Tuesday, April 30, 2013

A four home run day for Mays

On April 30, 1961; Willie Mays hit four home runs leading the San Francisco Giants to a 14 – 4 victory over the Milwaukee Braves.  He is one of 16 Major League players who have accomplished the feat of hitting four home runs in one game.  Also, Mays is one of four Hall of Fame players, the others being Ed Delahanty (1896), Lou Gehrig (1932), Chuck Klein (1936), and Mike Schmidt (1976); and one of four African-American/Latin American players to do it.  Mark Whiten (1993), Mike Cameron (2002), and Carlos Delgado (2002) being the others.

On that spring Sunday afternoon at County Stadium in Milwaukee with 13,114 baseball fans in attendance, the Braves pitched their 1957 World Series hero Lew Burdette against the Giants.  Mays hit a first inning solo home run to give San Francisco a 1 – 0 lead which was quickly erased by Henry Aaron’s three run homer when the Braves batted.  But Burdette could not hold the Giants giving up a two run homer to Mays and two solo homers (Orlando Cepeda, and Jose Pagan) before exiting in the fourth inning losing 5 – 3.  The Braves’ relief pitchers were ponded for eight runs by the Giants.  Mays hit a three run home run in the sixth inning off Seth Morehead and another two run homer in the eighth inning off Don McMahon,   His only at bat in which he did not hit a homer was in the fifth inning; he flied out to centerfield against Moe Drabowsky.   The only other Braves score was Henry Aaron’s second home run of the game in the sixth inning.

The Giants were in first place that day, but finished the year in third.  Mays ended the year second in the National League with 40 home runs, second to teammate Orlando Cepeda who led with 46.

What highlight of Willie Mays’ career is your favorite?

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