By: Tim Van Duyne
In a 1-1 game in the 8th inning between the Oakland A’s and the Los Angeles Angels Tuesday night, slugger Mike Trout ripped a line drive into left field with Howie Kendrick on first barreling around the bases. The A’s young phenom, left-fielder Yoenis Cespedes needed to make a good throw to prevent Kendrick from making it from first to third on the hit.
Well, Cespedes misplayed the ball off of his glove and it trickled to the left field wall in foul territory. So of course, with a fast runner in Kendrick, third-base coach Gary DiSarcina waived his second baseman home, for what should have been a stand-up go ahead run. DiSarcina was almost sure of it.
“After he bobbled it and it bounced off the wall, the way Howie can run … I didn’t think it would be anywhere near where it was,” DiSarcina said.
I’m not saying that the Angels underestimated Cespedes’ arm, because I’m sure everyone has seen what kind of arm he has, but they underestimated Cespedes’ arm. Earlier this month Cespedes threw out two Angels’ runners at the plate in one inning. Dude has a cannon.
The left field foul pole is 333 feet at Angel Stadium of Anaheim, so that means Cespedes threw the ball over 300 feet, probably closer to 320 feet, IN THE AIR!
There have been some great throws in the past. Kansas City Royals’ outfielder Bo Jackson’s perfect throw to wring out Harold Reynolds way back on June 5, 1989 comes to mind. This throw also came in a similar situation to Tuesday’s game. The game was tied at three in the 10th inning. So both throws were potential game savers.
Despite the tremendous throw from Cespedes, the Angels went on to beat the A’s in the bottom of the 14th on Collin Cowgill’s walk-off homer.
The real question is: When will teams stop running on Cespedes?
Bo Jackson has the best toss of the 20th century. Yoenis Cespedes has the greatest throw of the 21st century.