Miami leadoff hitter Jazz Chisholm made a big first impression, taking the first pitch of the game from Atlanta starter Ian Anderson deep for a home run. Braves leadoff man Ozzie Albies matched Chisholm’s accomplishment in the bottom of the first inning. He took the first offering from Elieser Hernández over the wall for a home run of his own.
Jazz starts things off right!
Reminder: Tonight's broadcast is on Bally Sports Sun in South Florida!
— Bally Sports Florida: Marlins (@BallyMarlins) April 23, 2022
— Atlanta Braves (@Braves) April 23, 2022
So, not only did both leadoff men homer, but both did so on the first pitch their respective teams saw in the game. While this isn’t unprecedented, it’s exceptionally rare.
MLB.Com’s Sarah Langs tweets that this had only happened one time since pitch counts began being tracked in 1988. Interestingly enough, the previous time also involved the Marlins, though that was Miguel Rojas, not Chisholm.
THIS JUST HAPPENED FOR THE 2ND TIME IN THAT SPAN
Jazz Chisholm, MIA: 1st-pitch leadoff HR
Ozzie Albies, ATL: 1st-pitch leadoff HR
2nd time that both team's leadoff hitters hit a 1st-pitch leadoff HR in same game since pitch counts have been tracked (1988) https://t.co/5vWxCq45cW
— Sarah Langs (@SlangsOnSports) April 23, 2022
It’s not surprising that this is rare. Leadoff hitters generally aren’t the most powerful hitters in the lineup. Also, their job is traditionally to not only get on base but see a lot of pitches. This is particularly the case in the first inning, to give the rest of the team an adequate scouting report. So, they are rarely up there looking to swing at the first pitch.
That said, this being so uncommon is surprising. While leadoff guys may not be known for their immense power, they are generally good hitters. Also, starting pitchers are often most vulnerable at the beginning of games and will frequently try to get ahead in the count with an easy strike, assuming the hitter will not swing. When the hitters do swing, those pitches are often hittable.
So, while we wouldn’t expect things like this to happen often, that it’s only happened twice in 34 years is surprising.