Still the Greatest One-Two Punch

This article was written by Ray Gonzalez

This article was published in the 1977 Baseball Research Journal


When we think of a home run one-two punch, we must recognize that Eddie Mathews and Henry Aaron hit the most fourbaggers while they were teammates on the Braves from 1954 to 1966. Ed hit 415 in that period and Hank 442, for a total of 857.

And yet, these two outstanding long ball hitters did not establish a special reputation as a great one-two punch, such as Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig from 1925 to 1934. The latter two did not play together so long-10 seasons, to 13 for Mathews and Aaron-yet still provided on a game-by-game basis more damage to a pitcher’s ego and ERA than any other duo.

This is true partly because of the fact that both batted the same way-from the port side. On the other hand, Mathews batted left and Aaron right. This explanation can also be extended to the other great home run duos, such as Willie Mays, who hit 430 homers (right) and Willie McCovey, 370 (left) for the San Francisco Giants 1959-71, and Duke Snider, who hit 384 (left) and Gil Hodges 361 (right) for the Dodgers 1947-61. Theoretically, an opposing pitcher had some advantage over one of these hitters on the basis of right vs left, etc., and was not so susceptible to being clobbered by both batters, particularly with back-to-back homers.

We have researched the full ten years of the Ruth-Gehrig association and can fully document their reputation as the games premier one-two punch. This is true even though they were 8 years apart in age, and Gehrig had a breaking in process and Ruth a fading out process that had to be factored into their decade together. Therefore, they didn’t always bat third and fourth. Bob Meusel was between them sometime and so was Tony Lazzeri. Nevertheless they hit homers in the same inning 19 times, and in the same game 72 times.

Actually, if we extend this review to World Series games, the totals would be increased to 21 and 74. In the final game of the 1928 Series with the Cardinals, Ruth hit three homers and Gehrig one, including back-to-back in the 7th off Willie Sherdel. In the third game of the 1932 Series with the Cubs, they each hit two. They were back to back in the 5th, when Ruth supposedly pointed out where he was going to belt one off Charlie Root and Lou apparently liked the spot himself. All four of those homers came off Root.

Obviously, in the 74 games, Ruth and Gehrig did not limit themselves to one homer each. There total output was 88 for Lou and 86 for the Babe. Not all their victims were name pitchers, of course, but they did connect off such worthies as Lefty Grove, Ted Lyons, Red Faber, Wes Ferrell, Earl Whitehill, Mel Harder, Jack Quinn, and Red Ruffing.

It would be too lengthy a list to run all the 74 entries where Ruth and Gehrig connected in the same game. However, the reader could get some flavor of their twin assaults by reviewing a list of the contests where they connected in the same inning as well as those games where they had multiple homers.

 

Date of Game Opponent Homers Inning Pitching Victim
Sep. 10 1925 Phil. at Phil. Ruth 4 Sam Gray
        Gehrig 4 Sam Gray
May 10 1926 Det. at N.Y. Gehrig 5 Sam Gibson
        Ruth 5 Sam Gibson
Sep. 19 1926 Clev. at Clev. Ruth 7 Emil Levsen
        Gehrig 7 Emil Levsen
Sep. 25 1926 (2) StL. at StL. Gehrig 3 Milt Gaston
        Ruth 6 Win Ballou
        Ruth 9 Joe Giard
Apr. 23 1927 Phil. at Phil. Ruth 1 Rube Walberg
        Gehrig 1 Rube Walberg
May 1 1927 Phil. at N.Y. Ruth 1 Jack Quinn
        Gehrig 6 Jack Quinn
        Ruth 8 Rube Walberg
May 23 1927 Wash, at Wash. Ruth 1 Hollis Thurston
        Gehrig 1 Hollis Thurston
June 7 1927 Chi. at N.Y. Ruth 4 Tommy Thomas
        Gehrig 4 Tommy Thomas
June 16 1927 StL. at N.Y. Ruth 1 Tom Zachary
        Gehrig 1 Tom Zachary
Sep. 2 1927 Phil. at Phil. Ruth 1 Rube Walberg
        Gehrig 1 Rube Walberg
        Gehrig 2 Rube Walberg
Sep. 6 1927 (1) Bos. at Bos. Gehrig 5 Tony Welzer
        Ruth 6 Tony Welzer
        Ruth 7 Tony Welzer
May 29 1928 Wash. at N.Y. Gehrig 3 Milt Gaston
        Ruth 4 Lloyd Brown
        Gehrig 4 Lloyd Brown
        Ruth 7 Lloyd Brown
June 7 1928 Clev. at Clev. Ruth 9 Joe Shaute
        Gehrig 9 Joe Shaute
June 12 1928 Chi. at Chi. Gehrig 1 Grady Adkins
        Ruth 5 Grady Adkins
        Gehrig 6 George Cox
May 4 1929 Chi. at Chi. Gehrig 2 Red Faber
        Ruth 7 Harold McKain
        Gehrig 7 Harold McKain
        Gehrig 9 Dan Dugan
May 19 1929 Bos. at N.Y. Ruth 3 Jack Russell
        Gehrig 3 Jack Russell
May 2 1930 (2) Phil. at Phil. Gehrig 1 Bill Shores
        Ruth 2 Jack Quinn
        Gehrig 4 Eddie Rommel
        Gehrig 7 Glenn Liebhardt
June 15 1930 Clev. at Clev. Gehrig 3 Milt Shoffner
        Gehrig 5 Belvedere Bean
        Ruth 6 Belvedere Bean
June 25 1930 (2) StL. at N.Y. Ruth 3 Geo. Blaeholder
        Ruth 5 Herm Holshauser
        Gehrig 6 Herm Holshauser
July 20 1930 Clev. at Clev. Ruth 4 Milt Shoffner
        Gehrig 4 Milt Shoffner
        Gehrig S Milt Shoffner
July 22 1931 (2) Det. at N.Y. Ruth 1 Tommy Bridges
        Ruth 6 Charles Sullivan
        Gehrig 6 Charles Sullivan
Aug. 21 1931 StL. at StL. Ruth 3 Geo. Blaeholder
        Gehrig 3 Geo. Blaeholder
Sep. 7 1931 (2) Phil. at Phil. Ruth 6 Waite Hoyt
        Gehrig 6 Waite Hoyt
        Ruth 9 Waite Hoyt
Apr. 12 1932 Phil. at Phil. Ruth I George Earnshaw
        Gehrig 3 George Earnshaw
        Ruth 4 George Earnshaw
May 21 1932 (1) Wash, at N.Y. Ruth 5 Lloyd Brown
        Ruth 6 Frank Ragland
        Gehrig 6 Frank Ragland
June 3 1932 Phil. at Phil. Gehrig 1 George Earnshaw
        Gehrig 4 George Earnshaw
        Ruth 5 George Earnshaw
        Gehrig 5 George Earnshaw
        Gehrig 7 Roy Mahaffey
May 28 1934 StL. at StL. Oehrig 6 Paul Andrews
        Ruth 7 Jack Knott
        Gehrig 7 Jack Knott
             
World Series        
Oct. 9 1928 StL. at StL. Ruth 4 Willie Sherdel
        Ruth 7 Willie Sherdel
        Gehrig 7 Willie Sherdel
        Ruth 8 Grover Alexander
Oct. 1 1932 Chi. at Chi. Ruth 1 Charlie Root
        Gehrig 3 Charlie Root
        Ruth S Charlie Root
        Gehrig S Charlie Root

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