5/6/2013 12:11 P.M. ET
For Revere, it has never been high, far and gone
Phillies outfielder has 1,172 big league plate appearances without a homer
By Zack Meisel / MLB.com
Some of the elements of May 30, 2011, elude Ben Revere's memory.
For instance, it was a Monday. It was Memorial Day. It was a warm evening, with a first-pitch temperature of 77 degrees.
One detail has not escaped Revere's mind.
"That's the last time I hit a home run," Revere said.
Revere commenced the bottom of the first with a long ball to right field for the Rochester Red Wings, the Triple-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. Revere can illustrate a vivid picture of how the scenario unfolded.
"It was a 3-2 count," Revere recalled. "The guy tried to come inside with a fastball, and I just turned on it and lifted it up into the jet stream, and it went out. I hit that pretty well.
"It's been a long time since then."
So it has.
Revere's Triple-A stint lasted less than two weeks. He resumed his big league career three days after his blast, the last of his five career Minor League home runs. He has logged 1,172 plate appearances at the Major League level, but has never deposited a pitch beyond the outfield fence.
"There have been a couple where I have connected." Revere said. "I just hit it to the deepest part of the park and it hits the fence."
Emil Verban, a second baseman in the 1940s, stepped into the batter's box 2,592 times before he ultimately socked the only home run of his career. After his second roundtripper in 1926, infielder Tommy Thevenow never homered again, a span of 3,605 plate appearances. Jerry Remy, a second baseman for the Red Sox from 1978-84, hit seven homers in the Majors but ended his career with a drought that lasted 2,585 trips to the plate. Catcher William Holbert, who played from 1876-88, logged 2,396 plate appearances and never circled the bases.
Revere pegs his own goose egg on a variety of circumstances.
There is frequent misfortune.
"When the wind is blowing out, I can't get anything," Revere said. "But when the wind is blowing in, I crush the ball. It's just one of those deals where I just don't know what to do."
There is the lack of forgiveness from his former home ballpark.
"In Target Field, you have a big right-field wall," Revere said. "I don't know how many times I hit the middle of that thing."
There is the preference by his coaches that he focus on poking singles and stealing bases.
"If I come out of the woodwork to try to get one," Revere said, "[manager] Charlie [Manuel] would pop out of the dugout and be like, 'Easy there.'"
In fact, in the past, Revere had been specifically instructed to tune his swing to produce ground balls and line drives.
"If I hit the ball in the air a lot," Revere said, "coaches will get mad and say, 'Hey, that's enough with all that stuff.' So I don't even try, to tell you the truth.
"If it happens, it happens. I know everybody wants it to happen, but with my speed, they say, 'You don't need to. With your speed, you can be a top hitter in the league just doing that. If you try to hit a home run, you're going to get in trouble.' So I don't even think about it."
It's not always so simple, however. Jason Tyner endured a similarly notorious streak during his eight-year career, and he couldn't dodge reminders of his empty home run total. A slap-hitting outfielder, Tyner took until his 1,319th trip to the plate before he finally belted his first home run.
"It was in Cleveland, and up on the scoreboard, it had how many at-bats I had without a home run," Tyner said. "They liked to put that up every time I came up to bat. It's a little bit of a relief, because after a while, you get tired of hearing about it."
Power or otherwise, it often behooves any big leaguer to find his niche. Tyner compiled a career average of .275, including a .333 mark as a pinch-hitter.
"It was kind of like a badge of honor," Tyner said, "just the fact that I was able to stay in the league for as long as I did without being a power hitter."
The last two years, Revere had established an on-field identity as an energetic singles hitter who racked up stolen bases and was difficult to strike out. Those attributes lured the Phillies into acquiring him from Minnesota in December.
To this point, he hasn't panned out as Philadelphia had hoped. Revere is batting .212 with a .496 OPS.
"He's had a hard time getting going," Manuel said.
Revere remains eager to prove to Phillies fans what he can provide. Other spectators, the ones who badger him about his power shortage, will have to wait.
"Some of the fans know and they say, 'You have all these at-bats but no home runs. What's the deal?'" Revere said, shaking his head. "I'm just like, 'If you only knew, then you'd understand.'"
One day, perhaps, Revere will turn on a pitch and thrust the ball into a gust of wind that carries it into the outfield seats. If it happens, he certainly won't forget anything about the moment.
"I'll just have to get lucky," Revere said. "The day I do it, it's going to surprise me. I'll be right with the people going crazy."