If you’ve watched as many Mets games as I have over the years, then you’ve undoubtedly heard Gary Cohen make this statement whenever a Met has come up to the plate after hitting two home runs in a home game:
“You know, Keith, no Met has ever hit three home runs in a game at home.”
It’s true. Nine Mets players have hit three home runs in a game. But Jim Hickman, Dave Kingman, Claudell Washington, Darryl Strawberry, Gary Carter, Edgardo Alfonzo, Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran and Ike Davis all accomplished their prodigious displays of power on the road.
So naturally I started wondering if the Mets were the only team in baseball to not have a single player hit three home runs in a home game. My research yielded an interesting answer.
Below is a list of the last players to pull off home run hat tricks for each major league team while wearing their home whites.
Boston Red Sox
Chicago White Sox
Kansas City Royals
Los Angeles Angels
Los Angeles Dodgers
New York Yankees
San Diego Padres
San Francisco Giants
St. Louis Cardinals
Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays
Editor’s note: Barry Bonds was the last member of the San Francisco Giants to hit three home runs in a regular season home game, but the Giants’ Pablo Sandoval hit three home runs in Game 1 of the 2012 World Series, which was played in San Francisco.
Did you notice any teams missing in the chart above? There were two – the Minnesota Twins and the New York Mets. But prior to 1961, the Minnesota Twins were playing ball as the Washington Senators. And on August 31, 1956, Jim Lemon became the first and only member of the original Washington Senators to hit three home runs in a home game when he clobbered his triumvirate of taters at Griffith Stadium against the New York Yankees.
With the Senators/Twins franchise having a member in the “three homers at home” club, that leaves the Mets as the only team in the majors without a player who has hit three round-trippers in a single game in his home ballpark.
It’s no wonder Gary Cohen continues to mention that fact ad nauseum in the same way he (and every other Mets broadcaster) used to discuss no-hitters before the events of June 1, 2012.
BUT WAIT, THERE’S MORE!
In honor of the topic at hand, here are some other bits of “three-homer at home” minutiae for you.
- Two players have hit three homers in a home game on four separate occasions. Both accomplished their feats for the Chicago Cubs. Ernie Banks had his three-homer games at Wrigley Field in 1955, 1957, 1962 and 1963, while Sammy Sosa slammed his way to history at the Friendly Confines in 1996, 1998 and twice in 2001.
- The Brooklyn Dodgers and the Milwaukee Brewers are the only teams to have three players accomplish the “three-homer at home” feat in the same season. In 1950, fans at Ebbets Field saw Duke Snider, Gil Hodges and Tommy Brown go deep three times in one game. Similarly, Miller Park season-ticket holders in 2011 witnessed Corey Hart, Casey McGehee and Prince Fielder circle the bases thrice in the same game.
- Although no Mets player has ever hit three homers in a game at home, four opposing players had three-homer games against the Mets in New York. St. Louis’ Stan Musial was the first to do so, smacking three bombs at the Polo Grounds on July 8, 1962. Dick Allen of the Philadelphia Phillies became the first player to hit three home runs in a game at Shea Stadium on September 29, 1968. A decade later, Cincinnati’s Pete Rose became the most unlikely candidate to have a three-homer game at Shea when he circled the bases three times on April 29, 1978. It was the only time Rose hit three home runs in a single game in his 24-year career. Finally, former Met Dave Kingman launched three long balls at Shea Stadium as a member of the Chicago Cubs on July 28, 1979.
- No Mets player has ever hit three homers in a home game. But seven players have hit three blasts in the same game against the Mets in their home ballparks, with one of the seven doing it twice. Willie McCovey of the San Francisco Giants victimized the Mets at Candlestick Park in 1963 and 1966. The next three times a player hit a trio of home runs in a home game against the Mets, those players were wearing Cubs uniforms. Adolfo Phillips (1967), Billy Williams (1968) and Tuffy Rhodes (1994) gave a total of nine souvenirs to the Bleacher Bums at Wrigley Field, courtesy of various Mets pitchers. The other three players to hit three homers in a home game against the Mets were Detroit’s Bobby Higginson (1997 at Tiger Stadium), Arizona’s Luis Gonzalez (2004 at Bank One Ballpark) and Florida’s Cody Ross (2006 at Dolphins Stadium). Ross’ game remains the only time in Marlins history in which one of their own hit three home runs in a game at home.
Since the Mets came into existence in 1962, there have been 175 instances in which a player hit three home runs in the same regular season game at his home ballpark. In all 175 instances, the player who circled the bases was wearing a uniform that did not say “Mets” on it.
Curtis Granderson was the last Yankee to accomplish the feat at Yankee Stadium. Now Granderson is a member of the Mets. Will he become the first Met to hit three homers in a game at home? Hey, if the Mets could finally pitch a no-hitter, then anything is possible, right?