With his dramatic, 9th inning, walk-off grand slam against Cleveland on Friday night, Adam Dunn collected his 26th homerun of the season. That puts him precisely on pace to wallop 52 homeruns in '06, matching the Reds' seasonal HR record set by George Foster 29 years ago in 1977. Will Dunn keep at it? Can he match or break Foster's record?
He certainly has a fighting chance. Dunn ended '04 with 46 home runs, and collected 40 last season. In both years, he did just as well the second-half of the season as the first half.
Last year, he hit 20 home runs from April-June and 20 more from July-October. His '04 stats were also remarkably consistent -- 23 HR from April-June and 23 HR from July-October.
Barring an injury, we could be looking at Reds history in the making. And even if the Foster record doesn't fall, the chase is going to keep this summer exciting, whether or not the team can sustain its playoff hopes.
Besides savoring Dunn's individual feats, we also ought to be celebrating just how special our current outfield is as an offensive unit. We've now played 81 games or half the season. All three of our outfielders are on pace to hit 30 home runs. To give you an idea of just how amazing that is, no Reds outfield since the beginning of the franchise has ever boasted three guys who all hit 30 home runs in the same season.
We came tantalizingly close in 1956, when Frank Robinson whacked 38, Wally Post 36 and Gus Bell fell just short of the mark with 29 home runs. The three combined for 113 dingers.
By comparison, our '06 Reds outfielders Dunn, Griffey and Kearns have 58 home runs at the halfway mark, meaning they'll hit 116 if the second half goes as well for them as the first half.
None of us can predict what is yet to come. But based on what we've seen so far in '06, we have more reason to rejoice than to carp. Enjoy the moment. Seasons like this don't come around every decade, not even every quarter-century or more.