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Writers of Sporting News described hitting four home runs in a single Major League Baseball (MLB) game as "baseball's greatest single-game accomplishment". 16 players have accomplished the feat to date, the most recent being Josh Hamilton of the Texas Rangers on May 8, 2012. No player has done this more than once in his career and no player has ever hit more than four in a game. Bobby Lowe was the first to hit four home runs in a single game, doing so on May 30, 1894. Fans were reportedly so excited that they threw $160 in silver coins ($4,400 today) onto the field after his fourth home run.
These games have resulted in other MLB single-game records due to the extreme offensive performance. Mark Whiten, for example, tied Jim Bottomley for the most runs batted in in a single game with 12 in his four-homer game. Shawn Green hit a double and a single along with his four home runs for 19 total bases, an MLB record. It surpassed Joe Adcock's mark of 18, which also came from a four-homer game.
Chuck Klein, Pat Seerey, and Mike Schmidt each hit their four in a game that went into extra innings. Four home runs generate significant offense which generally allows a team to win, although Ed Delahanty's and Bob Horner's teams lost their respective milestone games.
Warren Spahn pitched the ball which Gil Hodges hit for the first of his four, the only Hall of Fame pitcher faced during a four-home-run game. Hodges and Adcock are the only players to hit home runs against four different pitchers in one game. Lowe and Delahanty, on the other hand, are the only players to hit four home runs in one game against just one pitcher: Ice Box Chamberlain and Adonis Terry respectively.
Mike Cameron hit his four on May 2, 2002, and Green matched the total 21 days later on May 23, 2002, the shortest span between such games. Lowe and Seerey each hit fewer than 100 home runs over the length of their career while Willie Mays, with 660, hit more than any other player in this group. Both Mays and Schmidt are also members of the 500 home run club.
Of the 11 players eligible for the Hall of Fame who have hit four home runs in a game, five have been elected. Players are eligible for the Hall of Fame if they have played in at least 10 major league seasons, and have either been retired for five seasons or deceased for at least six months. These requirements leave four players ineligible who are living and have played in the past five seasons, and one (Seerey) who did not play 10 seasons in MLB. No player has ever hit four home runs in a postseason game.
|Player||Name of the player|
|Date||Date of the four home run game|
|Team||The player's team at the time of the game|
|Opposing team||The team against whom the player hit four home runs|
|Score||Final score of the game, with the player's team score listed first|
|Career HR||The number of home runs the player hit in his MLB career|
|º||Indicates that the home runs were in consecutive plate appearances|
|Elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame|
|*||Denotes player who is still active|
|Indicates the player's team lost the game|
|Player||Date||Team||Opposing team||Score||Career HR||Ref(s)|
|Lowe, BobbyBobby Loweº||May 30, 1894||Boston Beaneaters||Cincinnati Reds||20–11||71|||
|Delahanty, EdEd Delahanty||July 13, 1896||Philadelphia Phillies||Chicago Colts||8–9||101|||
|Gehrig, LouLou Gehrigº||June 3, 1932||New York Yankees||Philadelphia Athletics||20–13||493|||
|Klein, ChuckChuck Klein||July 10, 1936||Philadelphia Phillies||Pittsburgh Pirates||9–6||300|||
|Seerey, PatPat Seerey||July 18, 1948||Chicago White Sox||Philadelphia Athletics||12–11||86|||
|Hodges, GilGil Hodges||August 31, 1950||Brooklyn Dodgers||Boston Braves||19–3||370|||
|Adcock, JoeJoe Adcock||July 31, 1954||Milwaukee Braves||Brooklyn Dodgers||15–7||336|||
|Colavito, RockyRocky Colavitoº||June 10, 1959||Cleveland Indians||Baltimore Orioles||11–8||374|||
|Mays, WillieWillie Mays||April 30, 1961||San Francisco Giants||Milwaukee Braves||14–4||660|||
|Schmidt, MikeMike Schmidtº||April 17, 1976||Philadelphia Phillies||Chicago Cubs||18–16||548|||
|Horner, BobBob Horner||July 6, 1986||Atlanta Braves||Montreal Expos||8–11||218|||
|Whiten, MarkMark Whiten||September 7, 1993||St. Louis Cardinals||Cincinnati Reds||15–2||105|||
|Cameron, MikeMike Cameronº||May 2, 2002||Seattle Mariners||Chicago White Sox||15–4||278|||
|Green, ShawnShawn Green||May 23, 2002||Los Angeles Dodgers||Milwaukee Brewers||16–3||328|||
|Delgado, CarlosCarlos Delgadoº||September 25, 2003||Toronto Blue Jays||Tampa Bay Devil Rays||10–8||473|||
|Hamilton, JoshJosh Hamilton*||May 8, 2012||Texas Rangers||Baltimore Orioles||10–3||187|||