Last Updated on June 7, 2023 by Matt Musico
Hitting 4 home runs in a game is one of the ultimate individual feats a hitter can accomplish during their career. As we’ll soon see below, it’s only been done 18 different times in MLB history. Considering there are nearly 5,000 regular-season games played each year when combining the schedules of all 30 clubs, it really puts into perspective just how rare something like this is.
So, who has done it? Against which teams? During what years? We’ve got the answers and some commentary about each occurrence.
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4 Home Runs in a Game: Every Occurrence in MLB History
You’ll see that there are plenty of seemingly “random” players to accomplish this feat. However, there are still some appearances from dudes who have ended up on MLB’s all-time home run list, as well as at the top of some franchise home run leaderboards. See who made it and who missed out.
Lou Gehrig, New York Yankees
6/3/1932 vs. Athletics
If I had 10 chances to guess who the first AL player to hit four home runs in a game was, I’m not so sure I would’ve eventually landed on Lou Gehrig, but here we are. As you’ll see below, there were a couple of players to reach this milestone prior to the modern era, but Gehrig was the first one to do it after 1900.
The Iron Horse wasted no time in accomplishing this feat for the Yankees, as he went deep in each of his first four at-bats against the Athletics. These bombs happened in the first, fourth, fifth, and seventh innings, and were just the beginning of a 20-run outburst for New York, which included 50 total bases from the offense. Gehrig went hitless in his final two at-bats, but by that point, it didn’t matter — he did something that not even Babe Ruth accomplished during his own Hall of Fame career.
Gehrig finished the 1932 season with a very healthy line of .349/.451/.621, as well as 34 home runs and 151 RBI. He finished second in MVP voting to Jimmie Foxx, which was part of a seven-season streak where he finished in the top five of MVP voting.
Pat Seerey, Chicago White Sox
7/18/1948 vs. Athletics
First, it happened to the Athletics, then it happened to them again thanks to the bat of Pat Seerey. Honestly, the SABR recount of this day in MLB history is the best I’ve seen and I wouldn’t be able to do it justice, so I’ll just link it here.
When comparing his career to that of Lou Gehrig, it’s pretty much like night and day. Seerey spent parts of six seasons in the big leagues, was out of the game by the age of 26, and hit 86 home runs throughout his career. He was at least consistent in the power department — after hitting just one as a rookie 1943 while appearing in 26 games, he finished with no fewer than 11 in a year between 1944 and 1948.
During this 1948 campaign, Seerey finished with a .231/.353/.419 line with 19 home runs and 70 RBI. He also led the league with 102 strikeouts, which was a category he, unfortunately, led four times during his career.
Rocky Colavito, Cleveland Guardians
6/10/1959 vs. Orioles
Rocky Colavito was an All-Star nine different times during his 14-year MLB career. He also slugged 374 home runs during that time and was a force at the plate for the Guardians, the Detroit Tigers, and the Kansas City Athletics. In fact, he enjoyed 11 straight years of at least 20 homers from 1956 to 1966, racking up 100-plus RBI six times in the process. During this 11-year run of power, Colavito had 30-plus homers on seven occasions, including five straight from 1958-62.
His four-homer game against the Baltimore Orioles came right in the middle of this power surge during his career. Colavito wasted no time accomplishing this feat, as he did it in four consecutive at-bats. To get a detailed recount of the historic day, check out this story from SABR.
Mike Cameron, Seattle Mariners
5/2/2002 vs. White Sox
Mike Cameron was coming off a lot of firsts when looking at his 2001 campaign. He set new single-season career-high marks for home runs (25), RBI (110), and OPS (.832), along with being selected to his first All-Star Game and winning his first of three Gold Gloves.
What I love about this performance from Cameron against the White Sox on May 2, 2002, is he had a good day at the office after the first inning. He hit two of his four home runs in the opening frame, which was part of a 10-run outburst for the Mariners. As if that wasn’t enough, both of the dingers looked nearly identical to one another, didn’t they?
But, no, it wasn’t enough, as he went on to hit two more homers (one of which also went to center field). Here’s the box score and some details on Cameron’s memorable performance from Baseball Almanac.
Carlos Delgado, Toronto Blue Jays
9/25/2003 vs. Devil Rays
Quite simply, Carlos Delgado was one of the game’s most feared sluggers for the entirety of his MLB career. The native Puerto Rican slugged 473 dingers over 17 years, which included 13 straight years of 20-plus home runs. As long as Delgado played every day, he was going to get his homers. He shockingly never led baseball in this category but did hit at least 38 in a season on seven different occasions (including three 40-plus homer performances).
Shifting gears to his huge day at the office against the Devil Rays, he’s actually the only American League player (as of 2021) to enjoy a four-homer game at home. Simply just hitting one homer on this night made it memorable because it was the 300th of the left-handed slugger’s career, but why stop there when you can hit three more?
As you’ll see in the above video, Delgado knew exactly what was happening because he was asking for the ball while rounding the bases.
What’s crazy about the two that followed was that it appeared as though he hit them off the end of the bat, yet he still muscled them out, which gave him 40 dingers on the year. The final homer, though, was an absolute blast to center field, and Delgado’s bat flip tells us he knew that thing was a moonshot from the second he made contact.
Josh Hamilton, Texas Rangers
5/8/2012 vs. Orioles
Josh Hamilton’s professional baseball career took a lot of twists and turns, but he picked the perfect time to be at the top of his game. He appeared in five straight All-Star Games with the Rangers, won the AL MVP in 2010, and had a huge year in 2012 right before he hit free agency. He slashed .285/.354/.577 with a career-high 43 home runs and an almost-career-high 128 RBI. The outfielder turned that into a five-year, $125 million contract with the Los Angeles Angels.
Hamilton was already in a good power groove heading into this game, as he’d slugged 10 homers on the year. As you’ll see in the video, he was only a few feet away from having a five-homer game (and six homers in his last six at-bats), but there’s nothing wrong with four home runs and a double.
And this is one of those little things that makes baseball awesome — there was a runner on base for each of Hamilton’s dingers, so he racked up eight RBI in the process off the strength of those four two-run home runs.
4 Home Runs in a Game: National League
Bobby Lowe, Boston Beaneaters
5/30/1894 vs. Reds
We’re not going to pretend to know much about the first-ever four-homer performance in baseball history. With that in mind, let us direct you to a terrific write-up on this historic day for Bobby Lowe via our friends at SABR.
Lowe enjoyed an 18-year professional career, which included 71 total homers. Between 1893 and 1894 – his age-27 and age-28 campaigns – he hit 31 dingers, which equated to just under 44% of his career total. In fact, that 1894 season was his best all-around year at the plate. He slashed .346/.401/.520 in 678 plate appearances. He registered single-season career-high marks for home runs (17), doubles (34), triples (11), RBI (115), runs scored (158), and hits (212). Oh, and he threw in 23 stolen bases for good measure.
Ed Delahanty, Philadelphia Phillies
7/13/1896 vs. Colts
Delahanty enjoyed a 16-year Hall of Fame career and showed quite a bit of power during the era in which he played. In addition to winning two batting titles, he also led the league in homers twice, triples once, doubles five times, and RBI three times.
Big Ed enjoyed a dominant 1896 campaign, but it was just part of a ridiculous five-year run where he never produced a batting average below .360, and he finished above .400 twice. He accumulated 2,969 plate appearances during this stretch, slashing a remarkable .389/.462/.590 with 52 home runs, 207 doubles, 79 triples, 607 RBI, 682 runs scored, and 168 stolen bases.
He was in the middle of having another good year in 1903 for the Washington Senators as a 35-year-old, but he died unexpectedly, and the story behind it sounds pretty crazy in itself.
