Every major league team has a long ball hitter in its farm system, that languishes for years in the minors, maybe because the parent club has an All-Star at a certain position or because the minor league slugger lacks speed and is just an average fielder. Brooklyn had Jim Gentile in the Dodgers' minor league system during the 1950s. With All-Star Gil Hodges manning first base, and a promising all-around minor leaguer in Norm Larker, Gentile was burning up the minors with homers. And at age 26, had already collected 208 minor league homers before he was purchased by the Baltimore Orioles and given his big-chance to show just what he could do. After playing with the Dodgers in just 4 games in 1957 and 12 games in 1958 - the big 6'4", 210-pounder walloped 21 homers with 98 RBIs and batted .298 in his rookie year in Baltimore.
When Maris and Mantle ended one/two in the MVP balloting in 1961 by hitting 61 homers (Maris) and 54 homers (Mantle), Gentile lined 46 homers 141 RBIs (more 20% of the Orioles' totals) and was third in the MVP balloting. He set a new AL record with five grand slam homers in a single season - including two in one game and 30 of his 46 shots were hit on the road. Gentile collected 75 homers in his first 1,000 at bats - the highest total in the quickest time ever in major league history. Baseball History