On Thursday, July 25th, 2019 the Minnesota Twins All Star slugger, Nelson Cruz, hit three home runs in a game forever cementing that day in Major League Baseball history. That performance marks the first time ever in MLB history that there has been a three home game in three consecutive days.
On Tuesday July 23rd, 2019 the New York Mets second baseman, Robinson Cano, hit three home runs. Followed up by the Saint Louis Cardinals shortstop, Paul DeJong, hammering three deep fly balls that left the ball park on Wednesday, July 24th, 2019. There was something that stood out regarding Cruz’s three home run game though.
Cruz’s First Three Home Run Game:
His first-ever three home run game drew a whole lot of attention for multiple reasons. He was the first player in MLB history to hit three home runs in a game that Statcast tracked each individual homer over at least 430 feet (473, ft, 430 ft, 433 ft). His runs off of Lucas Giolito were off of three different pitches (95 mph fastball, 80 mph curveball, and 80 mph changeup).
Cruz has hit six home runs against the Chicago White Sox in only four games throughout the 2019 MLB season. He had hit seven home runs in his last seven games at this time which is quite remarkable. At the age of 39, Cruz is the oldest player to hit three home runs in a game since Alex Rodriguez did it four years ago with the New York Yankees.
“It’s not easy,” says Cruz. “To be able to hit three is a blessing.”
“The most important thing is we won and the way (Jose) Berrios pitched. At the end of the day, it’s pitching.”
“I think it is a lot of work, and I make sure I do my weights. Make sure I sleep well, rest,” Cruz explained. “I think for anybody, if you can have experience in your job, you can do a lot of things when your body feels good and the experience helps.”
“He’s a good hitter,” White Sox pitcher Lucas Giolito stated. “He was seeing me well.”
“You just assume he’s done things like that,” Twins manager Rocco Baldelli expressed. “Those kind of nights are pretty unique and special, and when you get a chance to see them live, we all kind of enjoy them and appreciate them.”
“There’s no way to compare. When you see him hit balls, sometimes you think they’re very unique swings, and they’re very unique off the bat,” Baldelli continued. “You don’t see very many balls hit like that, even when you watch a ton of games. You don’t see very many balls leave the ballpark like that. Sometimes you can’t really believe what you’re watching. It’s that impressive.”
“He’s been a consistent hitter in the big leagues for as long as he’s been playing,” Chicago White Sox manager Rick Renteria explained. “Obviously, age doesn’t matter to him. He’s a professional hitter, he’s very smart, very aware of what is going on. He’s been around the block. He’s excelled at his craft. He’s no longer going both ways, but he can handle the bat.”
List of Most Three Home Run Games According to mlb.com:
- (tie) Johnny Mize
Mize, a 10-time All-Star and five-time World Series champion, held the Major League record for most three-homer games for nearly 50 years before Sammy Sosa tied him at six games. The former first baseman played 15 seasons in the big leagues — interrupted by a three-year military stint during World War II — with the Cardinals, Giants and Yankees. He finished first or tied in the National League home run race four times (1939, ’40, ’48 and ’49). Mize’s first two three-homer games came in the same month in July 1938. He would go on to match the feat four more times — twice more with the Cardinals in ’40, once with the Giants in ’47 and lastly with the Yankees in ’50.
- (tie) Sammy Sosa
Sosa was a prolific home run hitter, as evidenced by not only his 609 career long balls, but also his presence tied with Mize at the top of this list. Sosa first went deep three times in a game against the Phillies in 1996, the first year in which he slugged 40 home runs. He’d repeat it five more times for the Cubs including once during his ’98 record chase with Mark McGwire that earned him the NL Most Valuable Player Award and three times in 2001, when he drove in a career-best 160 runs. Sosa’s final three-homer performance at Coors Field in 2002 tied the Cubs franchise record with nine RBIs.
- (tie) Mookie Betts
His first three-homer game came on May 31, 2016, in a 6-2 win against Baltimore. He followed that up with another three-homer game on Aug. 14 of that year against Kansas City, a 16-2 win in which he drove home half of Boston’s runs. He went on to finish second to Mike Trout in AL MVP voting that year. In 2018, he again had a pair of three-homer games with three solo shots against the Angels on April 17 (a 10-1 win), and again on May 2 against Kansas City, his second career three-homer game against the Royals. In the process, he also joined Johnny Mize (1938 and 1940) to become just the second player in history to have a pair of three-homer games in separate seasons. Betts also became the first player to have four three-plus-homer games before age 26, passing Kiner and Boog Powell, who both had three such games. On July 26, 2019, he became the eighth player with at least five three-homer games when he went deep in each of his first three plate appearances against the Yankees at Fenway Park.
- (tie) Alex Rodriguez
Rodriguez is responsible for the most recent three-home run game among the players on this list. He went deep three times against the Twins on July 25, 2015, two days before his 40th birthday, and the third was a game-tying solo shot that sparked a ninth-inning rally for the Yankees. The former Mariners, Rangers and Yankees slugger — who ranks fourth on baseball’s all-time home runs list with 696 in his 22-year career — recorded his first three-homer game 15 years prior with Seattle April 16, 2000. He hit another playing for the Rangers in ’02 and two more with New York, in ’05 and ’10.
