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What is the origin of the walk-off home run?

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βˆ™ 2014-09-09 20:31:45

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Origins of the Walk-Off HR A walk-off home run is a term coined by famous relief pitcher Dennis Eckersley to signify a home run that immediately ends the game, so named because after the run is scored, the players can "walk off" the field. In order for this to happen, a member of the home team must hit a home run in the bottom of the last inning to either come from behind or break a tie. This type of home run is also called "sayonara home run", originally a Japanese baseball term, sayonara meaning "good-bye" in Japanese. Two World Series have ended via the "walk-off" home run. The first was the 1960 World Series when Bill Mazeroski of the Pittsburgh Pirates hit a 9th inning solo home run in the 7th game of the series off New York Yankees pitcher Ralph Terry to give the Pirates the World Championship. The second and most recent time was the 1993 World Series when Joe Carter of the Toronto Blue Jays hit a 9th inning 3-run home run off Philadelphia Phillies pitcher Mitch Williams in Game 6 of the series. Coinage If you are talking about the act itself -- that is, the physical act of hitting a home run that instantly wins and ends a baseball game -- then the walk-off homer is as old as baseball itself. On the other hand, if you are talking about the origin of the expression "walk-off home run," that's another question altogether.

The term first appeared in print in the San Francisco Chronicle on April 21, 1988. Writer Lowell Cohn wrote an article headlined "What the Eck?" about Oakland Athletics reliever Dennis Eckersley's unusual way of speaking:

"For a translation, I go in search of Eckersley. I also want to know why he calls short home runs "street pieces," and home runs that come in the last at-bat of a game "walkoff pieces..." Six months later, on October 15, 1988, Eckersley would surrender one of the most famous walk-off home runs of all time to Kirk Gibson in Game 1 of the 1988 World Series.
2014-09-09 20:31:45
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