Hunter Renfroe’s 100th career homer gives Red Sox off-field drama
The Boston Red Sox now have their great moment in negotiation history. An RSN answer to the Treaty of Versailles, the Paris Peace Accords, and the Treaty of Paris that gave the United States their independence. This time it was a negotiation team designed to secure a historic baseball.
Hunter Renfroe slugged a solo home run in the fifth inning. His third hit of the evening and his 100th career home run. A career milestone. Unlike Jim Piersall, Renfroe did not run the bases backward on his 100th. The main culprit in the drama that transpired was Tigers’ left fielder Robbie Grossman. His actions instigated a tenuous diplomatic discussion.
Renfroe’s blast was a bullet that bounced around the left-field barrier before plopping in front of Grossman. Grossman simply tossed the offending article that had made the score 9-3 into the stands. An elated fan now had manna from baseball heaven and Renfroe was without a milestone possession.
"“I don’t know if it’s the right one or not, but I got a ball and they wrote, ‘100 career homers.’ So I don’t know if it’s the right one or not, but we’ll see.” – Hunter Renfroe"
The Red Sox quickly summoned a diplomatic team to negotiate a settlement. They may not have had a Benjamin Franklin or Klemens von Metternich. Still, they had items for discussion. The fortunate fan negotiated a rather low ball price for this most cherished of baseballs. The eventual replacement was a ball signed by Eduardo Rodriguez and Garrett Richards. Two pitchers and pitchers are acutely aware of home runs.
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Maybe the fans should have held? Sal Durante was a 19-year-old who caught or fought for the 61st home run slammed by Roger Maris in 1961. That blast broke Babe Ruth’s record of 60 and earned Maris fame and an asterisk. Boston’s Tracy Stallard gave up the historic blast. Durante auctioned off the ball and received $5,000.
For Renfroe, it may have been the start of something big since 2021 has not been a nice place. Renfroe is no stranger to home runs or strikeouts. A career 27.9 K%. But the right-hand hitter did paste 85 over a three-year spread of 2017-2019 while with San Diego. Last season with Tampa Renfroe hit eight while batting an anemic .156. That made him expendable.
This season Manager Alex Cora has been judicious spotting Renfoe using him as often as possible against lefties. A career .216 against righties will do that. This season Renfroe has finally escaped the Mendoza Line and is now at .222 with an 81 wRC+. Just maybe this career blast will turn it around?
A further issue is job security as Renfroe and Franchy Cordero are both on thin roster ice. With Jarren Duran waiting in Worcester both or at least one may be vulnerable to a roster purge. For Renfroe his big night and three dingers so far this season could be a savior. When all is said and done, Renfroe is finally showing signs of the guy Chaim Bloom sought out this past winter and now he has another trophy for his mantle.