Watch every single inside-the-park home run from the 2016 season
Of the 5,610 dingers hit in 2016, only nine were inside-the-park home runs. That's 0.2 percent, if we round up. But what inside-the-parkers lack in quantity, they make up for in aesthetic brilliance. No two inside-the-park home runs are the same; each is wild and thrilling and wonderful in its own way.
But which inside-the-park home run exhilarated us the most in 2016? We ranked all nine from this season, from the standard trot around the bases to the melt-your-face-off full-bore sprint.
9. Ryan Zimmerman jogs home
Inside-the-park home runs cannot be planned -- there is no scheming for one. The opportunity simply appears, and it is your job to take advantage. They are gifts of circumstance. Sometimes, that circumstance is two Marlins outfielders colliding into each other:
Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna remained down while Zimmerman jogged home, but both stayed in the game.
8. Jean Segura with the first of the year
Segura hit 2016's first inside-the-park home run ... against the future World Series champions, no less.
But the play was most notable for its repercussions: Kyle Schwarber tore his ACL and LCL on the play, keeping him out for the entire regular season. Things turned out all right for him in the end, though.
7. Brett Lawrie does it both ways
Look, in all of this talk about inside-the-park home runs, we shouldn't forget: Regular home runs are pretty great, too. Lawrie understands this, and he followed up his first career inside-the-park home run with a regular ol' dinger in June for what was his first-ever multi-homer game:
6. Stephen Drew takes Dusty Baker on a roller coaster
Every inside-the-park home run is a roller coaster of emotions -- the hard-hit pitch, the sailing arc of the baseball, the "Where's it going to land?" moment, the race home -- but some are more roller-y coaster-y than others. Take Drew's ninth-inning inside-the-parker:
In the words of Dusty Baker, "I was watching Stephen -- I was like, 'Oh no!' Then I was like, 'Oh yeah!"
5. Anthony Rizzo drives in some runs
Of the nine inside-the-parkers in 2016, only one resulted in multiple runs: With Kris Bryant on first and Ben Zobrist on third, Rizzo thwacked a ball that flew right between Billy Hamilton and Adam Duvall. The Reds' outfielders nearly collided, the ball got away from them and all three Cubs came home to score:
Hamilton left the game as a precaution, but he was back in center field the very next day. Those Cubs' runs, though, stayed on the board.
4. Eduardo Nunez is off to the races
Nothing sets the tone for a game quite like a leadoff home run -- just ask Dexter Fowler and the Cubs. But when that home run is of the inside-the-park variety, like Nunez's against the Rays in June …
That tone is: Baseball is awesome, man.
3. Byron Buxton shows off his Byron Buxton speed
Nunez's rookie teammate also hit a leadoff inside-the-park home run (you might say they're twins), and Buxton's ranks higher for two reasons.
1. It led off the Twins' final game of the season -- earning bonus points for leaving the folks with something to carry them through the frozen, baseball-less tundra of winter. 2. Check out those Statcast™ numbers, which included the fastest home-to-home time of the year:
Now, let's check out an artist's rendering:
2. Dansby Swanson's first home run
Swanson went homerless through his first 15 games after getting called up by the Braves in mid-August. But baseball fans knew that the first overall pick would not be denied for long. What they probably didn't expect, however, was that Swanson's first career homer would stay within the confines of the field:
According to Statcast™, Swanson topped 20-mph on his sprint and made it around the bases in fewer than 15 seconds. That's certainly one way to introduce yourself.
1. Tyler Naquin's Photoshop-worthy walk-off
He was a rookie coming up clutch. LeBron James was watching. It was just the second walk-off inside-the-park home run in Indians history. There are many reasons why Naquin's inside-the-parker was the best of the season -- and one of the best plays, period, of 2016 -- but really, what more do you need than this?
That's an "I just hit an inside-the-park home run" face if there ever was one.