When most of the world first became familiar with Tom House, he was catching Hank Aaron’s record-breaking 715th homer in 1974. House, then a relief pitcher for Atlanta, was stationed in the bullpen beyond the left-field fence at Fulton County Stadium, just where the ball happened to come down.
Exactly as House had planned it.
As it turned out, House was more than just a guy in the right place at the right time. Watch the clip on YouTube, and you’ll see a rooted figure who takes not so much as a shuffle step in either direction. All House had to do was lift his glove and catch the ball.
The man on the mound, Dodgers pitcher Al Downing, was, like House, a soft-tossing left-hander. House, having pitched spring training batting practice to Aaron, had an idea what might happen.
“If the pitch was outside and elevated, I knew he would hit it to left-center field,” House said. “So when I got the choice of where I wanted to be, where do you think I put myself?”