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The Journey to 100 Splash Hits

It took the San Francisco Giants nine games to hit a ball at least 366 feet into McCovey Cove, the area of water that had been named after a beloved slugger from a bygone era. But once Barry Bonds blasted the first one on the first day of May 2000 against the Mets' Rich Rodriguez, the journey to 100 Splash Hits officially commenced. For much of the next eight years, Barry Bonds dominated that unique statistic. After all, it is widely believed that the ballpark was made specifically for him, with its dimensions often favoring left-handed batters.

In the ensuing month alone, Bonds would hit four into the Pacific Ocean with names such as Andy Benes, Heath Cliff Slocumb and Mike Thurman looking like fools for lofting their pitches within the great slugger's vicinity. As the season went along, both Brian Meadows and Steve Parris would also fall victim to Barry Bonds' unique skills.

At the time, 100 very much seemed within reach before the close of the decade and that feeling would only intensify in 2001. Bond started hot and never let up, hitting Splash hits in back-to-back games in April against the hated Dodgers and another a month later against the Rockies' John Thomson. Up to this point, it had only been Bonds on the Giants that had blasted one into McCovey Cove. On May 28, just four days after Bonds hit his ninth Splash Hit, Felipe Crespo joined in on the festivities, hitting one against the eventual World Series champion Arizona Diamondbacks and their pitcher Bret Prinz. Exactly two months later, Crespo hit his second Splash Hit, making it 13 for the Giants with 11 belonging to their vaunted slugger.

The rest of the season, all of the next and the first quarter of 2003 belong to Bonds as he hit 12 Splash Hits after Crespo's second. No other Giants player had any during this time. One of those happened after the terrorist attacks on 9/11. At the time, Barry Bonds was on a historic pace to break the single-season home run record and pledged to donate $10,000 to the United Way's disaster relief fund for every home run he hit thereafter. While one can only hope that he kept his promise, Splash Hit number 17 would have given $10,000 of support for the victims of 9/11.

It's worth noting that not every Splash Hit was in the regular season. The first post-season Splash Hit in Oracle Park's history was in Game 3 of the 2002 NLCS. On October 12, Barry Bonds blasted the 23rd Splash Hit off of the Cardinals' Chuck Finley. While Saint Louis would go on to win the game 5-4, San Francisco had the last laugh as they won the next two games to stamp their ticket to the World Series.

As the years went on by, Barry Bonds was there for all the early milestones of the Splash Hit. He was the one who hit the 30th on August 19, 2003 and he was very much there in the moment when he slammed number 40 on September 18, 2005. But as he got older, the Splash hit became scarcer. In 2006, the Giants managed to hit just one over the wall of McCovey Cove. Of course, it was Barry Bonds that hit it on August 21, 2006. It had been 11 long months and the crowd at PacBell Park was relieved to witness such a site.

The Great Splash Hit Drought continued through the rest of the year and into the next, Bonds' last as a player. Fittingly, it was he that quenched another drought, blasting one off of Ryan Franklin on April 18, 2007. Ryan Klesko joined in on the festivities to blast numbers 43 and 44 in May and June of that year off of Trever Miller and Livan Hernandez.

Barry Bonds' 35th and final Splash Hit occurred in the first inning against the Nationals on August 8, 2007, Tim Redding to be his last victim. That was also the last Splash Hit for 2007 and since his retirement, no one has come close to Barry's 35 Splash Hits.

In 2008, forgettable names such as Fred Lewis and John Bowker were the only two Giants to hit Splash Hits. In 2009, the crowd was introduced to future World Series heroes as Andres Torres (6/15/09) and Pablo Sandoval (7/30/09, 8/29/09) hit Splash Hits numbers 48, 49 and 50. Aubrey Huff recorded number 51 on 5/1/2010 and number 52 on June 16. Meanwhile, Torres and Sandoval continued in their hard-hitting ways, blasting numbers 53, 54, 55 and 56 from July 28, 2010 through July 4, 2011. Nate Schierholtz recorded one against future Cy Young winner R.A. Dickey on July 8, 2011 and Pablo Sandoval ended August 2011 with one of his own specialties.

Carlos Beltran hit number 59 on September 14 and rookie Brandon Belt blasted his first just 13 days later. He would hit Splash Hits 61, and 62 on June 14, 2012 and September 4. After a nearly two-year absence, Pablo Sandoval returned to his Splash Hitting ways, blasting one on May 12, 2013. Brandon Crawford hit a walk-off against the Rockies on April 13, 2014 and blasted his second of the year a month and a day after the first.

On September 12, fans rejoiced when little-known, soon-to-be NLCS legend Travis Ishikawa blasted on off of the Dodgers' Kevin Correia. Thirteen days later, Brandon Belt recorded his first for the year off of Andrew Cashner. It would be the last that the ballpark would see of the Giants for a year and a half. Like Bonds before him, it was Belt that was called to deliver the Giants out of their drought, recording one against Boston's David Price on June 8, 2016.

Denard Span recorded Splash Hit number 70 five days later in the first inning against Milwaukee's Chase Anderson and hit number 71 against the Mets' Bartolo Colon on August 20. The 2017 season was not kind to the Giants as they struggled through one of their worst outings ever. But despite the constant losing, the club still enjoyed numerous Splash Hits from the law offices of Belt & Span. Together, the duo would hit five for the year.

Sandoval and Belt would hit numbers 77 and 78 on April 4, 2018 and June 15, respectively and Stephen Vogt and Scooter Gennett would blast numbers 79 and 80 on August 9 and 11 of 2019. Brandon Belt would record Splash Hit number 81 on August 29 and Mike Yastrzemski would hit number 82 on July 29, 2020 and number 83 on September 25 in front of no fans during the COVID-19 shortened season. He finally got his chance to blast one in front of the fans on April 24, 2021 in the ninth inning against the Marlins' Yimi Garcia. Three days later, Brandon Crawford got his chance to hit one in the ninth inning against the Rockies' Daniel Bard.

On June 15, Steven Duggar and Yastrzemski each blasted one against the Diamondbacks, a rarity for the unique statistic. Four days later, Brandon Belt joined in on the festivities against Aaron Nola and on the last day of July, LaMonte Wade blasted one against Zack Greinke, one of the better pitchers of his era. Number 90 was recorded by Alex Dickerson on August 11 against Arizona's Tyler Clippard. At that moment, the Giants had every reason to believe that number 100 was just around the corner. How wrong they were.

Wade blasted number 91 on September 17, ending the historic season with eight Splash Hits recorded by the team. Jason Upsler recorded number 92 on April 30, 2022 and Mike Yastrzemski hit number 93 on May 8. Recent pickup Joc Pederson hit number 94 on May 24 and hit number 96 on August 30. He waited just three days to hit number 97 against the eventual NL champion Phillies. Number 98 was recorded by Wade on April 8, 2023 and number 99 was recorded by local product Brandon Crawford two weeks later.

On June 2, 2023, LaMonte Wade hit historic number 100 against the Baltimore Orioles and bedlam instantly hit Oracle Park like a wave on the beach.

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