Mike Yastrzemski

Why Yaz is happy Splash Hit No. 100 came from Wade's bat

Mike Yastrzemski recently reflected on LaMonte Wade Jr.'s historic feat.

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Mike Yastrzemski didn’t hit Splash Hit No. 100 at Oracle Park, but the Giants outfielder couldn’t be happier for his teammate who did.

LaMonte Wade Jr. sent the first pitch he saw into McCovey Cove during Friday night’s 3-2 loss to the Baltimore Orioles, helping the Giants reach a long-awaited landmark 23 years in the making.

And in Yastrzemski’s eyes, it was a well-deserved honor for San Francisco’s first baseman.

“I think it was cool enough [for me] to hit one and to be lucky enough to be able to hit a couple others, but I’m really happy that it was LaMonte because he’s had a really great year this year,” Yastrzemski told NBC Sports Bay Area’s Therese Viñal and Carmen Kiew in a recent “Summer Sunday” interview.

“It’s tough when you have a down year and things don’t go your way, and then to show the resiliency to bounce back, I think it’s special for him to get the recognition that he deserves.”

After a breakout offensive campaign during the Giants’ historic 2021 MLB season that earned him the nickname "Late Night LaMonte," Wade had a disappointing 2022 season, appearing in just 77 games and slashing .207/.305./.359 with a .665 OPS.

But the Giants bet on a healthy Wade in 2023, declining to bring in another first baseman this past offseason after the departure of veteran Brandon Belt to the Toronto Blue Jays. Now, they’re reaping the rewards.

Wade’s .885 OPS through 57 games played is even better than his 2021 mark, and his eight home runs already have tied his total from last season. The 2021 Willie Mac Award winner finally is healthy, and it’s showing at the plate and on the field.

The honor of hitting Splash Hit No. 100 is just a piece of the recognition Wade deserves, Yastrzemski said. The outfielder has five Splash Hits himself, and he said the Giants clubhouse didn’t put too much thought into who would hit the 100th.

“We kind of ignored it,” Yastrzemski said to Viñal and Kiew. “We just knew that we needed to go and win games, so we just tried to focus on that, and I think we got to celebrate a little more once it actually happened versus saying, ‘OK, I want to try and be the guy.’

“I think there’s a lot of pressure that comes with that, because this has been going on since, what was it, 2000, you know? That’s 23 years of Splash Hits and there’s only 100, and I don’t think it would have been fair for us to put pressure on anyone to try and be the guy, so I think we just rolled with whatever was happening that day.”

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In the end, it was Wade -- a moment that will live on in Giants history from a player who certainly has a knack for big moments.

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