Chuck Klein, Philadelphia Phillies
7/10/1936 vs. Pirates
What makes having a four-homer game even more fun? When the final one is an extra-inning blast that breaks a tie and helps your club win. Chuck Klein knew what that’s like, and it was probably lots of fun. As we can see and hear in the above video, if he had just gotten a little more muscle behind a second-inning flyout that went to the wall, he would’ve been the first and only player in history to hit five dingers in one game.
The 17-year MLB veteran is a Hall of Famer and was one of baseball’s premier power hitters not named Babe Ruth. Between 1929 and 1936, he enjoyed eight straight seasons of 20-plus homers and led the league in this category four different times. He also finished within the top two of MVP voting three straight years from 1931 to 1933, winning the award in ’32.
This three-year span of time was nuts when looking at it cumulatively. Through 2,035 plate appearances, Klein slashed .351/.408/612 with 97 home runs, 378 RBI, 374 runs scored, and 42 stolen bases. While his overall numbers were better in ’32, his 1933 season was a memorable one because he won the triple crown while also leading the league in hits, doubles, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, and total bases.
Klein’s 1936 campaign was his last truly dominant one before Father Time caught up with him. Across 656 plate appearances between the Chicago Cubs and Philadelphia Phillies, the outfielder slashed .306/.358/.512 with 25 home runs, 104 RBI, and 102 runs scored. His 243 career homers with the Phillies still rank fifth all-time in franchise history, which speaks volumes to how impactful of a player he was.
Gil Hodges, Brooklyn Dodgers
8/31/1950 vs. Braves
The Brooklyn Dodgers beat the Boston Braves handily on this day by a score of 19-3, and Gil Hodges could’ve beaten them all by himself with a historic performance. His four homers in this nine-inning game made him just the second player in the 20th century to do so, joining Gehrig. (Remember, Klein hit his final homer in extras. Details, I know.)
Hodges added a single for good measure, which helped him break the modern MLB record for total bases in a game with 17. He also set a team record with nine RBI. Interestingly enough for this time period, each of Hodges’ home runs came off a different pitcher: Warren Spahn, Normie Roy, Bob Hall, and Johnny Antonelli.
Hodges never led the league in homers or RBI during a single season, but he sure made his mark during his 18-year big-league career. The 1950 season was the start of five straight years in which he eclipsed the 30-homer, 100-RBI plateau. He ended up enjoying an 11-year stretch between 1949 and 1959 where he clubbed at least 20 dingers.
Between 1950 and 1954, Hodges averaged 35 home runs and 114 RBI per season, which helped him land on the Dodgers’ all-time home run leaderboard.
Joe Adcock, Milwaukee Braves
7/31/1954 vs. Dodgers
Almost exactly four years to the day of Hodges’ record-breaking performance, Joe Adcock had one of his own that was slightly better in one metric. The right-handed hitter had a huge hand in the Braves’ 15-7 blowout victory against the Los Angeles Dodgers by homering four times and adding a double for good measure. He scored five times and drove in seven runs while accumulating 18 total bases, which broke Hodges’ record.
It was a powerful couple of days for Adcock, as he slugged another homer the day before on July 30th against the Dodgers. Between these two games, he went 8-for-10 with five homers, two doubles, 10 RBI, and six runs scored. That was the pinnacle of his power surge during the 1954 season, though. From August 1st through the end of the year (163 plate appearances and 38 games played) Adcock collected just 12 more extra-base hits overall, including four home runs.
The first baseman and outfielder slugged a total of 336 homers throughout his 17-year MLB career. After hitting eight as a rookie in 1950, he never finished another year in the majors with fewer than 10 dingers. This included seven years of 20-plus homers, as he got over the 30-dinger mark twice (38 in ’56, 35 in ’61).
Willie Mays, San Francisco Giants
4/30/1961 vs. Braves
Entering the 1961 season, Willie Mays had already established himself as one of the best baseball players ever. Between 1951 and 1960 with the Giants, he slashed .317/.390/.585 with 279 home runs, 812 RBI, 884 runs scored, 204 stolen bases, and more walks (566) than strikeouts (505). This stretch included Rookie of the Year honors, an MVP award, four Gold Gloves, and nine All-Star Game appearances, along with seven straight years of at least 29 homers.
