Four friends, four giant egos, and a belief (or disbelief) in Adam Dunn: this is what made up the greatest Adam Dunn bet of all time.

It was 2006; my three friends and I were newly minted freshman in college and thought we knew everything about everything, especially sports. One of my three friends, Mike, was the smartest guy I knew: 4.0 GPA, perfect scores on his SAT, always right about everything, and an arrogance that was about as prevalent as his IQ. We loved Mike but hated him at the same time. He was the kind of guy that if the opportunity came to trump him in something, you took it.

The four of us were out one night in Clifton when the topic of Adam Dunn came up. Specifically, his career home run totals and hall of fame chances. Earlier in the week I ran numbers and read articles that calculated Dunn’s end of career home run total to be right around 600. Mike, being the know it all that he was, was in complete denial and disbelief that Adam Dunn would ever come close to hitting 600, let alone 500 home runs by the end of his career. To me and my two other friends 500 home runs was pretty much a given. Dunn wasn’t the best player in the world, but the man could hit the long ball. From 2004-2008 he averaged over 40 home runs a year. If you average that out over the remainder of his career (including some decline toward the back-end) he would easily hit more than 500 home runs. So, after a few beers and a lot more debate a bet was finally born: 500 dollars for 500 home runs, “The Adam Dunn bet.”

Adam Dunn kept us connected for the next 8 years of our lives. We saw Dunn hit home runs, go through slumps, get traded, designated hit, have someone challenge him for his position, and generally drive us all insane. We tracked Dunn on a daily basis. We would talk smack to Mike if Dunn did hit a home run that night and Mike would tell us all how stupid we were if he didn’t. We created the “BigDonkeyAlert” hashtag on twitter letting the world know that Adam Dunn just bashed another home run and made sure to tag Mike in it:

This went on for 8 years. Our other friends found out and it became mythical. They kept up with it as much as we did.

All the way through 2013 my two other friends and I were feeling great about the bet. Even Mike himself admitted that he was worried. He regretted ever making the bet and legitimately thought Dunn would eclipse the 500 home run mark. We dreamed about what we would do with the money. Someone suggested we combine the money and throw a huge house party, others suggested we use the money to go and see Dunn hit his 500th home run in person. It was only a matter of time until we cashed in.

In 2014 Adam Dunn got traded to the Oakland Athletics and there were rumors swirling of his retirement at the end of the current season. Panic ensued between me and my two other friends. We couldn’t believe it. The man was only 34 years old and coming off of a 34 home run year. He was only 2 years removed from an All Star game appearance. He had 462 home runs and only need 38 more for goodness sake!

Then in late August 2014, Adam Dunn confirmed the rumors and officially called it quits. Mike gave us a full year to pay up our $500 just in case Dunn changed his mind and came out of retirement. It never happened and Mike ended up winning $1500 total. We had been defeated.

As a Reds fan, Adam Dunn holds a special place in my heart. I tweet at him occasionally and try to coax him out of retirement but so far it hasn’t seemed to work. Regardless, Adam provided us with years of entertainment and kept three of my best high school friends and I connected over the years. Was that worth $500? I would like to think so. Now the only question is: what’s the next bet?


About The Author

Jeff is Cincinnati born, Ohio University educated. Reds baseball has been a central theme of his family ever since his mom and dad helped him skip school to attend Opening Day. Jeff has been accused of having a "man crush" on Joey Votto and longs for the day that he gets to witness the Reds finally win a playoff series. You can follow him on Twitter @Gaaangs

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13 Responses

  1. Nick Kirby

    Cool story! I will always have a special place in my heart for the Big Donkey. I am still devastated he didn’t get a PA in the wild card game with the A’s. A real travesty.

    • Jeff Gangloff

      I thought for sure he was going to come back after he finally got a taste of the playoffs. Too bad.

  2. cfd3000

    Great story. I was always a huge Dunn fan. It was just fun watching him hit and, in a weird way, watching him play left field. On top of that he always seemed like a genuinely good guy.

  3. Daniel

    We had a season like your story trying to see if Corky Miller would get a hit.He got one in the second half of the season finished one for 39.Was so happy when he returned to Reds a few years later.Corky Miller AKA Crash Davis

  4. mdhabel

    My dad had a huge vendetta against Dunn because he thought he struck out too much and was lazy and was the reason the Reds were not good during that time period. I didn’t follow baseball enough to know any better but definitely wish I could have appreciated him more in his prime.

    The stat that he has a higher career OBP than Ichiro really opened my eyes to how effective a ball player he was.

  5. greenmtred

    Jeff: “..out one night in Clifton..”? Clifton, Ohio? Didn’t know there was anyplace to be out in there. Neat story.

  6. ohiojimw

    Well there is that really nice light show at Christmas and the mill out in that Clifton, OH between Yellow Springs and Springfield.

  7. Patrick Jeter

    I always make sure to toss in qualifiers for my bets! I’d have said “If he plays through his age 36 season…” or something like that. Maybe that’s why no one ever takes my action! Dangit!

    Good story, Jeff.

  8. Joe Shaw

    I liked Dunn, but the on guarantee you can have with Dunn is that, though he may come close, he’ll let you down in the end.