April 18, 1987: Mike Schmidt Hits Career Home Run No. 500

Christopher WoodleyContributor IIIApril 18, 2012

SAN DIEGO - 1987:  Mike Schmidt #20 of the Philadelphia Phillies watches the flight of the ball after a hit during a 1987 season game against the Padres at Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego, California. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
Stephen Dunn/Getty Images

Mike Schmidt hit his 499th career home run off of Pittsburgh's Bob Patterson in a 6-2 Philadelphia win on April 17, 1987.

The next day—Saturday, April 18, 1987—Schmidt looked to become the 14th player in major league history with 500.

Schmidt's milestone home run at Three Rivers Stadium was also one of his most dramatic.

The Phillies seemed to be heading for the victory with a late 5-2 lead. But the Pirates rallied for four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to grab a 6-5 advantage.

In the top of the ninth and Pittsburgh's Don Robinson on the mound for the save, Philadelphia second baseman Juan Samuel was at third with two outs.

After Von Hayes walked, Schmidt stepped to the plate 0-for-3 with a walk on the afternoon. While he was only a .122 (7-for-57) career hitter against Robinson, four of the hits were home runs.

Even though Schmidt was in the twilight of his career, he was the 1986 N.L. MVP and still a dangerous hitter. Robinson fell behind 3-0 and some of the 19,361 in attendance believed Schmidt would be walked to bring left fielder Chris James to the plate.

But instead of taking, Schmidt deposited Robinson's 3-0 pitch over the left field wall for career home run No. 500 and an 8-6 Phillies lead.

The ball was eventually retrieved by Philadelphia bullpen coach Mike Ryan and given to Schmidt in the dugout as the Phillies held on for the victory.

Schmidt's 500th home run was his fifth of the season. When he retired during the 1989 season, he finished his career with 548 home runs.