Was Scooter Gennett's 4-Homer Game the Greatest in MLB History?
One of the things that makes baseball great is the unexpected oddities that can pop up without notice or warning. Players without much of a pedigree can all of a sudden, for just one game, do something that's only been done by a handful of others.
Some of baseball's greatest moments weren't authored by the stars of the game. Some came from an average joe, a steady, no-nonsense player who normally didn't move the needle a whole lot
On Tuesday night, Scooter Gennett put his signature on the game, hitting a record-tying four home runs in the Cincinnati Reds' 13-1 victory over the St. Louis Cardinals, something only 16 others have done in the history of Major League Baseball,
There were 16. You can add one to that list.@SGennett2 is the 17th player EVER to hit four homers in a game: https://t.co/Z4a8opJNkz pic.twitter.com/Fvk0qWZ1wX
— MLB (@MLB) June 7, 2017
Gennett went 5-for-5 on Tuesday night, accounting for 17 total bases, and piled up 10 RBIs as part of his effort, with one of his blasts coming on a grand slam. He went into the game with a slash line of .270/.308/.450 and left the game batting .302/.336/.578. He started the game with 20 RBIs and finished with 30, and came into the game with only 3 home runs. He now has 7.
He also increased his fWAR from 0.2 to 0.8 and his weighted runs created (wRC+) from 97 to 136.
In one game.
To say this kind of power performance came from an unusual source is not out of line. His career high in homers came last year, when he hit 14 in 542 plate appearances. In just 5 plate appearances last night, he accounted for 28.5% of last year's total.
How unlikely was Gennett's amazing power surge?
Since 1950, every player with a four home run game finished their career with at least 100 home runs. Gennett is at 39 at age 27.
— MLB Statistics (@MLBRandomStats) June 7, 2017
So was this the greatest individual single-game offensive performance in MLB history? Here's where Gennett ranks among the 14 others who hit 4 long balls in the modern era (starting in 1914, according to Baseball Reference).
Two others, Ed Delahanty (1896) and Bobby Lowe (1894), pulled off their feat in the 19th century.
Only three players -- Shawn Green, Hamilton, and Joe Adcock -- had more than 17 total bases in a game, and only two others, Mike Schmidt and Gil Hodges, had 17 on the nose. However, Gennett accounted for 10 RBIs in his feat, something only exceeded by "Hard Hittin'" Mark Whitten, who totaled 12 runs batted in when he did it in 1993.
Gennett also didn't record an out, going a perfect 5-for-5 on the evening, with a single thrown in the mix. After all, anything else would be showing off, right?
You could argue that, if the name of the game is avoiding outs and producing runs, Gennett's performance was the fourth-greatest single-game offensive feat in Major League history. Not bad for a career .281/.319/.431 hitter. And he gets bonus points for being named Scooter, right?
Yes, tonight's unlikely 4-homer man Scooter Gennett gets his name from the Muppet. (From NYT, 2014) pic.twitter.com/8c4HOYqYKY
— Tyler Kepner (@TylerKepner) June 7, 2017
You want more proof that Gennett's feat was otherworldly? Check out the list of sluggers who never managed a 4-homer night:
Never hit 4 HR in a game: Babe Ruth, Hank Aaron, Ted Williams, Barry Bonds, Mark McGwire, Reggie. Did hit 4 in a game: Scooter Gennett!
— Jayson Stark (@jaysonst) June 7, 2017
Baseball is a funny sport. Each team plays 162 games a year, and you just never know who is going to jump out from the shadows and shock the baseball world in any one of them. It's why people tune in every night.
You never know when someone is going to put up one of the greatest single games in the sport's long, storied history, and, as so often happens, it's pulled off by someone you'd never expect.
Welcome to the history books, Scooter Gennett.