Ryan Zimmerman started the day a home run away from passing Washington Senators’ great Frank Howard for the all-time home run lead in Washington, D.C. baseball history.
Zimmerman got No. 238 in the third inning, when he hit a first-pitch fastball from Colorado Rockies’ lefty Kyle Freeland out to right field in Nationals Park for a game-tying, three-run, opposite field home run.
Zimmerman, 32, has had a big franchise record-breaking season this year.
On July 22 in Arizona’s Chase Field, Zimmerman passed the Expos’ Tim Wallach to move into first place all-time on the franchise list (Montreal/Washington) with 361 career doubles, then on July 17th in Cincinnati’s Great American Ball Park, Zimmerman passed Expos’ outfielder Vladimir Guerrero for the most home runs in franchise history (Montreal/D.C.) with his 234th.
This is the one D.C. baseball fans were waiting for, however, since it was the mark for any player in the history of baseball in the nation’s capital.
Howard hit his 237 HRs in 4,412 plate appearances as a Senator. Zimmerman reached 237 in his 6,408th PA in a Nationals uniform, and topped “Hondo” in his 6,415th.
The Nationals’ PR staff reached out to Howard in advance of Zimmerman’s record-breaking blast and got the following quote from the slugger:
“Ryan Zimmerman — this guy is something very special. I’ve met him three or four times, and you don’t have to be a Rhodes Scholar to know this guy is the ultimate professional, the pro’s pro. Besides his outstanding athletic ability, he carries himself with dignity on and off the field. He has tremendous presence, and he is class personified.
“If he continues putting these kind of numbers up for another six, eight, 10 years, this young man is going to walk into Cooperstown, New York, and into Baseball’s Hall of Fame. He is the epitome of what organizations look for in their personnel: quiet, unassuming, but the aura about him is one of dignity and class. You want to know how I feel about it? Nobody is happier for him than me. The sky is the limit.”