10th anniversary: Carlos Delgado’s four-homer game

Ten years ago today, veteran slugger Carlos Delgado had the game of his life. On Sept. 25, 2003, Delgado became just the 15th player to hit four home runs in one game.

On that date, Delgado’s Blue Jays were playing out their string of a season in which they had done okay, though they were not going to the playoffs. The Blue Jays were going to host Tampa Bay, the division’s perennial cellar dweller.

Only 13,408 diehard fans came out to the SkyDome that night, but Delgado would provide them with some treats.

The fun began in the bottom of the first. Tampa starting pitcher Jorge Sosa had one out when he allowed a single to DH Frank Catalanotto and then walked a young Vernon Wells. Up came Delgado. After swinging and missing at the first offering, Delgado’s aim was true on the second pitch. Gone. Just like that, Toronto had a 3-0 lead behind Delgado’s three-run homer.

That wasn’t too surprising. Delgado was always a good power hitter, and this was his year to drive in runs. He’d end the season with 145 RBIs, nearly 30 more than anyone else in the American League.

The game trudged on, and little had changed heading into the bottom of the fourth. Toronto now was up 3-1 when Delgado led off the frame for Toronto. For the second time, he took a Sosa pitch deep, and it was 4-1.

This was vintage Delgado. He wasn’t just a slugger, but a streaky slugger. He’d already had four different three-homer games in his career. Hank Aaron, with all his power, had just one. Delgado would end his career with 49 multi-homer games, so he knew how to bunch up his big shots.

Tampa rallied, and in the top of the sixth took a lead, 6-5. The bad news for them was that Delgado was leading off the bottom of the sixth. The Toronto first baseman greeted new Tampa pitcher Joe Kennedy rather rudely, sending one of his pitches into the stands for a game-tying solo home run.

Both teams scored a run in the seventh, and then Tampa Bay scored again in the top of the eighth for an 8-7 lead. But again, the worst possible news greeted them in the bottom of the eighth: Delgado was scheduled to lead off.

Sure enough, Delgado did his magic once again. Facing another new reliever—Lance Carter this time—Delgado made his bit of history by smashing a fourth home run ball of the game. The only good news for Tampa is that Delgado had led off three times, so could only drive in himself. (But it made no difference, as Toronto scored two more runs in the eighth for a 10-8 triumph.)

At the time, it looked like four-homer games were becoming a trend. The year before two players—Mike Cameron and Shawn Green—had done it, so Delgado made three in short order. But it would be nine more years until it happened again, when Josh Hamilton did it in 2012. It hasn’t happened since.

So it really was a great accomplishment by Carlos Delgado, and he achieved it 10 years ago today.

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  1. Jim said...

    Here’s the top 11 all time, you can figure the percentages
    Name, # times, #HRs
    Ruth – 72 – 146
    Bonds – 71 – 146
    Sosa – 69 – 144
    McGwire – 67 – 139
    Mays – 63 – 130
    Aaron – 62 – 125
    ARod – 60 – 124
    Griffey – 55 – 112
    Foxx – 55 – 112
    F. Robinson – 54- 109
    Mannay Ramirez – 54 – 110

  2. David Oar said...

    Twist my arm!

    1. Gus Zernial, 65 out of 237 career homers came in his 32 multi-homer games (27.4%)
    2. Bob Horner 54 out of 218 career homers came in his 26 multi-homer games (24.8%)
    3. Mark McGwire 139 of 583 career homers came in his 67 multi-homer games(23.8%)
    4. Juan Gonzalez 99 of 434 career homers came in his 48 multi-homer games (22.8%)
    5. Hal Trosky 52 out of 228 career homers came in his 25 multi-homer games(22.8%)
    6. Cecil Fielder 71 out of 319 career homers came in his 34 multi-homer games(22.2%)
    7. Hank Sauer 64 out of 288 career homers came in his 31 multi-homer games(22.2%)
    8. Mark Teixeira 75 of 341 career homers came in his 36 multi-homer games(22.0%)
    9. Carlos Delgado 104 of 473 career homers came in his 49 multi-homer games (22.0%)

  3. Graham said...

    That was in the middle of a run by Carlos Delgado against Jorge Sosa that I don’t think ANY hitter has ever had against any pitcher in MLB history.

    Delgado hit a home run in FIVE straight plate appearances against Jorge Sosa (over 3 games).

  4. Michael Caragliano said...

    The fans were going to see some history that night even if Delgado hit only one home run. The first of the four shots was Delgado’s 300th career home run. Of course, nobody expected him to have 303 by the time the game was over.

  5. InnocentBystander said...

    Who has the highest percentage of their HR in multi-HR games? Delgado probably is up there. I feel like Alfonso Soriano would be high on the list too.

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