- (tie) Mark McGwire
McGwire broke out with the A’s in 1987 by setting the Major League rookie record for home runs — a record Aaron Judge surpassed in 2017 — and three of those long balls came in the same game on June 27 against Cleveland. He repeated the performance several years later in ’95 with Oakland. After joining the Cardinals in a Trade Deadline deal in 1997, he collected three more three-homer games, including two during his pursuit of baseball’s single-season record in ’98. Big Mac did it once more in 2000, then retired after the ’01 season with 583 career home runs.
- (tie) Dave Kingman
Kingman was the driving force behind the Mets’ dominant 11-0 shutout of the Dodgers with three home runs and eight RBIs on June 4, 1976. The 16-year big leaguer went on to earn his first All-Star appearance that season, totaling 37 home runs on the year. He would do it again three more times with the Cubs in ’78 and ’79 and once more with the A’s as his playing career was winding down in ’84. At the time, he was the closest any player had gotten to matching Mize’s longstanding record.
- (tie) Carlos Delgado
In his 12 seasons with the Blue Jays, Delgado set a number of franchise batting records, including home runs (336), RBIs (1,058), doubles (343), runs (889), walks (827), slugging percentage (.556) and OPS (.949). The first baseman also remains the only player in Toronto history with five three-homer games with only Edwin Encarnacion (two) hitting more than one. Delgado’s first two three-home run performances came nearly a year apart against the same opponent — the Texas Rangers on Aug. 4, 1998 and Aug. 6, 1999, the latter of which broke a tie and scored the deciding run in the eighth inning for the Jays. He did it again, twice in the same month, in April 2001, and also had a four-home run game — which included his 300th career long ball — on Sept. 23, 2003.
- (tie) Joe Carter
Carter joined Kingman and Mize as the third player to record five three-homer games when he went deep three times for the Blue Jays against his former club, the Indians, on Aug. 23, 1993. Carter’s four previous three-homer games came while playing for the Tribe from 1983-89. The former outfielder displayed impressive power in Cleveland and during his lone campaign in San Diego, but it wasn’t until he was traded to the Blue Jays prior to the ’90 season that his career really took flight. He earned five All-Star nods and slugged 30 or more homers four times in his seven seasons in Toronto.
- (tie) Albert Pujols
Pujols collected three home runs in the same game four times while with the Cardinals. He first did it on July 20, 2004, against the division-rival Cubs; he batted 5-for-5 and broke an 8-8 draw in the ninth inning with his third blast. He did it twice in the Cardinals’ 2006 championship season, including a two-run walk-off homer against the Reds on April 16. He last accomplished the feat on May 30, 2010. If you include the postseason, Pujols would belong among the former group of Rodriguez, McGwire, Kingman and Carter — he hit three home runs in the Cardinals’ Game 3 victory over the Rangers in the 2011 World Series.
- (tie) Willie Stargell
Stargell hit 20 or more home runs in 15 of his 21 seasons playing in the big leagues with the Pirates, and on four occasions early in his career, he clubbed three home runs in a single game. The seven-time All-Star first did it against the Dodgers on June 24, 1965, then repeated the performance by batting 5-for-5 with three homers, a double and seven RBIs in May ’68. In ’71, he did it twice in the same month against the same team, the Braves, on April 10 and 21.
- (tie) Aramis Ramirez
Ramirez was a staple in the NL Central for 18 years, playing for the Pirates, Cubs and Brewers from 1998 to 2015. The third baseman slugged 386 career homers, including four three-homer games. One came with the Pirates in ’01 and three were with Chicago in ’04 and ’10. In his Sept. 16, ’04 performance, Ramirez drove in all five of Chicago’s runs in a 5-4 victory over the Reds.
- (tie) Larry Parrish
Parrish, a 15-year Major League veteran, had three three-homer games for the Montreal Expos and remains the only player to record more than one for the franchise (now the Washington Nationals). He did it again in 1977, ’78 and ’80 with the Expos and then also with the Rangers on April 29, ’85. In his final three-homer game, Parrish’s two-run shot in the eighth inning broke a 5-5 tie against the Yankees and completed a Texas comeback.
- (tie) Ralph Kiner
Kiner collected his first two three-homer games during his 1947 sophomore campaign in which he slugged 51 home runs — tying Mize for the MLB lead — and hit .313/.417/.639 in 152 games for the Pirates. He repeated the performance twice more with Pittsburgh, once the following season and again in ’51. Kiner would go on to hit 369 home runs despite playing just 10 years in the Majors, fewer than any player who’s ever reached the 300 milestone.
