Every blue moon that brings us the next Josh Hamilton and another rare four-homer game, my mind immediately shoots back to my childhood’s first awareness of that possibility when I picked up the Houston Post one 1948 Houston summer morning on the way to the sandlot and read that a fellow named Pat Seerey of the Chicago White Sox had just jacked four long balls the day before in a single game.
At the lot, it was all we could talk about for up to five minutes prior to play. We couldn’t believe it. A major leaguer? Getting four home runs in one game? C’mon!
If this “Pat Seerey” had done it on our turf, as one of us, we would not have batted an eye. Four-homer games and then some were fairly common back in the day on our turf, whereas, quality pitching performances were decidedly rare – and this guy Pat Seerey was a nobody slugger, hitting against Bob Feller and Company. – We boondocks kids were just amazed, that’s all.
And it’s still amazing, even today, even when it’s a great hitter like Josh Hamilton pulling the trigger on such an off-the-chart performance. Look at all the things that have to go right to make it happen. – You have to have a hitter in the zone, pretty much able to hit and pull anything he sees in spite of the fact that big league pitchers are normally pretty good at making hittable pitches disappear against a guy who has already done it two or three times in the same game.
In doing this rare thing, Josh Hamilton became only the sixteenth man in big league history to crunch four home runs in one game. He actually went five for five, getting a double in his other official time at bat for a major league record 18 total bases against the Orioles at Baltimore.
If we look at the 10 National League and 6 American League hitters who have pulled the 4-homers-in-one-game string in all of baseball history, a quick review of their HR totals and batting averages for each of these power performance seasons shows that most were superior hitters anyway. A few just seemed to combine luck with skill and performance day breakthroughs.
Who knows? And what the heck do I know? All I know is that a lot of things had to go right for each of the sixteen men who made it onto this list for these unique power accomplishments. And, unlike, the much longer page of 250 no-hit pitching games, you won’t find any name on this list of players who made it on here twice.
So far, it’s a one-shot list of guys who did the almost unthinkable power thing for a grand total of sixteen times. And that’s it.
Here is the complete list, from earliest to most recent, with HR totals and BA added for each particular season they each pulled the string:
THE SIXTEEN FOUR-HOMER GAMES (10 NL/6 AL) *
Robert Lowe, Boston 1894 (17/.346)
Ed Delahanty, Philadelphia 1896 (13/.397)
Lou Gehrig, New York, 1932 (34/.349)
Chuck Klein, Philadelphia, 1936 (25/.306)
Pat Seerey, Chicago, 1948 (19/.231)
Gil Hodges, Brooklyn, 1950 (32/.283)
Joe Adcock, Milwaukee, 1954 (23/.308)
Rocky Colavito, Cleveland, 1959 (42/.257)
Willie Mays, San Francisco, 1961 (40/.308)
Mike Schmidt, Philadelphia, 1976 (38/.262)
Bob Horner, Atlanta, 1986 (27/.273)
Mark Whiten, St. Louis, 1993 (25/.253)
Shawn Green, Los Angeles, 2002 (42/.285)
Mike Cameron, Seattle, 2002 (25/.239)
Carlos Delgado, Toronto, 2003 (42/.302)
Josh Hamilton, Texas 2012 (14/.406 to date)
* NL Players Shown in Bold Type.