As the world continues to bunker down for the extended period of no live baseball, many reach for the memories, facts and topics that speak about the game. The good news is, the game has plenty of history – both recent and distant – to help fill that desire.
A few days ago in this space, we took a look at a strange coincidence in the careers of Vladimir Guerrero Sr and Jr. The same day that Vlad Jr obtained his first run batted in of his career, another prospect was being robbed – again.
Nick Senzel’s rookie year for the Cincinnati Reds was, in large part, a fairly successful start to his career. It wasn’t flashy by any means. But a .256/.315/.427 batting line with 12 home runs, 42 runs batted in and 14 stolen bases is nothing to simply discard.
He debuted with the Reds on May 3 as the center fielder and hit second against the San Francisco Giants. His first big league at bat, the at bat so many dream of, came in the bottom of the first against Tyler Beede. After a standing ovation and working the count full, Senzel would send a fly ball into shallow center field for what appeared to be his first big league hit. The Giants’ own center fielder, Kevin Pillar, had other intentions however. A sliding grab from Pillar would rob Senzel of his first big league hit (see the video at MLB.com here).
Senzel would go on to get his first hit later that game. In the bottom of the eighth inning off reliever Sam Dyson, Senzel would leg out an infield hit to third base.
But Kevin Pillar and Nick Senzel were not quite done. Your first big league hit is a big deal. But your first big league bomb is another.
The following day on May 4, the same day that Vlad Jr was busy driving in his first run, Senzel took his shot. In the bottom of the third with two outs and the bases empty, he sent a long fly ball almost directly at the 404-foot sign in center field. It was there that Pillar would scale the wall, wait while hanging there, and rob Senzel yet again (that video is here on NBC Sports).
Don’t feel too sorry for Senzel, however. In the bottom of the fifth inning he sent a shot to right field that wasn’t in any danger. The kid had his first home run of his career.
Pillar couldn’t rob him forever.
Bill Ivie is the founder of i70baseball
He has written for Yahoo Sports, Bleacher Report, Baseball Digest and many other baseball outlets.