beyond. 'Henry didn't say anything,' said Evans. But when Aaron touched home, he broke into a smile."
Ken Brett was 13-9 that season, beginning to emerge as a quality starter after coming over from the American League to join the Phillies for that 1973 season. He finished his career with an 83-85 career record, and passed away last November.
Bridges pitched his entire career with the Detroit Tigers, from 1930-46, and pitched in four World Series. His first one was 1934, the year he went 22-11, and in July 13 of that season at Tiger Stadium, he surrendered home run No. 700 to Babe Ruth.
In the 1993 book "Cobb Would Have Caught It: The Golden Age of Baseball in Detroit," former Tiger great Charlie Gehringer said of Bridges: "He had probably the best curveball I ever stood behind. I've seen him throw that curveball at a guy's head, and the batter would fall flat on his rear end thinking it was going to hit him, and then the ball would go over the plate for a strike."
In the final analysis, neither Brett nor Bridges are remembered as "the guy who gave up No. 700." Certainly not the way former Dodger Al Downing is remembered as "the guy who gave up No. 715" to Aaron. Peavy entered his start on Sept. 17 with a 12-5 record and phenomenal 2.45 ERA, and if he keeps pitching the way he has all this season as one of the game's rising stars, it is unlikely that he will be remembered simply as the Padre pitcher who gave up No. 700 to Bonds.
Mark Newman is enterprise editor for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.