Chris Taylor scored three home runs on Thursday night to help the Los Angeles Dodgers survive the National League Championship Series. In the game’s long history, post-season three-homer games are rare: they have only happened 12 times. While Taylor has had his share of postseason magic in the past, and is a useful player, the fraternity he joined includes several all-time greats.
Try to guess who was the first player to hit three homers after one season. Did you guess Babe Ruth? you are right Guess who did the other one. Yes, Ruth again.
The first came with the Yankees in Game 4 of the 1926 World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals. An explosion reached the center field bleachers of Sportsman Park, where only two men had reached earlier. His total of 12 bases and four runs scored were also records at that time.
Two years later, once again in World Series Game 4 in St. Louis, he once again made three hits (he went on to his other two plate appearances) despite recording only three at-bats. The game completed a sweep of cards, and caused The New York Times to pounce on the front page that the Yanks were “setting records that would survive as long as the game.”
So far, that prediction is holding up. Ruth remains the only player to homer twice in a post-season game, and did so when the postseason consisted of only one round per year.
No one matched Ruth until the 1970s, when unhinged Bob Robertson scored three hits for the Pittsburgh Pirates in the 1971 NLCS, the only person to add another extra base hit in the same game as his homers. , a double. Robertson’s story escalated because he missed an entire season for kidney surgery; He has been called a “medical miracle”. Not enough star power for you? Willie Mays also ran home races in the game for the San Francisco Giants at the age of 40.
Which brings us to the most famous three homer games: Reggie Jackson in the 1977 World Series. That Cleaning Game 6 went a long way toward establishing Jackson as “Mr.”. October” and gave him five homers in the series – a record. After a year of criticism from generally demanding New York fans, Jackson said after the win, “Maybe for one night, I reach back and achieve that level of overrated superstar.”
Another Hall of Famer, George Brett, completed a fertile decade with three singles homers in the 1978 ALCS for the Kansas City Royals. Brett was the only leadoff man to do so. Too bad their teammates weren’t getting on base: The Royals were the only team to lose to the Yankees in a three-homer game, 6–5.
home run era
There were no postseason three homer games in the 80s or 90s and just one in the 00s: Adam Kennedy for the Anaheim Angels in the 2002 ALCS (He somehow batted ninth.)
But home bounce runs across the board, and the extension to the playoffs meant a golden age was about to begin. Through Kennedy, this feat was accomplished six times. Since then it has been done six more times.
Adrian Beltre hit three singles shots for the Texas Rangers in the 2011 Division Series. Three of four runs were accounted for in a 4–3 victory that sent the Tampa Bay Rays home.
Exactly 18 days later, Albert Pujols made three hits for the Cardinals in the World Series, becoming the only player to take five hits in his three-homer game. The Times described his clout as “enormous”. His teammate Yadier Molina said: “He’s been doing this for 11 years, and you’re surprised? I’m not surprised.”
The following year, Pablo Sandoval scored three hits in the World Series for the Giants against the Detroit Tigers. “I still can’t believe it,” Sandoval said after the game. “When you’re a little kid, you dream of being in the World Series. But I wasn’t thinking about being in this situation, three homers in one game, you know?
Jose Altuve had three for the Houston Astros in the 2017 Division Series. Astros starter Justin Verlander said, “I saw him last three home runs in a game to Pablo Sandoval, and I dropped two of them, so I’m glad there’s someone new who’s done it.” Detroit’s. It is notable that those home runs came in Houston that season in which the Astros have admitted to employing a complicated sign-stealing operation. Altuve has denied participating in the scheme.
Two weeks later, Kike Hernandez, a versatile utility player, did it for the Dodgers in the NLCS, collecting seven RBIs. The game sent the Dodgers into the World Series. (Somehow the Dodgers ran out of room for Hernandez, who carried his postseason spell to Boston.)
Which brings us to Taylor on Thursday night. Depending on the trends, it should happen again, and probably soon.