Jason Giambi has broken one of Hank Aaron’s career records. He did so Tuesday in the bottom of the ninth inning of the Cleveland Indians 3-2 victory over the Chicago White Sox. The 42 year old is the third oldest player in Major League Baseball this year, and now is officially the oldest player to hit a walk off home run.
Batting just .194 this season, he has been anything but the productive player he was earlier in his career, but it took just one swing for him to break Hank Aaron’s record and become the oldest player to hit a walk off home run. At 45 days older than Aaron was when he hit his last walk off homer in the big leagues, Giambi proved that despite his paltry numbers he is still a dangerous bat to face with the game on the line.
Hank Aaron hit his last walk off home run on July 11, 1976. Only one other player has hit a walk off home run at 42 years of age, that being Tony Perez of the Cincinnati Reds in 1984. Aaron would hit just one more home run in his career after his last walk off.
The home run was the seventh of the season for Giambi, who has struggled to find consistent success this season. He has continued to walk often however, enough so that he still maintains a .301 on base percentage.
Coming into the game as a pinch hitter, Giambi certainly wasn’t expected to break Hank Aaron’s record Tuesday. The walk off home run was the ninth of his career, and the tenth time he has delivered a home run as a pinch hitter.
After the game he received the traditional ice bath from his teammates, something he joked about with reporters afterwords.
“I might catch pneumonia,” he said laughingly. “I’m too old to get a bucket of cold water dumped on me.”
Teammate and friend Nick Swisher couldn’t hide how happy he was that Giambi hit the 1-1 pitch over the fence in the post-game interviews.
“It jumped out of there like a golf ball. Gorgeous. That just shows what he’s capable of doing. When you’re getting up near the Thome Terrace, you’re doing something.”
For the Tribe it was their eighth walk off win of the season, and fourth via the big fly. Just a half game out of the American League Wild Card race, and two and a half games behind the Tigers in their division, they will look to build off of the momentum created by Giambi breaking Hank Aaron’s record.
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Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express