Ranking Josh Hamilton's 4 Homer Game Among MLB's 10 Hardest Single-Game Feats
There are numerous achievements to be had in the game of baseball.
Some, though done more often, are still more difficult than others.
Four home runs in one game. It's definitely impressive.
But how hard is it?
Here's where Hamilton's milestone ranks. Remember, it's difficulty, not impressiveness.
These single-game feats just missed the list:
4 strikeouts in one inning
This means the catcher made a screwy play.
6 hits in a game
It's like hitting in the cages for some guys.
Inside-the-park home run
It can happen if the ball takes a weird bounce or a diving outfielder misses.
Steal second, third and home in one inning
It sounds impressive, but 49 people have done it.
3 pitch inning
Has more to do with eager hitters than it does with effectiveness.
No. 10: 9 Pitches, 9 Strikes, Side Retired
How many have done it: 43
This is the equivalent of a batter getting three or four hits in a row.
The pitcher is focused and efficient.
For three batters, it took him three pitches each.
None were balls.
No. 9: Home Run from Both Sides of the Plate in the Same Inning
How many have done it: 2
Hitting two home runs in one game is pretty impressive. Hitting two in one inning is phenomenal.
Though, if you're zoned in, it makes sense. Getting a second chance in the same inning only makes it easier to carry over the mojo.
Where this one earns a spot on the list is in the fact that a batter had to adjust not only to a different side of the plate but a different pitcher too.
It's much harder to remained that locked in when adapting to a new pitcher's stuff—one likely with no fatigue having just entered the game.
Carlos Baerga did it in 1993. Mark Bellhorn did it in 2002.
No. 8: Unassisted Triple Play
Number of times done: 15
One man—responsible for all three outs in an inning.
Though it's only happened a little over one dozen times, this one takes tons of luck to occur.
Yes, it's skill rather than luck that put a fielder in a particular place. But it's luck that gave him the ball.
Most of the time unassisted triple plays happen when a ball is hit right at a defender, who then tags the bag he is standing directly over and the runner on his way too him already.
But it doesn't always happen in such easy fashion.
A defender has to have quick-thinking, heads up awareness to pull this off quickly enough. A moment's hesitation and it's the difference between the end of an inning and a standard double play.
The last to do it was Eric Bruntlett of the Philadelphia Phillies in 2009.
No. 7: The Natural Cycle
How many have done it: 13
Harder than the cycle, hitting for the natural cycle takes an insane amount of luck.
Not only does a player hit a single, double, triple and home run in one game—they do it in that exact order.
Hitting for the cycle has occurred 293 times. Natural cycles made up just four percent of those.
For those wondering, it's happened in reverse order four times.
No. 6: 10 RBI in 1 Game
Number of times done: 12
Of 12 batters to hit 10 RBI in one game, only four have hit more.
This one depends heavily on teammates.
First, you have to get the at-bats.
Then, you have to have people on bases—multiple people at that.
Last, you as a batter have to be absolutely dialed in.
Garret Anderson was the last to perform this task, while he was with the Los Angeles Angels on August 21, 2007.
No. 5: 4 Home Runs in a Game
Number of times done: 16
Hitting four home runs in one game is a very difficult feat.
First of all, you have to get up at least four times. If you screw it up once, you have to hope for a fifth at-bat.
Not only do you have to be dialed in on the ball, you have to keep the focus through innings of interruptions.
It's not like the batting cages of endless balls.
There's teammates' at-bats and the opposing team. You have to break batting focus to play defense.
No. 4: The Perfect Game
Number of times done: 21
Sure, more guys captured this achievement than others on the list, but there's no denying the validity of a perfect game.
Twenty-seven batters faced. Twenty-seven batters down.
Pitchers have to rely somewhat on their team for this.
They have to hope first and foremost their team scores enough runs. If an offense can't score a run, the less likely it becomes the starting pitcher can maintain a suitable pitch count.
Pitchers have to pray for no errors as well.
But mostly, the perfect game remains in the pitcher's hands (or just one hand).
Not one batter can make it to base.
Pitchers have to face opposing hitters, the crowd, their own mindset and fatigue for all nine innings.
The last to do it was Philip Humber of the Chicago White Sox on April 21, 2012.
No. 3: 19 Total Bases in One Game
Number of times done: 1
This one is a bit of an anomaly, but the fact it's only happened one time in the history of baseball holds merit.
On May 23, 2002, New York Mets outfielder Shawn Green touched 19 total bases.
He—like Josh Hamilton—hit four home runs. Green added a double and a single in the same game.
Hamilton came close, but missed a tie by one base.
No. 2: 20 Strikeouts in a 9-Inning Game
Number of times done: 3
In a standard game, a pitcher faces at least 27 batters.
On three occasions, pitchers have struck out 20 of the minimum.
In a perfect game, that's 74 percent.
Nearly three out of every four batters returns to the dugout with nothing to show for his at bat.
Kerry Wood did it in 1998.
No. 1: 10 Straight Strikeouts
Number of times done: 1
Only one pitcher in the history of baseball has every struck out 10 straight batters.
Tom Seaver was the guy.
The New York Met did it on April 22, 1970.
Four men have come close with eight. Nolan Ryan did this twice.