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One of the rarest and most exciting plays in baseball, an inside-the-park home run occurs when a player touches all three bases and home plate while his own batted ball is still in play on the field. On average, there are about 10 to 15 inside-the-park homers hit in the Major Leagues each year, an extremely small amount considering that in 2003, there were 5207 home runs hit in total.

With the small size of modern ballparks, it is virtually impossible to score an inside-the-parker, and even when it does happen, there are usually some extenuating circumstances such as an outfielder falling down, or a ball getting stuck somewhere. It was a little easier to hit an inside-the-the park homer in baseball's early days when outfields ranged from massive to positively cavernous - Ty Cobb won the 1909 American League home run crown with all nine of his homers remaining inside the ballpark - but even back then they were rare, and nowadays a player might be lucky to hit a single such home run in his entire career.

Major League Records

Most inside-the-park home runs, season:

NL: Sam Crawford, 12 (1901)
AL: Ty Cobb, 9 (1909)

Most inside-the-park home runs, career:

ML: Sam Crawford, 51
NL: Tommy Leach, 49
AL: Ty Cobb, 49

Most inside-the-park home runs, single game:

NL: 2, tie, 23 players
AL: 2, tie, 17 players