Top 10: Final homers for a moving team – Remembering Gail Harris

I don’t know whether you noticed, but besides Larry Hagman, Gail Harris, the last player to hit a home run for the New York Giants before they moved to California, passed away this long Thanksgiving weekend. He was 81.

Harris hit two home runs on Sept. 21, 1957, against the Pirates at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh, leading the Giants to a 9-5 victory. Harris went 4-for-5, also tripling, scoring three times and driving home seven. It was Harris’ last homer as a Giant as he was traded to Detroit before the 1958 season and had the best year of his career, hitting .273 with 20 homers.

With Harris in mind, I thought you would like to know the name of the other players who hit the last homer for a team before they moved.

Here’s your top 10 grand finales:

  1. The last home run for the Boston Braves was hit on September 27, 1952 by Eddie Mathews. Not only did Mathews hit the last Boston Braves homer in this game at Ebbets Field against the Brooklyn Dodgers, he hit the last three homers. This was the second-to-last game of the season. The two teams, the next day played a 5-5, 12-inning tie. BTW: Mathews was the only player to play for the Braves in Boston, Milwaukee, and Atlanta.
  2. The last home run hit by a St. Louis Brown was on September 26, 1953 hit by Billy Hunter at the first Busch Stadium in St. Louis. The losing pitcher in that game was the Browns’ Don Larsen.
  3. The homer for the Philadelphia Athletics was hit on September 25, 1954 by Lou Limmer against the Yankees in Yankee Stadium. it was the last homer of Limmer’s career.
  4. The last home run hit by a Brooklyn Dodger was on September 28, 1957 by Randy Jackson at Connie Mack Stadium in Philadelphia. The game marked the last appearance for Pee Wee Reese in a Dodgers’ uniform. In the top of the 9th, Rod Miller pinch-hit for Jackson and Reese came in to play third for the bottom of the 9th.
  5. The last home run for the Washington Senators (the version of the Senators who moved to Minnesota) was hit on September 28, 1960 by Bob Allison at Washington’s Griffith Stadium off Whitey Ford of the New York Yankees. Mickey Mantle hit two homers in this game (both off Chuck Stobbs) to give him 40 for the season. The Senators played two more homer-less games.
  6. The last home run for the Milwaukee Braves was hit on October 2, 1965 by Gene Oliver. This game was played against the Dodgers in Los Angeles and Oliver’s homer was the lone run scored off Sandy Koufax in a losing cause. Oliver, the Braves catcher, was the number three batter in the Braves lineup hitting between Hank Aaron and Joe Torre.
  7. The homer for the Kansas City Athletics was hit on October 1, 1967 by catcher Dave Duncan (yeah, the great pitching coach) off Yankee pitcher Mel Stottlemyre in New York. The losing pitcher in that game was Catfish Hunter.
  8. The last home run hit by a Seattle Pilot was on October 2, 1969 by Steve Whitaker at Sick Stadium. Whitaker also hit the second to last homer the day before. Ray Oyler went 1-for-2 for the Pilots to boost his average and finish his season 42-for 255, a .165 batting average.
  9. The last home run for the Washington Senators (the version of the Senators who moved to Texas) was hit on September 30, 1971 at RFK Stadium in DC appropriately by big Frank Howard. This game was the final game in RFK stadium and when fans stormed the field with two outs remaining in the 9th inning, with the Senators leading 7-5, the umpires declared a forfeit to the Yankees. Hondo homered off Mike Kekich.
  10. The last homer hit by the Montreal Expos was hit by Brad Wilkerson on October 2, 2004 off the New York Mets at Shea Stadium. In the hope of being the last Expo to homer, Juan Rivera and Val Pascucci homered off Al Leiter in the 6th inning, but Wilkerson homered in the 9th off Braden Looper to get the honors.