I was quite taken aback to learn that the home run J.R. House hit on Saturday was the first of his major league career.
That’s right, the one-time great power-hitting, but oft-injured catching prospect for the Pirates, called up about a week and a half ago to fill in for the injured Jay Gibbons, still had yet to burst his dinger cherry up until a few days ago when he deposited a Jesse Litsch offering into the second deck in left field at the Rogers Centre.
When he wasn’t deciding to pursue his real passion of football, House is someone who has always intrigued me because of his power potential and catcher qualification. In fact, back in Spring Training, I talked about how House’s sleeper potential should he break camp with the O’s.
Well, obviously, he didn’t get the job, and spent the year at Triple-A Norfolk, putting up respectable numbers (.295 BA in 109 games with 51 runs, 31 doubles and 10 homers with just 59 Ks). But now that’s he back, the team may opt to take a close look at the 27-year-old down the stretch, and I’ll be watching closely myself.
Of course, House etched himself into history, in a manner of speaking, simply by being in the lineup Wednesday night as the Orioles’ DH. Baltimore, as you know, was hammered 30-3 by the Rangers that night, with Texas setting the modern-day record for home runs. No matter what becomes of House (perhaps he’ll head back to football again?), that lineup card will always have his name on it.