It finally happened. Terrance Gore, a Chicago Cubs outfielder known mainly for his speed and defense, finally picked up his first major-league hit.
Gore, 27, entered the Cubs 10-3 loss to the Washington Nationals as a pinch hitter with his team down by nine runs in the ninth inning on Saturday. He promptly grounded a single up the middle against three-time Cy Young award winner Max Scherzer. Not a bad pitcher at all to say you got your first MLB hit against.
So what’s the big deal you might be wondering? It was only his 16th career plate appearance, after all. Players have gone longer without collecting a hit to begin their MLB careers.
While that’s true, very few have taken the path Gore has.
The 27-year-old is currently appearing in his fifth different season in MLB, and had previously appeared in 53 games. The thing is, during his MLB career Gore has been used exclusively as a short-term fill-in or September call up when called upon at all, and he’s been mainly limited to pinch-running duties or used as a defensive replacement.
As a result, Gore’s actual plate appearances have been few and far between. In fact, he entered Saturday’s game with more stolen bases (23) and nearly more runs scored (14) than plate appearances (15).
Baseball fans and writers alike were well aware of Gore’s situation. It’s been a topic of discussion each time he’s been called up to the big leagues. This time, though, it finally happened, and the baseball world couldn’t have been happier.
Congrats to Terrance Gore on his 1st Major League hit. And he got it off Max Scherzer. #Cubs
— Carrie Muskat (@CarrieMuskat) September 8, 2018
Terrance Gore’s first career hit comes off of Max Scherzer and suddenly this game was a win.
— Bleacher Nation (@BleacherNation) September 8, 2018
First career hit.
Grounder up the middle into CF — off Max Scherzer.
— Gordon Wittenmyer (@GDubCub) September 8, 2018
A true secret weapon
The best term to describe Gore might be “secret weapon.” He’s never had a real role during the regular season, but he’s an easy player to add to the postseason roster because his skill set is crafted perfectly for late and close situations.
Gore was a key part of the Kansas City Royals postseason runs in 2014 and 2015, appearing in eight games. Though he only scored one run, he stole four bases and helped keep pressure on the opposing defense. The Cubs will certainly use Gore in that role during September, and might have a tough time leaving him off the postseason roster too should they make it.
For what it’s worth, Gore has appeared in 665 minor league games over his career. He’s a .239/.332/.271 hitter with only 48 extra-base hits over 2,265 plate appearances. That’s precisely why he doesn’t hit in the big leagues, but his 193 minor-league steals prove that there’s a niche for his unique talent.
More from Yahoo Sports:
• Dan Wetzel: Eagles borrowed play from Patriots’ playbook in triumphant return
• Nike’s Colin Kaepernick ad a hit, according to commercial analyst
• Top 5 college games to watch this weekend
• Chris Mannix: Ultimate underdog Steve Nash gets HOF spotlight