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Sat. Jun 15th, 2024

Gunnar Henderson’s final home run helped the Baltimore Orioles star make history

By meerna Jun11,2024

The television broadcast had not yet fully loaded, and Baltimore Orioles shortstop Gunnar Henderson had already taken the field.

On Monday, Henderson crushed the first pitch he saw from Tampa Bay Rays righty Ryan Pepiot, sending a fastball 430 feet straight to center. This gave Baltimore an initial 1-0 lead, and they ended the four-game series with a 5-2 victory.

It was Henderson’s 21st home run of the season and the ninth home run of the 22-year-old’s career.

According to OptaSTATS, Henderson currently has the second-most home runs under the age of 23 in MLB history. Atlanta Braves outfielder Ronald Acuña Jr. owns the record with 19, and San Diego Padres star Fernando Tatis Jr. also has nine.

Henderson has also moved up on several other lists recently tracked by MLB.com’s Sarah Langs.

All 21 of Henderson’s home runs in 2024 have been without drives. That’s the second most among all players in 65 games, behind only former Orioles outfielder Brady Anderson, who had 24 games under his belt in 1996.

Henderson also ranks sixth in home runs scored by a player 22 or younger through his team’s first 65 games.

Harmon Killebrew set the record with 24 in 1959, which was unchallenged until Johnny Bench who scored 23 in 1970. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bryce Harper and Alex Rodriguez each scored 22, while Mel Ott is tied with Henderson (21).

The reigning AL Rookie of the Year finished Monday’s contest 3-for-5, swiping a team-high seven total bases. He is currently batting .274 with 21 home runs, 46 RBI, eight stolen bases, a .974 OPS and 4.6 WAR.

Henderson is on pace with 52 home runs, 115 RBI and 11.5 WAR, making him a top contender for AL MVP honors. If he achieved that mark, Henderson would break the records for most home runs and RBIs by a leadoff hitter, which were set last year by Acuña and Mookie Betts, respectively.

The Orioles will begin a three-game series against the Braves on Tuesday. The first whistle is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. Eastern time.

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By meerna

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