• Fifth Bear in the big leagues homers in his first at-bat for hometown Astros

    Mark SaccomannoThose who know me know well that I’m almost as big a fan of the Houston Astros as I am of Baylor, so it gave me great pleasure to read yesterday that former Baylor baseball letterman Mark Saccomanno had been called up to the big leagues. When I saw during last night’s game that Saccomanno was called upon to make his big league debut last night, pinch-hitting in the fifth inning, I was particularly pleased. But none of us could have dreamed that the Houston native would begin his major league career — in front of family and friends in the city he grew up in — by hitting the first pitch he saw for a home run! (Click here for video of the home run, and here for Mark’s thoughts on the game.)

    Saccomanno was just the 22nd player in Major League Baseball history to homer on the first pitch he ever saw in the big leagues, but it wasn’t the first time he had ever hit a home run at Minute Maid Park. In 2001, as a junior at Baylor, he homered twice during the Astros College Classic, helping the Bears to wins over Houston and TCU.

    Saccomanno spent this season playing for the Astros’ Triple-A affiliate, the Round Rock Express. After driving in the winning run in the Triple-A All-Star Game, he finished the year among the league leaders in hits, total bases, home runs, doubles, RBI, runs scored and slugging percentage.

    His arrival in the big leagues gives Baylor five alumni in the majors, the program’s most ever at one time. (Six previous years — 1912, 1983, 1985, and 2005-07 each saw four Bears in the bigs in one season.) Saccomanno joins Kip Wells (Kansas City Royals), Jason Jennings (Texas Rangers), Kelly Shoppach (Cleveland Indians) and David Murphy (Rangers) — all prodigies of Baylor head coach Steve Smith — on major league rosters right now.

    Sic ’em, Saccomanno and all the baseball Bears!

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