Great Team Home Run Feats

This article was written by Ron Liebman

This article was published in the 1975 Baseball Research Journal


While considerable attention has been paid to the home run feats of outstanding players such as Babe Ruth, Willie Mays, and Hank Aaron, comparatively little consideration has been given to outstanding team home run achievements, particularly those occurring in a single game. On 28 occasions, a major league team has nit at least 7 home runs in one game. On 5 of these occasions, a team hit 8 home runs in one game – which stands as the record. Several of baseball’s historic games are included in this list, including the game where Lou Gehrig (1932), Joe Adcock (1954), and Willie Mays (1961) hit 4 home runs in one game. Not surprisingly, 17 of the 28 games have occurred since 1950.

While the 7-homer trick was turned as far back as 1886, the 1939 Yankees were the first team to have 8 home runs in one game. On June 28, 1939, Joe DiMaggio and Babe Dahlgren connected twice in the first game of a doubleheader and 4 other players hit one apiece. The Yankees hit 5 more homers in the 2nd game (scoring 23-2 and 10-0 wins) to set the doubleheader record of 13 homers. The Yankees, in the first game, became one of the 6 teams to hit as many as 7 homers and score 20 or more runs in the same game. The 8-homer feat has been performed 4 more times since then, by the 1953 Milwaukee Braves (3 homers by Jim Pendleton), the 1956 Cincinnati Reds (3 homers by Bob Thurman), the 1961 San Francisco Giants (4 homers by Willie Mays), and the 1963 Minnesota Twins.

Several different player-patterns are noticeable in the big team-homer games. The Baltimore 1967 game is the only major league game where 7 teammates homered in the same game – and each player hit exactly one! Ironically, Carl Yastrzeinski of the opposition Red Sox hit 2 home runs! A contrasting situation is the Pittsburgh 1947 game where Ralph Kiner hit 3 home runs and Hank Greenberg and Billy Cox had 2 apiece. Whitey Kurowski of the St. Louis Cardinals had 2 homers himself in the game to make this the only instance in major league history where 4 players hit 2 or more homers in the same ball game.

In 6 of the 28 games listed, a pitcher connected — the last being Ferguson Jenkins of the Chicago Cubs in 1970. Jerry Denny, a 19th century third-baseman, hit the only home run for the opposing team in each of the first two 7-homer salvos. Walt Dropo, an American League first-baseman in the l950’s, connected in 2 successive American League 7-homer games – for the 1950 Boston Red Sox and the 1955 Chicago White Sox. The two teams each scored 29 runs in the games — to share the modern major league record. Yogi Berra drew the short straw for the Yankees in 1961, when Mantle, Maris, and Skowron each had 2 homers in a game and poor Yogi had only one!

In another oddity, the 7-homer trick has never been turned in September or October, but no fewer than 10 of the 28 games have been played in June! The Washington Senators’ 7 homers in a 10-inning game vs. the White Sox in Chicago in May 1949 marked the only extra-inning game where a team reached the 7-homer mark. The Senators were helped by an artificially shortened fence installed by White Sox General Manager Frank Lane at the start of the1949 season. Two days after the Senators’ splurge, the fence was torn down, but not before White Sox third-baseman Floyd Baker looped one over the fence for his only major league homer in over 2000 lifetime at-bats!

A rule was then passed prohibiting the changing of home run distances during the season. As a result, the Pittsburgh Pirates were not permitted to remove their shortened fence when they traded Ralph Kiner to the Chicago Cubs in June 1953. The fence remained up in August 1953 to help the Milwaukee Braves to their 8-homer game, which was the first such game in National League history. The Pirates’ 7-homer tilt in 1947 (described earlier) had also been aided by that special fence (called “Greenberg Gardens” or “Kiner’s Korner”). New York’s old Polo Grounds and Chicago’s Wrigley Field each witnessed 3 ML games where a team had 7 or more homers, and Philadelphia’s old Shibe Park (later called “Connie Mack Stadium”) and Boston’s Fenway Park each witnessed 3 AL home run explosions of this sort.

The Giants hit 7 or more homers in one game the most times with 6 such games — with the last of those big games taking place after the team had moved to San Francisco. The 1939 Giants were the only team to do it twice in one season, with a pitcher connecting in each game. The Yankees were the only AL team with 3 such games – and they had different personnel each time (1932, 1939, and 1961). Surprisingly, the Brooklyn Dodgers of the 1950’s, one of baseball’s most authentic power-hitting teams, never hit as many as 7 homers in one game. In fact, the only time that the Brooklyn club hit 6 homers in one game was the night of June 1, 1955 at Ebbets Field vs. the Milwaukee Braves. Duke Snider hit 3 of the homers (before doubling off the fence in a narrow miss of #4) and Roy Campanella, Pee Wee Reese, and Jackie Robinson had 1 apiece to lead the Brooks to an 11-8 victory.

The accompanying table lists the 28 games where a major league team hit 7 or 8 homers in one game. Included are the date, the opposing teams, the score, and all home runs hit by both teams.

