Josh Reddick's home run outburst puts him in elite company
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:
|Josh Reddick||A's||August 9-10, 2013|
|Travis Hafner||Indians||July 19-20, 2004|
|Alex Rodriguez||Rangers||August 17-18, 2002|
|Nomar Garciappara||Red Sox||July 21-23, 2002|
|Barry Bonds||Giants||May 19-20, 2001|
|Geoff Jenkins||Brewers||April 28-29, 2001|
|Edgar Martinez||Mariners||May 17-18, 1999|
|Manny Ramirez||Indians||Sept. 15-16, 1998|
|Matt Williams||Indians||April 25-26, 1997|
|Albert Belle||Indians||Sept. 18-19, 1995|
|Mark McGwire||A's||June 10-11, 1995|
|Barry Larkin||Reds||June 27-28, 1991|
|Joe Carter||Indians||July 18-19, 1989|
|Mark McGwire||A's||June 27-28, 1987|
|Gary Carter||Mets||Sept. 3-4, 1985|
|Dave Kingman||Cubs||July 27-28, 1979|
|Carl Yastrzemski||Red Sox||May 19-20, 1976|
|Nate Colbert||Padres||Aug. 1, 1972|
|Billy Williams||Cubs||Sept. 8-10, 1968|
|Stan Musial||Cardinals||May 2, 1954|
|Don Mueller||Giants||Sept. 1-2, 1951|
|Ralph Kiner||Pirates||Sept. 11-12, 1947|
|Ralph Kiner||Pirates||August 15-16, 1947|
|Tony Lazzeri||Yankees||May 23-24, 1936|
|Ty Cobb||Tigers||May 5-6, 1925|