Roy Broome’s Unforgettable Homer!

In 1951, Houston Buff Roy Broome hit a monster opposite field HR to right field at Buff Stadium. Anyone who saw it leave the planet could not possibly forget it.

For better or worse, how many big league ballplayers are remembered mostly for that one thing they did that changed the course of baseball history? Bobby Thomson (New York Giants, 1951) and Bill Buckner (Boston Red Sox, 1986) jump immediately to mind. Others abound.

Move the same question to career minor leaguers and you have to reshape the consequence end of it too. At least, for me, you do. I can’t think of any single act by a career minor leaguer that both totally shaped the way fans see him and also altered the course of baseball history, but I can sure call to mind a former Houston Buff who surely framed the way five to six thousand people at Buff Stadium on a summer night in 1951 remembered him forever.

The guy I have in mind is the late Roy Broome (BR/TR) (5’11”, 160 lbs.), an eleven-season minor leaguer, mainly in the Cardinal system from 1940-42 and 1946-53. Broome hit pretty well as a minor leaguer, finishing with a .290 career batting average. He only hit 89 career home runs in 5,419 official times at bat and he managed only 2 long balls for the 1951 Buffs in his short, 41-game, 157-times at bat tour as a Buff hitter.

Roy Broome was a 1951 Buff long enough to do two memorable things: (1) he was here long enough to be included in the official Buffs team photo; and (2) while he was here, he hit one of the longest, most surprising opposite field home runs in Houston Buffs history.

Time has erased everything else about that game moment in my mind except for the act itself. That much of it, I’ll never forget, as my dad and I watched from the first base grandstands. I don’t recall the opposing team or the game situation, or even the impact of the home run on the game itself, I simply remember what I saw. and that the game was played at night. Because right-handed batter Broome hit the home run to right field, I’ve often imagined over the years that it was cracked off some power pitcher like Bob Turley of the San Antonio Missions, but I don’t know that. One of these days I need to research the specifics of this event at the library. After all, he only hit two of them as a Buff – and it would be interesting to read whatever Clark Nealon or others said about it.

On a typical summer night at Buff Stadium, the wind blowing in and across from right field was not friendly to aspiring home runs. “Broome’s Blow” rose above the obstacle.

The mighty blow from Roy Broome’s bat took off on a Ruthian high arch toward the far right field wall, reaching an apex almost instantly and then gently floating above the low to the ground winds, riding them like a surfer takes on the big waves of Oahu’s eastern shores. It danced on the winds as a small speck of white and then it just seemed to vanish in the high-in-the-sky darkness beyond the right field wall. It must have come down some 500-600 feet away on the other side of Cullen, too far back into the world beyond baseball for us to track it by the light of the Buff Stadium arc lamps.

The reaction of fans to “Broome’s Blow” was not your typical fairly immediate cheer. The resounding crack of the bat and startling visual that I just so inadequately tried to describe here had a hushing effect upon all of us. I’m sure any camera focused upon us fans in that moment would have revealed a sea-face of dropping jaws and startled bug eyes. We were all too amazed to express much of anything. Add to it the fact that none of us expected anything like this from little Roy Broome – and to the opposite field, no less. By the time Broome had rounded third base, head for home, Buff fans had risen to their feet to applaud him what he had just done. As I recall, a smiling, blushing Roy Broome was then called upon by the continuation of that applause to make a couple or three curtain doffs of the cap from the Buffs dugout too as teammates slapped his back and playfully kidded him.

Broome was hitting .268 for the Buffs when he was soon promoted after this event to AAA Columbus of the American Association. We Houston fans hated to see him go. Unfortunately, Roy Broome turned out to be another talented Cardinal prospect who never got to see the light of day in the big leagues.

Roy Wilson Broome was born on February 17, 1921 in Norwood, North Carolina. He died on October 11, 1993 in Gastonia, North Carolina.

