On July 8, 1941, Ted Williams hit perhaps the most famous All-Star Game home run. His two-out, three-run, walk-off bomb at Briggs Stadium in Detroit gave the American League a 7-5 win over the Nationals. The victimized pitcher was Waynesboro native Claude Passeau. Passeau wore No. 13 most of his big league career and wore it well. The right-hander won 162 games – third-most ever for a Mississippi native – and threw a one-hitter in the 1945 World Series for the Chicago Cubs. He earned five All-Star Game nods. But luck frowned on the Millsaps College alumnus in the Midsummer Classic. In the ’41 game, his first, a botched double play would have ended the game before Williams batted. In 1942, he worked two scoreless innings in relief in a game the NL lost 3-1. He didn’t get in the ’43 game and the ’45 game wasn’t played. In 1946, Passeau, now 37 years old, got the start and went three innings, yielding just two hits. One of them, however, was a two-run homer in the first inning by Charlie Keller. The NL never scored and Passeau was saddled with another loss.
Never regarded as a power hitter at Mississippi State, Hunter Stovall stepped to the plate for his first professional at-bat on Saturday night and — you guessed it — hit one out. He apparently enjoyed it so much, he hit another home run in his second at-bat for the Grand Junction Rockies of the rookie Pioneer League. A 21st-round pick by Colorado last month, Stovall finished 3-for-4 in his first game, driving in four runs all told. He hit .321 for the Bulldogs in 2018, helping fuel their run to the College World Series. But he hit just four homers in his three-year career at State. The ball does fly in Colorado, where Grand Junction is located, but still, it was an impressive debut. “You’re here for a reason, don’t worry about the numbers, just go out and play,” Grand Junction manager Zack Osborne told milb.com after the game. On base for both of Stovall’s homers was Will Golsan, the Ole Miss product who was drafted in the 26th round this year. He also went 3-for-4 on Saturday and is at .311 in 17 games. Golsan, playing left field, and Stovall, a second baseman, hit 1-2 in the order. Also on the Grand Junction roster is ex-Ole Miss pitcher Ryan Rolison, who was the 22nd overall pick by the Rockies this year. He has yet to make his pro debut. How’d so many Mississippi products wind up on this one club? It is no coincidence that Mississippian Damon Ianelli, a former Southern Miss assistant under Hill Denson, is a longtime Colorado scout.