Josh Hamilton Bombs His Way Into History

Source: FanGraphs

Josh Hamilton wrote his name into the history books in Baltimore tonight, becoming just the 14th player in Major League history to hit four home runs in a single game, launching two off Orioles starter Jake Arrieta, one off reliever Zach Phillips, and one off side-armer Darren O’Day.

He’s just the third player to ever record a fifth extra base hit in the game in which he also hit four homers, as he added a double to rack up 18 total bases on the night. Only Shawn Green in 2002 and Joe Adcock in 1954 added a fifth XBH to their big night, and prior to tonight, those were the only games in history where a player had accumulated at least 18 total bases in a single performance. Green actually added a single as well, so he still stands alone with 19 total bases based on his 6-6 night.

Hamilton homered in his final at-bat in last night’s game, so over the span of six plate appearances, he managed to hit five home runs and a double. It will take a little more digging to confirm, but there’s a pretty good chance that no one has ever done that before.

Hamilton now has 14 home runs on the season, two more than the San Diego Padres and just three behind the Minnesota Twins. As far as FanGraphs metrics go, Hamilton entered the night with a .474 wOBA and raised it to .536, passing Matt Kemp for the best mark in baseball. For the evening, he posted a wRC+ of 1,212. His wRC+ for the year is now 247 – Babe Ruth’s highest single season wRC+ was .235.

If you want to view the home runs, the highlights are up on

HR #1
HR #2
HR #3
HR #4

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Dave is a co-founder of and contributes to the Wall Street Journal.

69 Responses to “Josh Hamilton Bombs His Way Into History”

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  1. Kevin says:

    Dave, I love how you’re on edge to make an article whenever needed.

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  2. Colin P says:

    I continue to be thrilled that my team traded this dude for Edinson Volquez

    +66 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Brian says:

      It’s worse when you consider what happened to him; the chain has been Hamilton, Alonso and Grandal for a few years of Volquez and then a PETCO pitcher.

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  3. Keystone Heavy says:

    All 4 of the home runs were with Elvis Andrus on 1st base. In the 5th when the bases were empty, Hamilton just hit a really long double.

    Way to go Andrus. You really let everyone down tonight. All you had to do was get on base in the 5th and Hamilton would have become the first player in history to hit 5 home runs. -.1 WAR for you.

    +34 Vote -1 Vote +1

    • Kinanik says:

      Yeah, it was pretty fun looking at the game log: “J. Hamilton homered. E. Andrus scored.” Four times.

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  4. Max says:

    Let’s celebrate! Shots are on me!

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  5. Keystone Heavy says:

    Something else maybe worth mentioning is that Hamilton actually hit a Home Run during his last PA the game before. So over his last 6 plate appearences, he has 5 home runs and a double.

    In other words, hes doing pretty good right now.

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    • TFINY says:

      Did you not read the article? Did Dave Cameron see your comment and edit his article? The world may never know.

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      • Keystone Heavy says:

        I’m pretty sure I just missed that paragraph when I first read this article. Maybe I can compensate by posting this via Yahoo!:

        “Larry Granillo of Tater Trot Tracker notes that Hamilton’s home run trots got quicker as the night went on: “#1 – 23.8 secs, #2 – 21.36 secs, #3 – 24.1 secs, #4 – 20.75 secs”

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  6. Aussie Guy says:

    “Pfft – I’ll hit four home runs by August too.”

    – Albert Pujols

    +52 Vote -1 Vote +1

  7. Max says:

    Who has the better shot at the triple crown? Kemp or Hamilton?

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    • elijah says:

      Can’t really decide which. Hamilton plays for a better hitting team in a hitter-friendly park so he’ll have more protection and chances to drive in runs, but I think he’ll probably have stronger challenges from other hitters in his league.

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    • jorgath says:

      Hamilton. Kemp will no-doubter win the HR title, but he’s got more challengers to the AVG title.

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      • GoToWarMissAgnes says:

        I’d hesitate to say Kemp will ‘no doubt’ win the HR title in his league. He’s the favorite, but Braun or Stanton could easily catch him without it being a surprise.

