The date was May 2, 1948. A (then) 21-year-old Brooklyn Dodgers outfielder from Escondido, CA, hit his first career major league home run as a Dodger rookie. It was an inside-the-park home run. That young Dodger rookie, who would soon come to be known as ‘The Duke of Flatbush,’ would finish his brilliant 18-year major league career with 407 home runs and would gain baseball immortality in 1980 when he was enshrined into the Baseball Hall of Fame. He is, of course, the great Edwin ‘Duke’ Snider.
The date was April 3, 2021. A soon-to-be (on April 29) 26-year-old Los Angeles Dodgers utility infielder/outfielder from Toledo, OH, hit his first career major league home run as a Dodger rookie against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field in Denver, CO. It was an inside-the-park home run; the first Dodger rookie to do so since Duke Snider in 1948. That Dodger rookie is Zach McKinstry.
Believe it or not, this was not McKinstry’s first inside-the-park home run … no, really. His first home run as a high schooler at North Side High School in Fort Wayne, IN was also an inside-the-park home run.
“This one was definitely a little cooler. I think I hit this one a little harder, too,” McKinstry told reporters after the Dodgers eventual 6-5 win over the Rockies. “And my parents were here, so that was awesome.”
“Zach is a very unemotional guy, controls his emotions,” Dodgers manager Dave Roberts said after the game. “To see him after he crossed home plate come toward the dugout, all that excitement and energy, was fun. For me as a manager, those are things I’ll remember forever.”
Way to go, Duke!
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