Saturday, March 28, 2015

The Mets Are The Only Franchise Without A Player Having A 3-HR Game At Home

The Mets are entering their seventh season at Citi Field in 2015.  Prior to that, they called Shea Stadium home for 45 seasons.  And that came on the heels of a two-year residency at the Polo Grounds in 1962 and 1963.  That's over half a century of home games spread out over three stadiums.

Almost a thousand players have played for the Mets in that time, with just under 400 of them hitting at least one home run in a Mets uniform.  Of those 391 players who hit it "outta here", only Jim Hickman, Dave Kingman, Claudell Washington, Darryl Strawberry, Gary Carter, Edgardo Alfonzo, Jose Reyes, Carlos Beltran and Ike Davis were able to hit three home runs in the same game.  Amazingly, all nine of them achieved their tater trifecta on the road.

That's right, Mets fans.  There have been over 4,000 home games in Mets history and the team still has more no-hitters than players who have hit three homers in the same game in front of the home crowd.  It's enough to make Gary Cohen say something like this every time a Mets player comes close.

"You know, Keith, no Met has ever hit three home runs in a game at home."

So now that we know that the Mets have only had nine players who have produced prodigious displays of power - all on the road - the question that has to be on everyone's minds is this.  Is there any other team in baseball that has never seen one of its own blast three homers in a single game at home?  My research yielded an interesting answer.

Below is a list of the last players to pull off home run hat tricks for each major league team while wearing their home whites.

Arizona Diamondbacks
Jason Kubel
Atlanta Braves
Mark Teixeira
Baltimore Orioles
Chris Davis
Boston Red Sox
Kevin Millar
Chicago Cubs
Dioner Navarro
Chicago White Sox
Paul Konerko
Cincinnati Reds
Joey Votto
Cleveland Indians
Jim Thome
Colorado Rockies
Carlos Gonzalez
Detroit Tigers
Miguel Cabrera
Florida/Miami Marlins
Cody Ross
Houston Astros
Morgan Ensberg
Kansas City Royals
Danny Tartabull
Los Angeles Angels
Torii Hunter
Los Angeles Dodgers
Juan Uribe
Milwaukee Brewers
Prince Fielder
New York Yankees
Curtis Granderson
Oakland Athletics
Miguel Tejada
Philadelphia Phillies
Jayson Werth
Pittsburgh Pirates
Andrew McCutchen
San Diego Padres
Phil Nevin
San Francisco Giants
Barry Bonds
Seattle Mariners
Edgar Martinez
St. Louis Cardinals
Albert Pujols
Tampa Bay Rays
Evan Longoria
Texas Rangers
Adrian Beltre
Toronto Blue Jays
John Buck
Washington Nationals
Adam Dunn

Editor's note:  Barry Bonds was the last member of the San Francisco Giants to hit three home runs in a regular season home game, but the Giants' Pablo Sandoval hit three home runs in Game 1 of the 2012 World Series, which was played in San Francisco.

(*) The star indicates that this was the only time in team history that a player produced a three-homer game in his home ballpark.

Did you notice any teams missing in the chart above?  There were two - the Mets (obviously) and the Minnesota Twins.  But prior to 1961, the Minnesota Twins were playing ball as the Washington Senators.  And on August 31, 1956, Jim Lemon became the first and only member of the original Washington Senators to hit three home runs in a home game when he clobbered his triumvirate of taters at Griffith Stadium against the New York Yankees.

With the Senators/Twins franchise having a member in the "three homers at home" club, that leaves the Mets as the only team in the majors without a player who has hit three round-trippers in a single game in his home ballpark.

It's no wonder Gary Cohen continues to mention that fact ad nauseum in the same way he (and every other Mets broadcaster) used to discuss no-hitters before the events of June 1, 2012.


In honor of the topic at hand, here are some other bits of "three-homer at home" minutiae for you.

  • Two players have hit three homers in a home game on four separate occasions.  Both accomplished their feats for the Chicago Cubs.  Ernie Banks had his three-homer games at Wrigley Field in 1955, 1957, 1962 and 1963, while Sammy Sosa slammed his way to history at the Friendly Confines in 1996, 1998 and twice in 2001.
  • Speaking of the Cubs, the Bleacher Bums at Wrigley Field have been treated to the most three-homer performances by one of their own.  Cubs players have produced three homers in a game 24 times at the Friendly Confines.  No other team has more than 17 such games.  (The Cincinnati Reds have that amount in their various home ballparks.)  Looks like the wind was blowing out at just the right time for the North Siders during those two dozen affairs.
  • The Brooklyn Dodgers and the Milwaukee Brewers are the only teams to have three players accomplish the "three-homer at home" feat in the same season.  In 1950, fans at Ebbets Field saw Duke Snider, Gil Hodges and Tommy Brown go deep three times in one game.  Similarly, Miller Park season-ticket holders in 2011 witnessed Corey Hart, Casey McGehee and Prince Fielder circle the bases thrice in the same game.
  • Although no Mets player has ever hit three homers in a game at home, four opposing players had three-homer games against the Mets in New York.  St. Louis' Stan Musial was the first to do so, smacking three bombs at the Polo Grounds on July 8, 1962.  Dick Allen of the Philadelphia Phillies became the first player to hit three home runs in a game at Shea Stadium on September 29, 1968.  A decade later, Cincinnati's Pete Rose became the most unlikely candidate to have a three-homer game at Shea when he circled the bases three times on April 29, 1978.  It was the only time Rose hit three home runs in a single game in his 24-year career.  Finally, former Met Dave Kingman launched three long balls at Shea Stadium as a member of the Chicago Cubs on July 28, 1979.
  • No Mets player has ever hit three homers in a home game.  But seven players have hit three blasts in the same game against the Mets in their home ballparks, with one of the seven doing it twice.  Willie McCovey of the San Francisco Giants victimized the Mets at Candlestick Park in 1963 and 1966.  The next three times a player hit a trio of home runs in a home game against the Mets, those players were wearing Cubs uniforms.  Adolfo Phillips (1967), Billy Williams (1968) and Tuffy Rhodes (1994) gave a total of nine souvenirs to the Bleacher Bums at Wrigley Field, courtesy of various Mets pitchers.  The other three players to hit three homers in a home game against the Mets were Detroit's Bobby Higginson (1997 at Tiger Stadium), Arizona's Luis Gonzalez (2004 at Bank One Ballpark) and Florida's Cody Ross (2006 at Dolphins Stadium).  Ross's game remains the only time in Marlins history in which one of their own hit three homers in a game at home.

Mets fans have always hated Cody Ross.  After reading this piece, they'll hate him even more.

Since the Mets came into existence in 1962, there have been 175 instances in which a player hit three home runs in the same regular season game at his home ballpark.  In all 175 instances, the player who circled the bases was wearing a uniform that did not say "Mets" on it.

And now, for the second time in Citi Field's short history, the dimensions of the ballpark have been adjusted to supposedly make it easier for the Mets to hit home runs there.  But will those cosmetic changes help produce the first three-homer game by a Mets player in his home whites?  Or will the closer fences allow Mets fans to witness a fifth player in his road grays following in the footsteps of Stan Musial, Dick Allen, Pete Rose and Dave Kingman by taking a trio of trots around the bases in the Mets' home park?

In the 1970s, Schoolhouse Rock once taught us that "Three Is A Magic Number".  It remains to be seen if Citi Field will ever by rocked by a Mets player who believes in the power of three.

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