Three 500 Home Run Club® dignitaries were among only 15 MLB players to hit four home runs in a single game:Lou Gehrig (06-03-32), Willie Mays (04-30-61) and Mike Schmidt (04-17-76)
Lou Gehrig Hits Four…Almost Five
On a day that nearly went down in history as the one when Lou Gehrig pounded five home runs, he settled for four. In the ninth inning he just missed a fifth homer when Al Simmons made a one-handed snatch of the "Iron Horse's" shot. Things started out perfectly for Gehrig, (who was saluted as an Honorary Member of The 500 HR Club in December) when during his first at bat in the opening frame at Shibe Park in Philadelphia he mashed the ball into the stands in left-center for a two-run shot. His second home run of the day went over the right field wall in the fourth inning. Home run #3 went into the stands in the fifth inning.
The Athletics' George Earnshaw gave up the first three homers. Philly manager Connie Mack replaced Earnshaw with Leroy Mahaffey who gave up Gehrig's fourth homer in the seventh inning. That shot screamed over the right field wall and tied Ty Cobb's American League record for total bases in game - 16.
Gehrig had two more chances to become the first player to hit five homers in a game (Bobby Lowe and Ed Delahanty had four in the 19th century). When the Yankee hero came to bat in the eighth inning, Philadelphia fans cheered, urging him to hit a home run. He grounded out.
The Yankee first baseman came up for the final time in the game in the ninth inning against pitcher Ed Rommel. A fifth home run was missed by inches as Gehrig hit his hardest shot of the day - caught in the furthest part of the park in deep centerfield.
With his heroics, Lou Gehrig became the first player in the 20th century to hit four homers in a game. That was some game, one the Yankees hung on to win, 21-3.
Mays Gets the Better of Aaron 4-2
On April 30, 1961 at Milwaukee’s County Stadium, The San Francisco Giants scored fourteen runs against the Braves and eight of them belonged to Willie Mays. The “Say Hey Kid” put on a dazzling display of power by going deep in the first, third, sixth, and eighth inning. Mays later credited the fact that he used teammate Joey Amalfitano's bat during the game for his stunning display of power.
His sixth inning homer cleared the left field bleachers and left County Stadium. After hitting his fourth home run in the eight inning. Mays was on deck in the top of 9th when the third out was made, ruining his chance at five homers.
According to Sportswriter Harry Jupiter who reported on the game for The San Francisco Chronicle "No record book reflects this kind of concentration, determination, perseverance or ability. As a player, Willie Mays could never be captured by mere statistics….but hitting four homers in a single game pretty much says it all."
Mike Schmidt Gets Red Hot on a Long Cold Day
On a cold April 17th afternoon in 1976, with the wind flowing out of Chicago’s Wrigley Field, Mike Schmidt led his beloved Phillies to one of the most improvable victories in MLB history, with four home runs. He also became the first National Leaguer to hit four homers in a row.
What started out on paper as a pitcher’s duel between Steve Carlton and Rick Reuschel turned into a slugfest, with three homers for the Cubs and six homers by the Phillies, four of which were hit by “Iron Mike.” Schmidt hit one homer off Mike Garman, two off Rick Reuschel, and the last, a 2-run homer, off Rick's brother, Paul in the 10th.