- (tie) Barry Bonds
Baseball’s all-time home run leader is unsurprisingly is in the mix. Bonds’ first three-homer game came in 1994, his second season in San Francisco. He then did it twice — on May 19 in Atlanta and Sept. 9 in Colorado — during his record-breaking 2001 season; the latter performance gave him 63 for the season, passing Roger Maris’ long-time record that had since been topped by both McGwire and Sosa. In a return trip to Coors Field in ’02, Bonds went yard three times for a fourth and final time en route to 762 career homers.
- (tie) Steve Finley
Finley starred in two lopsided Padres’ victories in 1997, homering three times in the club’s 13-6 victory over the Reds on May 19 and again vs. the Giants on June 23. He’s the only player in Padres franchise history with multiple three-homer games. Only five other San Diego players — most recently Hunter Renfroe on Sept. 20 last season — have done it once. Finley also shares the record with Luis Gonzalez for the D-backs; he hit two more three-homer games in ’99 and 2004.
- (tie) Ernie Banks
Hall of Famer and Cubs legend Banks first hit three homers in a single game on Aug. 4, 1955, against the Pirates in his age-24 season. He hit 44 home runs that year, the first of five seasons in which he clubbed 40 of more. Banks had another offensive outburst against Pittsburgh in ’57 with three home runs in the second half of a doubleheader. Mr. Cub would complete the feat twice more in ’62 and ’63, becoming just the third player with four three-homer games in MLB history.
- (tie) Lou Gehrig
The Iron Horse’s first three-homer game came in the Yankees’ storied 1927 season, when he went deep three times at Fenway Park on June 23, 1927. Nearly two years later at Comiskey Park, Gehrig struck for three round-trippers against the White Sox on May 4, 1929. His final two homer hat tricks came against the Philadelphia A’s, both in 20-13 Yankees wins at Shibe Park. In the second game of a doubleheader on May 22, 1930, Gehrig homered three times and drove in a career-high eight (the first of three such games). Two years later, on June 3, 1932, he had MLB’s first four-homer game of the 20th century, becoming the first player with four games of three or more home runs.
The Most Iconic Three Home Run Games:
One of the most legendary three home run game occurred in Game 6 of the 1977 World Series. On October 18th, 1977 Reggie Jackson earned his nickname “Mr. October” for becoming only the second player in Major League Baseball history to hit three home runs in a single World Series game.
The only other ball player to achieve that unbelievable feat was the most iconic baseball player ever, Babe Ruth. Ruth homered three times in a single World Series game on two separate occasions (1926, 1928). However, Jackson accomplished it off of three different Dodger pitchers on the first pitch of each of those at bats. That will most likely never happen ever again.
Since 1977, only Albert Pujols and Pablo Sandoval have homered three times in a single World Series game. Pujols did it in the 2011 World Series, and Sandoval completed the elusive task during the 2012 World Series.
Four Home Run Games:
A four home run game is said to be the best day a baseball player can have. This unbelievable accomplishment has only happened 18 times in Major League Baseball history. Below is the complete list of every four home run game in MLB history.
|Player||Date||Team||Opposing team||Score||Career HR|
|Bobby Lowe||May 30, 1894||Boston Beaneaters||Cincinnati Reds||20–11||71|
|Ed Delahanty||July 13, 1896||Philadelphia Phillies||Chicago Colts||8–9||101|
|Lou Gehrig||June 3, 1932||New York Yankees||Philadelphia Athletics||20–13||493|
|Chuck Klein||July 10, 1936||Philadelphia Phillies||Pittsburgh Pirates||9–6||300|
|Pat Seerey||July 18, 1948||Chicago White Sox||Philadelphia Athletics||12–11||86|
|Gil Hodges||August 31, 1950||Brooklyn Dodgers||Boston Braves||19–3||370|
|Joe Adcock||July 31, 1954||Milwaukee Braves||Brooklyn Dodgers||15–7||336|
|Rocky Colavito||June 10, 1959||Cleveland Indians||Baltimore Orioles||11–8||374|
|Willie Mays||April 30, 1961||San Francisco Giants||Milwaukee Braves||14–4||660|
|Mike Schmidt||April 17, 1976||Philadelphia Phillies||Chicago Cubs||18–16||548|
|Bob Horner||July 6, 1986||Atlanta Braves||Montreal Expos||8–11||218|
|Mark Whiten||September 7, 1993||St. Louis Cardinals||Cincinnati Reds||15–2||105|
|Mike Cameron||May 2, 2002||Seattle Mariners||Chicago White Sox||15–4||278|
|Shawn Green||May 23, 2002||Los Angeles Dodgers||Milwaukee Brewers||16–3||328|
|Carlos Delgado||September 25, 2003||Toronto Blue Jays||Tampa Bay Devil Rays||10–8||473|
|Josh Hamilton||May 8, 2012||Texas Rangers||Baltimore Orioles||10–3||200|
|Scooter Gennett||June 6, 2017||Cincinnati Reds||St. Louis Cardinals||13–1||85|
|J. D. Martinez||September 4, 2017||Arizona Diamondbacks||Los Angeles Dodgers||13–0||215|