POTW: Barry has record-setting week

OAK FOREST, Ill. -- Few baseball records can be deemed unbreakable, but Oak Forest coach Thaddeus Gatton believes Tim Barry’s Illinois home run record is just that.

After Barry, an Oak Forest senior, cranked his 50th career home run and broke the state’s record on Friday, Gatton immediately stamped it as one that will stand forever.

“You talk about baseball records all the time,” Gatton said. “This obviously isn’t a Major League record, but I don’t think it is something that will ever be broken. You don’t have four-year starters anymore. You don’t have players who hit consistently for power their entire career. Plus, the bat regulations are changing next year. Hitting a home run is going to be a 100 times harder.”

With his two-run home run on Friday, Barry also broke the state’s career RBI record. Barry has 194 RBIs in his career.

For his achievements, Barry is the ESPNChicago.com/Muscle Milk Prep Athlete of Week.

Barry, who 6-feet and 215 pounds, has been terrorizing area pitchers since he first stepped to the plate at Oak Forest. As a freshman, he slugged 14 home runs. He hit 10 more as a sophomore and had a career-best 17 home runs last season. His home run on Friday gave him nine for this season.

Earlier in the week, Barry hit four home runs in a doubleheader to tie the state’s record.

“He caught up to it quickly,” Gatton said. “He didn’t have much time to think about it.”

p>Barry was unable to break the record on Thursday. On Friday, he took care of it in the fifth inning on a changeup. His shot sailed well over the fence in left-center field.

“He crushed it,” Gatton said. “He probably hit it 450 feet.”

Barry said, “I was told by people that it hit the street on the fly.”

As nearly a dozen family members celebrated in the stands, Barry circled the bases, received a hug from Gatton as he rounded third base and was mobbed by his teammates after stepping on home plate.

“It was exciting, joyful,” Barry said. “Everyone was cheering and excited I finally broke the record. I was very proud of myself.”

It was a moment, as Gatton said, that may not be seen again.