But this year was the beginning of an impressive power binge for the outfielder, which happened between his age-30 and age-34 seasons. Prior to his historic game on April 30th, Mays’ season was off to a good, but not outrageously wonderful start. Through 15 games (64 plate appearances), he was slashing .291/.391/.436 with two homers, six RBI, and eight runs scored. Then came that matchup against the Braves, where he hit more homers (four) and drove in more runs (eight) in one game than he did the rest of the month.
He finished the year with 40 homers and 123 RBI – the first time he reached numbers that high since he slugged 51 dingers with 127 RBI in 1955. From 1961-65, Mays hit 40 or more homers in a single season four times. He led the league in that category three times, which included a career-high 52 in ’65.
Mike Schmidt, Philadelphia Phillies
4/17/1976 vs. Cubs
Mike Schmidt was one of the league’s premier home-run hitters before he enjoyed this historic performance against the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field. He finished the 1974 and 1975 seasons with the most homers in baseball with 36 and 38, respectively, and he’d be on his way to leading the league in this category again.
It’d be the second of three straight years of him hitting exactly 38 homers.
This was a wild extra-inning affair with Chicago, as the Phillies ended up winning an absolute slugfest by a score of 18-16 in 10 innings. Heading into this contest, Schmidt was slow out of the gates through his first four games of the year. Philadelphia was 1-3 and its star third baseman was slashing just .167/.286/.333 with one homer and two RBI. He went 5-for-6 with four homers and eight RBI on this day to get himself back on track.
What I love about Schmidt’s career is that he spread out his 548 career homers quite well. He hit 30-plus homers 13 times during his 18 years in the big leagues, with the first instance coming in 1974 as a 24-year-old, and the last instance coming in 1987 as a 37-year-old.
Bob Horner, Atlanta Braves
7/6/1986 vs. Expos
Bob Horner played in the big leagues for 10 years, and despite only making one All-Star Game, he enjoyed a nice little career. He produced a lifetime slash line of .277/.340/.499 with 218 home runs, which included seven different seasons with 20-plus homers. Horner’s historic day at the dish came in his last full season in the majors, which was his age-28 campaign with Atlanta.
One could say this performance – which happened during a loss to Montreal – came out of nowhere. Leading up to his four-homer and six-RBI performance, Horner had gone homerless in his previous 12 games. This outburst also didn’t set him up for any kind of power streak, either. He went another 17 games without a home run after July 6th, slashing just .226/.273/.258 with two doubles and four RBI.
He did end up finishing the year strong through his final 132 plate appearances in September, clubbing eight homers with 20 RBI after hitting just 11 dingers with 35 RBI between June and August.
Mark Whiten, St. Louis Cardinals
9/7/1993 vs. Reds
First off, is “Hard Hittin’” Mark Whiten the best nickname or what? The Cardinals played in a doubleheader on September 7th, 1993 but Whiten saved his best work for the nightcap by hitting four homers and driving in 12 runs. He got himself off to a fast start with a grand slam and a pair of three-run bombs.
This was a blowout victory for St. Louis against the Cincinnati Reds. What I love the most about the above video is how the swagger on his bat flips/drops increased exponentially with each ball that sailed over the fence.
Although Whiten put together better overall offensive performances later on in his 11-year career, the 1993 season was a memorable one because he set career highs for homers (25) and RBI (99). Looking at his Baseball-Reference page, it’s ridiculous to see how well-traveled he was in such a short period of time. During those 11 years in the big leagues, the left-handed hitter played for eight different teams: Cleveland, Philadelphia, St. Louis, Toronto, Atlanta, Boston, Seattle, and the New York Yankees.