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    • Phantom Stranger says:

      I think Hamilton has the better shot at winning the triple crown because his natural contact ability is greater than Kemp’s. Remember that Hamilton has already won one batting title and has a lifetime average well over .300. Kemp goes through stretches where he strikes out too much to maintain a .350 or .370 average all season.

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    • Todd Doug says:

      I’d say Kemp, but only because of Hamilton’s injury history. If he can get 600AB this year, I think Hamilton’s got the better shot.

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    • James says:

      Is ZIPS or another projection system projecting Hamilton and/or Kemp to win the triple crown (e.g., based on their current performance combined with projected performance relative to the projections for the field)? Not sure how to find this, but it would be interesting… Hamilton/Kemp can widen their lead while they are still hot at start the year, they might be able to win it even as they regress over the remainder of the season.

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  8. Aussie Guy says:

    J Hamilton homered to center, E Andrus scored.
    J Hamilton homered to *left*, E Andrus scored.
    J Hamilton homered to center, E Andrus scored.
    J Hamilton homered to center, E Andrus scored.

    He’s inconsistent…

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  9. AY says:

    I once left 2 Orioles tickets on my windshield, when I came back there were 7.

    +50 Vote -1 Vote +1

  10. Slats says:

    “Hamilton will never amount to anything.”

    – Reds front office after trading him in 2007

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    • Derek says:

      It certainly doesn’t look good for them now, but it was never a question of the FO questioning his talent. Hamilton wanted to leave after they fired Narron, and they let him go. We can quibble all day with what they got back for him (I’d very much like Feliz or Holland in the rotation right now), but there wasn’t much they could’ve done to keep him in Cincinnati.

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      • Hunter fan says:

        He was still under contract, correct? He could whine and complain all he wanted to, but the Reds could’ve kept him there.

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      • Derek says:

        Right, I was talking about whenever his deal was up. I don’t think there was much chance the Reds would’ve resigned him anyway, but the Narron firing certainly sealed the deal

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  11. Slats says:

    The Rangers need to give Josh Hamilton an extension now!

    They cannot let him hit the market after this season is over.

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  12. Josh A says:

    So, you’re saying that I did well by picking him in FG: The Game today?

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  13. Shaun Catron says:

    Talk about hitting the jackpot if you own Andrus and Hamilton in fantasy.

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  14. Nick says:

    Has anyone ever out-homered an entire team over a full season?

    It wouldn’t shock me if someone does it to the pads this year

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  15. Phrozen says:

    Minor detail: Hamilton is the 16th 4HR guy, not the 14th.

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    • bstar says:

      True, I’m guessing Dave forgot the two guys to accomplish the feat in the 1890s, Bobby Lowe in 1894 and Ed Delahanty in 1896.

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  16. jarrodc says:

    Dude does it without effort too!

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  17. Tucker McElroy says:

    What great timing. Texas says they’re negotiating an extension with Hamilton on the day he hits four home runs. Cha-Ching.

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  18. Seth says:

    Standing O from the Oriole faithful after the 4th one. Amazing.

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  19. Eric says:

    Off the bat, his double looked like it was out. The Natural.

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  20. Coodle says:

    Chris Davis wouldn’t have let this happen had he graced the mound.

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  21. Keystone Heavy says:

    May of 2012, Josh Hamilton, while batting 3rd in the order, hit 4 home runs in one game. The batter hitting 4th? Adrain Beltre!

    May of 2002, Shawn Greene, while batting 3rd in the order, hit 4 home runs in one game. The batter hitting 2nd? Adrian Beltre!

    The man that relieved Ishii in Shawn Green’s game? Guilermo Mota! The man that was suspended 100 games the day before Hamilton’s game? Guilermo Mota!

    Coincidences? Hell no! There is a connection, and I’m going to get to the bottom of this!

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    • Phrozen says:

      Interesting point about Beltre. I suppose, without looking, that he’s been connected to the most 4-HR games in history.

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    • CJ says:

      Someone should call NotGraph’s crack Investigative Reporting Investigation Team; this is some Shocking Numerology.

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  22. Nom Chompsky says:

    That must have been an intoxicating sight to see live. Sitting in the stands, sipping on a coke, breathing in the freshly cut grass and marveling in each crack of the bat. Drinking it all in, watching Hamilton take that high ball and drill it past the warning tracks…he was a hero in a lot eyes, tonight.

