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At home in the dome
E.M. Swift
May 18, 1981
Designated Hitter Richie Zisk zaps 'em in the cozy confines of Seattle's ball park
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May 18, 1981

At Home In The Dome

Designated Hitter Richie Zisk zaps 'em in the cozy confines of Seattle's ball park

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For Texas, Zisk hit .262 twice and .290 last year, averaging 20 homers and 75 RBIs. They were good stats, but coming after his vintage 1977 season with the Chicago White Sox (30 homers, 101 RBIs, .290), they were disappointing. When he signed his 10-year contract with Texas it was the second most lucrative in baseball history. The Rangers billed him as the righthanded power hitter who would bring them the pennant, but they never came close. "One man can't win a pennant," Zisk says now. "A lot was expected of me, but we didn't put it together as a team."

When he first learned about the Seattle offer, Zisk exercised his contract's no-trade clause and nixed it. He slept on the matter, however, and talked it over with his wife, and together they decided a change would be for the best. The prospect of moving back north and playing in the Kingdome, in which more homers have been hit in the last two years than in any other stadium, was too tempting to resist. The foul lines in the Kingdome measure 316 feet, and the power alleys are only 357, and for some unknown reason the ball simply carries well there. "It's the first park I've played in where the dimensions are reasonable," says Zisk, who remembers only too well the centerfield wall in Chicago, which is 445 feet from home and 18 feet high. He is one of only four men ever to hit a ball out in dead center.

"I'm very proud of the fact that none of my seven home runs have been Dome-dongs—one that plops into the first row. But after the parks I've played in. I'm looking forward to my first one."

Then he smiles, tickled—yes—pink at a memory. "You know, my first at bat this year was an infield single," he says. "I knew right then it was going to be a very good year."

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