Shawn Green, Los Angeles Dodgers
5/23/2002 vs. Brewers
Shawn Green hit 328 homers during his 15-year MLB career, and while he only registered four different years of 30-plus homers during that time, he made them count. How so? Well, in three of those four years, he surpassed the 40-homer plateau, including a career-high 49 dingers in 2001.
Green had also driven in 125 RBI in 2001, helping him set single-season personal bests in each category that he’d never again surpass. His four-homer performance against the Brewers happened in Milwaukee and was the conclusion of a three-game set. He already had himself a good series but really put a cherry on top by going 6-for-6 with those four taters, a double, seven RBI, and six runs scored in a 16-3 victory.
His numbers through 15 plate appearances in this series were just ridiculous, too – he slashed .643/.667/2.143 (!) with eight extra-base hits (six homers, one double, one triple), 10 RBI, and eight runs scored. The start of this series in Wisconsin brought a tear at the plate for Green. Over the course of seven games (three in Milwaukee, three more at Arizona, and one at home against the Brewers again), the left-handed slugger hit 10 homers, which included three separate multi-homer efforts.
That was indicative of the year Green had with the Dodgers because his homers came in bunches. He hit 10 or more homers in three different months while hitting no more than four dingers in the other three months. So, between May (10 homers), June (12), and August (10), he clubbed about 76% of his total homers for the year.
Scooter Gennett, Cincinnati Reds
6/6/2017 vs. Cardinals
Is Scooter Gennett one of the most unlikely players to hit four homers in a game? He certainly has a case.
Heading into the 2017 season, he wasn’t exactly considered an offensive juggernaut. In four seasons with the Brewers from 2013-16, Gennett hit .279/.318/.420 with a total of 35 homers. From 2017-18 with the Cincinnati Reds, those numbers increased dramatically to .303/.351/.508 and 50, respectively.
This was so unlikely because up until that point of the season, he was hitting similar to his career norms. Through his first 117 plate appearances, he owned a triple slash of .270/.308/.450 with three homers and 20 RBI. Then, in the course of five plate appearances during a random night in June, Gennett more than doubled his season-long home run total with four and increased his RBI output by 50% by driving in 10 runs.
From June 6th to the end of the season, Gennett hit 24 homers for the Reds and slugged a very healthy – and at the time, uncharacteristic — .557 over his final 380 plate appearances.
J.D. Martinez, Arizona Diamondbacks
9/4/2017 vs. Dodgers
J.D. Martinez played just 62 games for the Diamondbacks after getting acquired from the Detroit Tigers via trade during the 2017 season, but my goodness did he make every moment count. In that short period, which equated to 257 plate appearances, Martinez slugged 29 homers with a ridiculous .741 slugging percentage and 2.2 fWAR.
By the time September rolled around, his four-homer game against the Dodgers was just icing on the cake. His dingers traveled a total of 1,671 feet, with each of them flying at least 400 feet. Hitting 45 homers in a single year means you must be pummeling baseballs on a regular basis, which is what he did – he hit at least eight dingers in four of the five months he was on the field. But still, what made his 2017 campaign special was what he did in September.
Over his final 109 plate appearances, Martinez slugged an unbelievable 16 homers with 36 RBI, which included a .396/.431/.950 triple slash. To put that number in perspective, he slugged 16 dingers with 39 RBI between July and August combined (202 plate appearances). Outside of the above onslaught against Los Angeles, he only enjoyed one other multi-homer game in September, so he was just consistently blasting taters, including five in a six-game span from September 20th-27th.
Hitting 4 Home Runs in a Game: Who’s Next?
Although it took us a while to get through this list, hitting four home runs in one game is a rare feat to accomplish in baseball history. We can see the variance in a handful of recent occurrences, too. Shawn Green and Mike Cameron did it weeks apart from one another in May of 2002. Meanwhile, Scooter Gennett and J.D. Martinez did it just three months apart in 2017, and that was the last time someone do it.
There have been a number of three-homer games along the way, but nobody has been able to get over the hump for that fourth dinger. It’ll happen again, but how soon? That remains to be seen.