On this day in 1976, Mike Schmidt of the Philadelphia Phillies hits four consecutive home runs in a game against the Chicago Cubs. Schmidt was only the fourth player in the history of Major League Baseball to accomplish this feat.
After attending Ohio University, Schmidt was drafted by the Phillies as the 30th overall pick in the 1971 MLB draft and made his big-league debut on September 12, 1972. In 1974, he led the National League in home runs for the first of what would turn out to be eight times in his career. In 1976, Schmidt, who became known for a batting stance in which he practically turned his back to the pitcher, knocked out a record 12 homers in the first 15 games of the season. Included in the dozen round trippers were the four in a row he hit on April 17 of that year to help the Phillies defeat the Cubs in 10 innings, 18-16. Bobby Lowe of the Boston Beaneaters was the first player on record to hit four home runs in a row, in a game against the Cincinnati Reds on May 30, 1894. He was followed by Lou Gehrig of the New York Yankees on June 3, 1932, in a game against the Philadelphia Athletics. On June 10, 1959, Rocky Colavito of the Cleveland Indians knocked out four straight homers against the Baltimore Orioles.
In 1987, Schmidt recorded the 500th home run of his career. Two years later, in May 1989, the Phillies’ star third baseman retired from baseball, having been sidelined with injuries for much of the previous season. During his 18-year career, Schmidt made 12 All-Star appearances, was voted the National League’s Most Value Player three times (1980, 1981, 1986) and received 10 Gold Glove awards for fielding excellence. Additionally, he had a career total of 548 homers, 1,595 RBIs and a .267 batting average. Schmidt hit 30 or more home runs in a season 13 times, a figure just second to Hank Aaron, who did it 15 times. Schmidt was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1995.
To date, no player has hit four homers in a single game more than once in his career. After Schmidt’s four homers in a row in 1976, the Seattle Mariners’ Mike Cameron hit four homers in a game against the Chicago Cubs on May 2, 2002. The Toronto Blue Jays’ Carlos Delgado equaled the feat during a September 25, 2003, game against the Tampa Bay Devil Rays.