 

NATIONAL LEAGUE TEAMS HITTING 8 HOMERS IN ONE GAME

 

Date

Score

Winning Team & Homer Hitters

Op. Team

 

 

 

 

8-30-53

19-4

Mil. Pendleton 3, Mathews 2,

Pitt. none

(1)

 

Crandall, Dittmer, Logan

 

 

 

 

 

8-18-56

13-4

Cin. Thurman 3, Kluszewski 2,

Mil. Adcock

 

 

F. Robinson 2, Post

Atwell

 

 

 

 

4-30-61

14-4

S.F. Nays 4, Cepeda 2,

Mil. Aaron

 

 

F. Alou, Pagan

2

 

 

 

 

 

 

(SEVEN HOMERS)

 

 

 

 

 

6-12-86

14-7

Det. J. Rowe 2, S. Thompson 2,

StL. Denny

 

 

Bennett, Brouthers, Crane

 

 

 

 

 

5-9-88

18-4

N.Y. Connor 3, Gore, Keefe,

Ind. Denny

 

 

H. Richardson, Tiernan

 

 

 

 

 

6-6-97

27-11

Pitt. Bierbauer 2, Stenzel 2,

Bos. Lowe

 

 

Lyons, C. Mack, Scheibeck

 

 

 

 

 

6-6-39

17-3

N.Y. J. Moore 2, Danning, Ott,

Cin., none

 

 

Demaree, Salvo, Whitehead

 

 

 

 

 

8-13-39

11-2

N.Y. Demaree 2, Moore, Seeds,

Phil. M. May

(1)

 

Bonura, Kampouris, Lohrman

 

 

 

 

 

5-7-40

18-2

StL. Lake 2, Mize 2, Medwick,

Bkn. none

 

 

S. Martin, Padgett

 

 

 

 

 

8-16-47

12-7

Pitt. Kiner 3, Greenberg 2,

StL. Moore

 

 

Cox 2

Kurowski 2

 

 

 

 

6-24-50

12-2

N.Y. Westrum 3, Dark,  Irvin,

Cin., none

 

 

Lockman, H. Thompson

 

 

 

 

 

7-31-54

15-7

Mil. Adcock 4, Mathews 2,

Bkn. Hoak

 

 

Pafko

Hodges

 

 

 

R. Walker

 

 

 

 

7-8-56

11-1

N.Y. Mays 2, D. Spencer 2,

Pitt. none

(1)

 

Westrum 2, H. Thompson

 

 

 

 

 

6-1-57

22-2

Cin., F. Robinson 2, Bailey,

Chi. none

 

 

Bell, Hoak, JeUcoat, Post

 

 

 

 

 

6-11-67

18-10

Chi. Phillips 3, Hundley 2

N.Y. Buchel

(2)

 

Banks, Santo

Grote, John

 

 

 

son, Swobod

 

 

 

 

8-3-67

10-3

Atl. C. Boyer 2, J. Torre 2,

Chi. none

 

 

Aaron, Francona, Menke

 

 

 

 

 

4-21-70

13-8

Cin. Carbo 2, Bench, Rose,

Atl. Carty

 

 

Concepcion, Perez, Tolan

Cepeda,

 

 

 

Millan

 

 

 

 

8-19-70

12-2

Chi. Hickman 2, Beckert,

S.D. Gasto

 

 

Callison, Jenkins, Pepitone,

 

 

 

Williams

 

 

 

AMERICAN LEAGUE TEAMS HITTING 8 HOMERS IN ONE GAME

 

Date

Score

Winning Team & Homer Hitters

Op. Team

 

 

 

 

6-28-39

23-2

N.Y. Dahlgren 2, DiMaggio 2,

Phil. none

(1)

 

Dickey, Gordon, Henrich, Selkirk

 

 

 

Minn. Killebrew 2, Power 2,

 

 

 

 

 

8-23-63

14-2

B. Allen, Allison, J. Hall,

Wash.

(1)

 

Rollins

Retzer

 

 

 

 

 

 

(SEVEN HOMERS)

 

 

 

 

 

6-3-21

15-9

Phil. Dykes 2, Welch 2,

Det. Blue

 

 

Perkins, C. Walker, Dugan

 

 

 

 

 

6-3-32

20-13

N.Y. Gehrig 4, Lazzeri,

Phil. Foxx

 

 

Combs, Ruth

Cochrane

 

 

 

 

5-3-49

14-12

Wash. Vollmer 2, Christman,

Chi. Tipton

(10 in.)

 

Coan, Evans, E. Robinson,

Zernial

 

 

Stewart

 

 

 

 

 

6-8-50

29-4

Bos. Doerr 3, T. Williams 2,

StL. none

 

 

Dropo 2

 

 

 

 

 

4-23-55

29-6

Chi. Lollar 2, Nieman 2,

K.C. Power

 

 

Dropo, Harshman, Minoso

Renna

 

 

 

 

5-30-61

12-3

N.Y. Mantle 2, Mans 2,

Bos. none

 

 

Skowron 2, Berra

 

 

 

 

 

7-17-66

15-2

Clev. Colavito 2, Hinton 2

Det.

(2)

 

Alvis, Booker, Wagner

Northrup

 

 

 

 

5-17-67

12-8

Balt. Blair, Bowens, Powell,

Bos. Yas-

 

 

Etchebarren, D. Johnson,

trzemski 2

 

 

B. Robinson, F. Robinson

Demeter

© SABR. All Rights Reserved