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The Strike Zone

Josh Reddick's home run outburst puts him in elite company

Josh Reddick became the first player since 2004 to hit five homers over two games with his outburst Friday and Saturday. (Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) Oakland's Josh Reddick is the first player since 2004 to hit five homers over two games. (Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

A's right fielder Josh Reddick broke an 0-for-20 slump with three home runs against the Blue Jays Friday night. That was impressive, but when he added two more home runs on Saturday afternoon his outburst reached historic proportions. Not only did it take him just eight plate appearances to match his home run total from his previous 316, but Reddick became the first man since 2004 and just the 23rd ever* to hit five home runs over two consecutive games with multiple home runs in each game, a feat which has been accomplished just 25 times since 1916 (see the full list below).

(* Well, at least since 1916, which is as far back as searchable game data goes, but since that takes us to well before the live ball era, "ever" is a pretty safe bet)

That's impressive enough in and of itself, but the names on the list make it even moreso. Every one of the 22 players to accomplish the feat prior to Reddick made an All-Star team at some point in his career, eight of the 13 men to do it prior to 1995 are in the Hall of Fame and a Hall of Fame argument could be made for six of the 10 to do it since.

The first player ever to do it was Ty Cobb, who, in early May 1925, supposedly declared his intention to "be deliberately going for home runs" immediately before his outburst as if to prove the point that he could hit like Babe Ruth if he so desired. A solid analysis of this legend appears toward the bottom of Cobb's Baseball Almanac page. Eleven years would pass before the feat was done again and it never happened more than four times over any decade-long span until after the 1994 strike, when home run rates soared and the trick was turned 10 times from 1995 to 2004, most recently by Indians designated hitter Travis Hafner in July of that last year. It hadn't happened since then until Reddick.

A few other notes: Ralph Kiner and Mark McGwire each hit five home runs in two games twice, McGwire being the last A's hitter to do it in June 1995, and Kiner doing it twice in the span of a month late in the 1947 season. The only men ever to hit five home runs in a single day, via a double-header, were Stan Musial on May 2, 1954 and the Padres' Nate Colbert on Aug. 1, 1972. Of the 14 men to hit four home runs in a game in the modern era, just four also homered in the game immediately preceding or following that outburst: Joe Adcock, Mike Schmidt, Shawn Green, and Josh Hamilton. None of them had multiple home runs in one of those adjoining games, though Schmidt had single home runs in his next three games and Green hit one in the following game and two in the next.

Also worth noting: only four men have ever had three consecutive multi-homer games, a group Reddick could join on Sunday, and all three of them hit exactly two home runs in each game for a total of six. That group (Jeff DaVanon in 2003, Lee May in 1969, Frank Thomas in 1962 and Gus Zernial in 1951) is less impressive than the group of 22 that Reddick has already joined. However, if Reddick does join the smaller group with two home runs on Sunday, he'd join Green as the only men ever* to hit seven home runs over three games.

[mlbvideo id="29567139" width="600" height="360" /]

Five Home Runs In Two Games:

PlayerTeamDate
Josh ReddickA'sAugust 9-10, 2013
Travis HafnerIndiansJuly 19-20, 2004
Alex RodriguezRangersAugust 17-18, 2002
Nomar GarciapparaRed SoxJuly 21-23, 2002
Barry BondsGiantsMay 19-20, 2001
Geoff JenkinsBrewersApril 28-29, 2001
Edgar MartinezMarinersMay 17-18, 1999
Manny RamirezIndiansSept. 15-16, 1998
Matt WilliamsIndiansApril 25-26, 1997
Albert BelleIndiansSept. 18-19, 1995
Mark McGwireA'sJune 10-11, 1995
Barry LarkinRedsJune 27-28, 1991
Joe CarterIndiansJuly 18-19, 1989
Mark McGwireA'sJune 27-28, 1987
Gary CarterMetsSept. 3-4, 1985
Dave KingmanCubsJuly 27-28, 1979
Carl YastrzemskiRed SoxMay 19-20, 1976
Nate ColbertPadresAug. 1, 1972
Billy WilliamsCubsSept. 8-10, 1968
Stan MusialCardinalsMay 2, 1954
Don MuellerGiantsSept. 1-2, 1951
Ralph KinerPiratesSept. 11-12, 1947
Ralph KinerPiratesAugust 15-16, 1947
Tony LazzeriYankeesMay 23-24, 1936
Ty CobbTigersMay 5-6, 1925
Updated Sunday, Aug. 11 at 12:30 pm to add information about hitters with four-homer games.
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