The origins of McCovey Cove, splash hits

November 20th, 2020

One of the defining characteristics of Oracle Park lies beyond the right-field wall, in the small piece of the San Francisco Bay known as McCovey Cove. Named for Hall of Fame slugger , one of the most popular Giants in franchise history, the body of water has served as an enticing target for left-handed hitters since the ballpark opened in 2000.

Sportswriters Mark Purdy and Leonard Koppett are credited with coining the moniker, as they thought it was a fitting nod to McCovey, who likely would have launched dozens of balls into the bay had he played at the waterfront ballpark instead of the windswept Candlestick Park.

Home runs that are hit over the right-field wall and land in McCovey Cove on the fly are dubbed “splash hits,” which remain a thrilling, yet elusive feat for hitters.

Here is everything you need to know about McCovey Cove and the history of splash hits:

How many splash hits have been recorded by Giants players?
Through the 2020 season, the count is at 83.

Who is the all-time leader on the splash hit leaderboard?
No surprise here: Barry Bonds, who tallied 35. Brandon Belt is a distant second with nine. Up next is Pablo Sandoval with eight, Denard Span with five, and seven players with two each: Felipe Crespo, Michael Tucker, Ryan Klesko, Aubrey Huff, Andres Torres, Brandon Crawford and Mike Yastrzemski.

How many splash hits have been recorded by visiting players?
51 -- Daulton Varsho of the D-backs joined the club most recently on Sept. 5, 2020, when he became the first visitor to hit his first career home run into McCovey Cove.

Which visiting player has logged the most splash hits?
Carlos Delgado and Adam LaRoche are tied for that distinction, as they each recorded three splash hits.

Who was the first player to record a splash hit?
Bonds, of course. His three-run home run off Mets left-hander Rich Rodriguez on May 1, 2000, marked the first splash hit in Oracle Park history.

Have there been any splash hits recorded in the postseason?
Yes, three: Bonds, off the Cardinals’ Chuck Finley on Oct. 12, 2002; Rick Ankiel, off Ramon Ramirez on Oct. 8, 2010; and Bryce Harper, off Hunter Strickland on Oct. 7, 2014.

Have there been any walk-off splash hits?
Yes, three: Bonds, off the Braves’ Ray King on Aug. 19, 2003; Crawford, off the Rockies’ Rex Brothers on April 13, 2014; and Yastrzemski, off the Padres’ Matt Strahm on July 29, 2020.

Are there any players who have recorded a splash hit as a Giant and as a visiting player?
Only one: Ryan Klesko.

Have any American League hitters produced a splash hit?
Yes: David Ortiz, Mitch Moreland, Adam Dunn, Rougned Odor and Shin-Soo Choo.

Have any right-handed hitters homered into McCovey Cove?