Posts Tagged ‘Roy Broome’

Roy Broome’s Unforgettable Homer!

May 21, 2010

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.