Entering Saturday night’s game, Luken Baker, the first baseman for the Memphis Redbirds — Triple-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals — had 14 home runs on the season and 75 in his Minor League career. But it’s unlikely that any of those were like the one he hit in the first inning on Saturday.
The Norfolk Tides (the Triple-A affiliate for the Baltimore Orioles) struck first, scoring three runs in the top of the first inning. Norfolk’s pitcher, Ryan Watson, was well on his way to a shutdown inning in the bottom half of the first, retiring Memphis’ first two hitters, bringing Baker to the plate with nobody on.
Watson jammed Baker, shattering his bat. Ordinarily, the best-case scenario for the hitter after breaking his bat is an infield single or maybe a ball that avoids all defenders and lands in the shallow part of the outfield for a weakly-hit single. But this was no ordinary situation.
Baker’s broken bat swing still produced a home run. And this was no wall-scraper. The ball went 412 feet, easily clearing the left field wall in Memphis.
WHAT JUST HAPPENED?!?!?!? pic.twitter.com/BXiaguJPsv
— Memphis Redbirds (@memphisredbirds) May 27, 2023
Baseball fans were impressed by the awesome power display.
Did he just… https://t.co/jlayTJRPFA
— Kevin Wheeler (@KevinWheeler94) May 28, 2023
Get this absolute unit on the Cardinals somehow.
— Cardinal fan (@Cardinallfan) May 28, 2023
A broken bat home run, that's what happened. https://t.co/YTidWXo05M
— Nick Gazerro: Part 2 (@nikgazcs2) May 28, 2023
Nah Luken not fair 😂💪🏾 https://t.co/DjKZNiNmOP
— Roosevelt® (@Roosevelt_h45) May 28, 2023
I watched this twice and I still don’t believe it happened https://t.co/WoTK7XwK3Y
— Quinn (@QuinnSTLCards) May 28, 2023
Coming into Saturday, Baker was slashing .314/.437/.617. With Triple-A numbers like that, combined with the kind of raw power we saw on Saturday night, he shouldn’t be in the minors for much longer.
[Photo and Video Credit: Memphis Redbirds]