From the “Various and Sundry” files

Baseball season is upon us. The action begins April 2 in Chicago, home of the (I can write this for the first time in my life) defending World Series champion White Sox. Anyone familiar with the game will tell you that pitching and defense are the keys to winning, but what gets all the attention? Home runs. Here are some Major League home run record facts you can use to stump your friends:

  • In 1920, Babe Ruth out-homered every American League team when he hit 54. The St. Louis Browns came the closest - they hit 50. That year, Ruth also out-homered seven of the National league teams. Only the Philadelphia Phillies hit more than Ruth, with 64 long balls.

  • The teammates with the longest last names ever to hit back-to-back home runs are Juan Encarnacion and Frank Catalanotto, then of the Detroit Tigers, who went yard consecutively against the Toronto Blue Jays on Sept. 25, 1998. Their 22-letter names beat out the Boston Red Sox 21-letter combo of Carl Yastrzemski and Tony Conigliaro, who accomplished the feat on May 16, 1965.

  • The record for most inside-the-park home runs for a single season (12) was set by Shawn Crawford in 1901. He also is the holder for most career inside-the-park home runs with 51.

  • Duke Snider of the Brooklyn Dodgers hit a record 19 home runs off one pitcher - Robin Roberts, setting a number for the ages. With many more teams and more frequent player transition and pitching changes, Barry Bonds, for instance, has yet to hit 10 off of any one pitcher.

  • Mickey Mantle of the New York Yankees hit the most dingers in a lifetime by a switch-hitter - 536.

  • The most homers hit by a teenager is 24, by Tony Conigliaro, a 19-year-old rookie in 1964. At age 20, he became the youngest home run champion in American League history. At 22, he became the youngest ever player to reach 100 taters. His career ended following a 1967 beaning.

  • Since Mother's Day was established in the early 1900s, Frank Robinson has hit the most home runs on that holiday, with nine. The Hall of Fame outfielder is the manager of the Washington Nationals.

  • Of the more than 16,000 major league baseball players in history, fewer than half (nearly 7,000) have ever hit one out of the park.

  • In 1919, Babe Ruth broke the single-season home run record with 29. The next year, he became the first major leaguer to hit 30 homers in a season, 40 homers in a season and then 50 homers in a season - all in the same year.

  • The most 4-baggers hit on Friday the 13th is a three-way tie between Oakland Athletics and New York Yankees Hall of Famer Reggie Jackson, retired Cincinnati slugger George Foster and San Diego Padres third baseman Vinny Castilla, with six apiece.