The Four-Homer Game Club
Lou Gehrig launched an exclusive club in 1932 (Biography.com).
Ah, yes. The four-homer game. It’s about as rare a feat as can be found in the game of baseball, accomplished just 14 times in history, first in 1932 and most recently last season.
The trick was turned twice in the 1930s, once in the ’40s, three times in the 1950s and once each in the ’60s, ’70s, ’80s and ’90s. It then happened three times in the span of 16 months between 2002 and 2003, including twice in three weeks in May 2002. Finally, another four-homer game showed up last season, giving us at least one occurrence in each decade since Lou Gehrig launched the category.
Today, let’s take a look at the players in this exclusive club. The numbers listed in the parentheses are the date, the number of homers he hit that season, the number of homers he hit in his career and the number of career games he played).
- Lou Gehrig, New York Yankees (6/3/1932; 34; 493; 2,164); Gehrig was forced to retire seven years later, giving an iconic farewell speech (see video below).
- Chuck Klein, Philadelphia Phillies (7/10/1936; 25; 300; 1,753).
- Pat Seerey, Chicago White Sox (7/18/1948; 19; 86; 561).
- Gil Hodges, Brooklyn Dodgers (8/31/1950, 32; 370; 2,071).
- Joe Adcock, Milwaukee Braves (7/31/1954; 23; 336; 1,959).
- Rocky Colavito, Cleveland Indians (6/10/1959; 42; 374; 1,841).
- Willie Mays, San Francisco Giants (4/30/1961; 40; 660; 2,992).
- Mike Schmidt, Philadelphia Phillies (4/17/1976; 38; 548; 2,404).
- Bob Horner, Atlanta Braves (7/6/1986; 27; 218; 1,020).
- Mark Whiten, St. Louis Cardinals (9/7/1993; 25; 105; 940).
- Mike Cameron, Seattle Mariners (5/2/2002; 25; 278; 1,955).
- Shawn Green, Los Angeles Dodgers (5/23/2002; 42; 328; 1,951).
- Carlos Delgado, Toronto Blue Jays (9/25/2003; 42; 473; 2,035).
- Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers (5/8/2012; 43; 182; 888 – active).
Obviously, there are a couple of names that stick out on this list like a sore thumb, starting with Seerey. Whiten’s inclusion, given his relatively short career and very brief time as a full-time player, is also a big surprise.
Curiously, two of the players (Klein and Seerey) accomplished the feat during seasons in which they were traded. Seerey was the only man that ever hit four dingers in a game in a season in which he failed to even reach 20. At 86 career jacks in 561 games, he also had the briefest career with the fewest homers of any of the fabled 14.
Ten of the 14 spanked at least 300 long balls in their careers and Hamilton could easily make that 11 before he’s done. Five of them stuck around long enough to play at least 2,000 games.
Four of the group are Hall of Famers: Schmidt, Mays, Klein and Gehrig, with Hamilton still working on that status. Check back in about a decade or so to see if Hambone is a worthy candidate to be the fifth Hall of Famer with a four-homer game on his resume.