Thank you, Roy, for once upon a time in 1951 being that blind hog that Darrell Royal of UT used to talk about. You found your acorn in the woods as a Houston Buff. It didn’t change baseball history, but it left a lot of us with an awesome lifetime memory.

Tags: , , ,

10 Responses to “Roy Broome’s Unforgettable Homer!”

  1. Mike McCroskey Says:

    Your description of the ball in flight, reminded me of how quick, high, and far – disapperaing into the night- Albert Pujols’ homer off of Brad Lidge quieted the Houston playoff crowd.

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      Mike:

      My apologies for the unpleasant reminder that all of us Astros fans will hold onto forever. Every fast, far, and Ruthian homer will always sadly also stir the image of Prince Albert and that thing he did off Lidge in 2005.

      Bill

  2. Wayne Roberts Says:

    As a result of the description on Broome’s shot, Mike brings up the Pujols dinger. At the time of the Pujols HR I was on the first base side of the Club Level. To this day I doubt if Pujols’ HR was the longest I ever saw in person. On May 22, 2004, before the Round Rock Express moved up to AAA, Charlton Jimerson hit one over the clubhouse in leftfield that stunned all in attendance. Jimerson’s shot was a high lofting arch over the lights and well into the dark woods marking the boundary of the Dell Diamond property. To get there, the ball not only had to go over the roof of the clubhouse which is probably at least 60 feet above the playing field but also had to soar over a 30 foot driveway used by players to get to their parking lot beyond centerfield. A four-man search party scoured the underbrush in the woods and found it 200 feet beyond the outer gate that rings the leftfield side of Dell– 635 feet from home plate. The shot was the subject of a feature article in the Austin sports page and today is considered one of the highlights of the first ten years at Dell Diamond. I can’t say for sure, but I think Jimerson’s was longer than Pujols’. Nonetheless, they were in a class of their own.

    As a footnote, I left Houston the day after the Pujols shot to go to St. Louis for Game 6 which was the REAL last game at Busch II. Before Game 6 I walked around to where the demolition of Busch II had actually already begun for what would be leftfield of Busch III. High up in the demoliltion pile some worker had placed an “X” with the following notation: “Pujols HR hit here”.

  3. Lori Broome Harris Says:

    Roy Broome was my Dad, and I am so proud he created a lasting memory for you and others. I had never heard this story, since 1951 was long before I was born. From his family who loves to hear of his baseball years, thank you for sharing this. He was pretty special, wasn’t he?

    • Bill McCurdy Says:

      Yes, Lori, your dad was pretty special. For this little kid from long ago, Roy Broome
      once lit a home run memory flame that was every bit the equal of that long blast off
      the bat of another Roy, Roy Hobbs, in that great story of “The Natural.”

      It pleases me greatly that the ripple of that same home run now transcends time and
      space for you to read about it and know that it happened. And yes, it did. And it was
      absolutely awesome.

      Regards,

      Bill McCurdy

  4. steve conley Says:

    Lori, My name is steve conley.I worked with your dad for 20 years before he became sick.I just wanted you and susan to know how much we loved that man.He was like a dad to me for a long time and was as wise as they come…..I surely miss him…..He was the best!

  5. Loi Harris Says:

    Thank you, Steve. Your words mean so much to me and my family! We miss him, too!

  6. Glenn Robinson Says:

    Please look at Roy’s baseball career. go to http://www.baseball-reference.com/register/player.cgi?id=broome001roy

    Note that he never lost a game pitching, record of 1-0.

    • Bill"Purdy Says:

      My name is Bill Purdy and in1949 I was 15 years old and had been named batboy for the Columbus Redbirds, a position I held through 1950. What I remember most about “Whitey” Broome was that he was not only an accomplished ball player, but was the nicest guy in the Clubhouse. Roy Broome was a gentleman and everybody knew it. It was a treat to be part of the team he was on.

      • Susan Grice Says:

        I am Roy Broome’s eldest daughter. Thank you for the kind comments. I didn’t know he was called “Whitey” but he lived his his entire life with great integrity. He was always a gentleman.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: