Josh Hamilton, hitting home run #4 - Mitchell Layton
Kenny Rogers pitched a perfect game in 1994. But was it the most "perfect" game in Rangers history?
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So, this post is about a "perfect" game in Rangers history. Kenny Rogers pitched a perfect game on July 28, 1994. So that should be what this post is about, right?
Well, no. At least, I decided not. This is for a few different reasons. First, I didn't get to watch this game. I was working that summer part-time at Domino's in the evenings (on top of my full-time regular job). I was on shift that night, so I didn't get to watch Rogers' perfect game...instead, I heard bits and pieces of it on the radio when I was in my car delivering.
Secondly, this took place right before the players went on strike. The strike ended up cancelling the World Series, dragging into spring training of 1995, bringing about ultimately the ruling by future Supreme Court Associate Justice Sonia Sotomayor issuing an injunction against MLB locking out the players and setting the stage for a new CBA to be put in place. In any case, nothing from that time period can be described as "perfect," not even a perfect game.
Finally, picking a perfect game to talk about in a post about a perfect game would be kind of boring.
Instead, let's go all the way back to May 8, 2012 -- a little less than a year ago. The Rangers were playing at Baltimore, and had Neftali Feliz on the mound, going up against Jake Arrieta. And Josh Hamilton had a historic game.
In the top of the first inning, Ian Kinsler grounded out, then Elvis Andrus drew a walk. Up stepped Josh Hamilton, who parked the first pitch he saw in the center field stands to give Texas a 2-0 lead.
The score remained 2-0 into the top of the third, when Hamilton came up with two outs and Elvis once again on first base. After working the count to 2-0, Hamilton hit another blast, this one to left-center, to make it a 4-0 game. Adrian Beltre immediately followed with an opposite-field homer that made it 5-0.
Flash forward to the top of the fifth, when Hamilton came up with one out and no one on. Again facing Arrieta, Hamilton drove a double into right-center, making him 3-3 with 10 total bases on the day.
Hamilton next came up in the 7th inning. Buck Showalter lifted Arrieta, bringing in former Ranger lefthander Zach Phillips to face Hamilton with one out and Elvis on first base. Hamilton once again hit a bomb, to deep center field, giving him three home runs on the day and extending the lead to 7-1.
Hamilton's final at bat was in the 8th, facing former Ranger reliever Darren O'Day. O'Day got up 0-2 on Hamilton before serving up an incredibly hittable pitch that Hamilton destroyed, sending it out of the park to center for his fourth homer of the game.
The remarkable thing about this game was that, when Hamilton came up against O'Day, I was fully expecting him to hit a home run. I wasn't even surprised when he did it. I wasn't terribly surprised that Hamilton ended up with a four home run game...in fact, part of me was surprised he hadn't done something like that before 2012.
With his 5-5 performance, with 4 homers and 18 total bases, Hamilton set the American League record for most total bases in a game, and tied the major league record for most home runs in a game. The 8 RBIs in that game were more than Angels' slugger Albert Pujols had all season at that point.
Hamilton's performance was actually more unique than Rogers' perfect game. Hamilton was just the 16th player in major league history to hit four homers in a game. There have been 21 perfect games in major league history.