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  23. Slats says:

    Pujols Since April 20: 70 AB, 7 hits, 1 HR, 5 RBI
    Hamilton last 6 AB: 6 hits, 5 HR, 10 RBI

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  24. Antonio Bananas says:

    and he did it all drunk off his ass.

    This was a joke, probably not a very good one.

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  25. Bill says:

    More coincidences: Jaime Moyer pitched 3 days before Hamilton’s and Greene’s 4 homer games. Who also pitched 3 days before Delahanty’s 4 homer game? You guessed it.

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  26. steven says:

    Josh Hamilton had 1.9 Wins Above Replacement going into last night’s game.

    Josh Hamilton now has 2.7 Wins Above Replacement.

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    • bill says:

      A couple weeks ago I saw someboday in the comments ask who has accumulated the most WAR in a single day. Josh Hamilton was happy to answer that question.

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      • Ludwig von Koopa says:

        I had always wondered (though not intensely enough to really experiment) if it was possible to accumulate more than 1 WAR during a single game… with Hamilton getting 0.8 last night, I’m glad to see that the answer is, at the very least “extremely unlikely”.

        I guess if something truly unprecedented happened and a pitcher went 14IP/35K/0BB/0H you could get there? Maybe a batter going for 6 or 7 HR in a game? Depending on run environment, of course.

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  27. everdiso says:

    “Lol. When Ruth hit 60 in 1927, he outhomered EVERY team in the league (besides the Yankees).”

    Lol. when Babe Ruth played, the talent level of MLB was roughly equivalent to the Sally Leauge.

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    • Hurtlockertwo says:

      How do you know this? Walter Johnson threw 95 mph, I suspect he wasn’t the only MLB pitcher with a 90 mph fastball. The talent level may not be the same as today, but I seriously doubt it was Sally leauge.

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      • Phrozen says:

        Walter Johnson threw *hard.* He may have thrown 95, but being that the radar gun wasn’t invented until the 1950s, there’s really no way to know for sure how hard he threw.

        But yeah, 1920s MLB was really not the equivalent to the Sally League.

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      • ThePartyBird says:

        Phrozen: They had ways of measuring the speed of a baseball before the radar gun. They weren’t as precise, but they were still able to give a good estimate.

        Big Train had one pitch measured in a gravity-drop interval recorder (no idea how precise its readings were), and it registered as 91 mph. I speculate that the fact that only one pitch was recorded suggests that it was very difficult to get a reading and that Johnson may have thrown a lot of pitches. A speeding motorcycle had Johnson at over 99. These obviously aren’t the most accurate measurements, but it’s not a stretch to suggest that he could throw as hard as any starter today.

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      • Phrozen says:

        PartyBird: I did not know that–I’m somewhatr skeptical that anything involving a motorcycle is remotely accurate, but the other one is actually kinda cool. Thanks!

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    • jim says:

      can’t tell if stupid or trolling

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  28. MikeS says:

    Not sure on the 5 HR in 6 AB, but I do remember back in 93ish, when Mark Whiten hit 4 HR, it was actually a double header day and he hit 5 in those two games.

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  29. Harlan says:

    “It will take a little more digging to confirm, but there’s a pretty good chance that no one has ever done that before.”

    Shawn Green, among others holds the record for: most home runs in two consecutive games (5), most home runs in three consecutive games (7), and most consecutive home runs (4). He hit his 4 home runs, 5 extra base hits, and 19 total bases against the Milwaukee Brewers in 2002.


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  30. Hurtlockertwo says:

    Trivia on 4 HR’s in a game. Gil hodges of the Dodgers hit 4 HR’s in a game against the Braves in August of 1950. In 1954 Joe Adcock of the Brave s hit 4 HR’s in a game against the Dodgers, Gil Hodges also hit a HR in that game. Willie mays hit 4 HR’s in a game against the Braves in April of 1961, Joe Adcock played in that game against the Giants but did not homer. Spooky.
    When Mike Schmidt hit his 4 HR’s in a game he homered off two brothers in that game, Rick Reuschel twice and Paul Reuschel once.
    When Bob Horner had his 4 HR game in 1986 he only drove in 6 runs, he also only hit only 13 more HR’s in his career and retired after many injures at age 30.

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