Like hitting for the cycle, pitching a no-hitter, or pitching a perfect game, another rare feat in baseball is hitting four home runs in one game. Even rarer is hitting four home runs in four consecutive at bats. In baseball history, hitting four home runs in one game has been done only fifteen times, making it one of the rarest feats to be performed by a ballplayer. Of those fifteen, three of them have played for the Phillies, one of only two teams, the other one being the Dodgers, to have more than one player in their organization’s history to have perform that particular feat.
The first Phillie player to perform the deed would be the second man to do it in major league history. On Monday, July 13, 1896, Ed Delahanty would have five hits that day, four of which would be home runs, with all of them being inside-the-park home runs, as the Phillies would lose to the Chicago Colts (now the Chicago Cubs), 9-8, at West Side Park (II) in Chicago. In peforming his feat, Delahanty would become the first and, so far, the only player in major league history to hit four inside-the-park home runs. He would also become the first player to hit four home runs in a losing cause, a feat that would not be equalled until Bob Horner of the Atlanta Braves would equal it on Sunday, July 6, 1986, as the Braves would lose to the Montreal Expos (now the Washington Nationals), 11-8. The second Phil to hit four home runs in one game would be the fourth major leaguer to do the deed. Chuck Klein would hit four home runs on Friday, July 10, 1936, as he would lead the Phils to a 9-6 extra-innings (10) victory over the Phillies’ cross-state rival, the Pittsburgh Pirates, at Forbes Field in Pittsburgh. The third, and last Phillie batter to perform the dead would be the tenth player to do the deed, as well as also being the fourth player in major league history to hit four home runs in consecutive at-bats. At Wrigley Field in Chicago, on Saturday, April 17, 1976, Mike Schmidt would lead the Phillies to a wild extra-innings (10) victory over the Cubs, leading the team back from a 12-1 defecit to an 18-16 victory over their old rival, as his fourth and final home run, a three-run shot, would seal the win. (Here’s the boxscore of that game, with the play-by-play, courtesy of retrosheet.org: http://www.retrosheet.org/boxesetc/1976/B04170CHN1976.htm.
All three Phils would perform their deeds on the road, twice in Chicago and once in Pittsburgh. Of the three, Delahanty would be the only one who did not perform his deed in an extra-innings game. In those three games, the Phillies are 2-1. Also, the deed has so far never been performed against the Phillies. And lastly, all three Phillies who have performed the feat are now members of the Baseball Hall of Fame.
Sources: Wikipedia, Retrosheet.org
As mentioned in a previous article, there are several feats in baseball which is rare for baseball players to accomplish. Hitting for the cycle is one. Another is throwing a no-hitter. Throwing a perfect game is rarer still. In Major League Baseball History, as of 2008, there has been thrown only 256 no-hitters, of which only 1 has been perfect games. Four teams have so far not been able to throw a no-hitter, those teams being the New York Mets, the San Diego Padres, the Colorado Rockies and the Tampa Bay Rays. In Phillies’ team history, Phil pitchers have thrown only nine no-hitters, including one perfect game, while being the victim eighteen times, as well as being the victim in five other games that are now no longer considered no-hitters because of a rule change made in 1991 in which a no-hitter is now considered, “An official no-hit game occurs when a pitcher (or pitchers) allows no hits during the entire course of a game, which consists of at least nine innings.” The five that are no longer considered no-hitters were games that were stopped before being able to reach the now official nine innings, mainly because of either rain (or pre-1930s, because of the game being called because of darkness.) At this moment, I will concentrate on the nine no-hitters thrown by Phillies’ pitchers.
The first Phillies’ no-hitter would be thrown on Saturday, August 29, 1885, by Charlie Ferguson, as he would defeat Dupee Shaw of the Providence Grays, 1-0, at Recreation Park. The second Phillies’ no-hitter would occur on Friday, July 8, 1898, as Red Donahue would defeat the Boston Beaneaters, 5-0, at National League Park, aka Baker Bowl. The next Phillies’ no-hitter would be the first one thrown by a Phils’ pitcher in the 20th century as Chick Fraser would no-hit the Chicago Cubs in Chicago, 10-0, on Friday, September 18, 1903, at the second ballpark that the Cubs would name West Side Park, in the second game of a doubleheader split between the two old rivals. No-hitter number four would occur on Tuesday, May 1, 1906, in Brooklyn, as Johnny Lush would defeat the Brooklyn Superbas (now the Los Angeles Dodgers) at the second part that Brooklyn would call Washington Park, 6-0. The fifth Phillies no-hitter would not occur until Sunday, June 24, 1964 when Hall of Famer Jim Bunning would throw his father’s day perfect game against the New York Mets at Shea Stadium, winning 6-0. This would be the junior senator from Kentucky second no-hitter, as he threw an earlier one in 1958 as a member of the Detroit Tigers. The next no-hitter recorded by a Phillies’ pitcher would occur over seven years later, on Wednesday, June 23, 1971, as Rick Wise would help his own cause by hitting two home runs in a 4-0 defeat of Ross Grimsley of the Cincinnati Reds, in Cincinnati, at Riverfront Stadium. Phillies no-hitter number seven would be the first no-hitter to be thrown at Veterans Stadium, as Terry Mulholland would defeat Don Robinson of the San Francisco Giants 6-0, on Wednesday, August 15, 1990. No-hitter number eight, the last Phillies’ no-hitter of the 20th Century, would be the only no-hitter so far pitch outside of the U.S. by a Phillies’ pitcher as Tommy Greene would throw a no-no against the Montral Expos at Olympic Stadium, on Thursday, May 23, 1991, defeating Oil Can Boyd, 2-0. The Phillies’ ninth and most recent no-hitter, would also be the first no-no to be thrown by a Phils’ pitcher in the 21st Century, as well as the second and last one to be thrown at Veterans Stadium, as Kevin Millwood would defeat the Giants and Jesse Foppert, 1-0, on Sunday, April 27, 2003.
Phillies’ pitchers have thrown two no-hitters in the 19th Century, six in the 20th and one so far in the 21st Century. Of the nine no-hitters, four have been thrown in Philadelphia, one each has so far occurred in Chicago, Brooklyn, Cincinnati, and Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Two no-hitters were thrown at Veterans Stadium, with one each being thrown at Recreation Park, National League Park (Baker Bowl), West Side Park (II), Washington Park (II), Shea Stadium, Riverfront Stadium and Olympic Stadium. The main victim has so far been the San Francisco Giants, who have been no-noed twice, with the now defunct Providence Grays, Braves (as the Boston Beaneaters), Cubs, Dodgers (as the Brooklyn Superbas), Mets, Reds and the Nationals (as the Montreal Expos) being the victim one time each. Only one of the pitchers to throw a Phillies’ no-hitter, Jim Bunning, is now a member of the Hall of Fame.
Who will be the next Phillies’ pitcher to no-hit an opponent? No idea at this point in time, although the most likely person to do it would be Cole Hamels, the team’s present ace.
Sources: Wikipedia, Phillies.com, Baseball Almanac.com, Retrosheet.org