Four of a Kind

Adrian Gonzalez is red hot right now, and yesterday he became just the 15th Red Sox player to homer in four straight games. 

Hitting home runs in four consecutive games is a fairly rare feat — just 25 times has a Red Sox player done it since 1919. If Gonzalez goes deep tonight, he'll join a five-way tie for the Sox record, shared by Jimmie Foxx, Ted Williams, Dick Stuart, George Scott and Jose Canseco.

Foxx homered in at least four straight games three times, as did Carl Yastrzemski. Jim Rice did it twice, and so did Canseco. Otherwise, the list of players to accomplish the feat is a history of the franchise's most feared (or most notorious) sluggers: Foxx, Williams, Jackie Jensen, Stuart, Yaz, Scott, Rice, Mo Vaughn, Carl Everett, Manny Ramirez, Nomar Garciaparra, Jason Bay and now Gonzalez. Only David Ortiz (who had 11 three-game homer streaks) seems to have missed the fun.

Over the four games, Gonzalez has put up a .389/.400/1.278 line. His 1.678 OPS is on the low side among his peers. He has "just" seven hits over the four games, although six went for extra bases, and one walk. 

The king of home run streaks — both in quality and duration — was Ted Williams, who homered in four or more consecutive games five times. When he hit home runs in five straight games in 1957, Williams walked seven times, meaning he hit his five home runs in just 11 official at bats, putting up a five-game line of .727/.833/2.364. He only made three outs in the five games. 

Williams almost had another string of four straight home run games in September of 1957, but even so, it was a remarkable string:

  • On Sept. 17, Williams came in as a pinch hitter in the eighth inning and hit a solo home run against Kansas City to tie the game.
  • On Sept. 18, he again came in as an eighth-inning pinch hitter and walked.
  • On Sept. 20, he pinch hit against the Yankees in the ninth and bashed another homer.
  • The next day, he started the game and came to the plate four times, walking three times and hitting a second-inning grand slam.
  • And, finally, on Sept. 22, he again came to the plate four times, walking twice, homering in the fourth and singling in the sixth.

His line for the five games: an incredible 1.000/1.000/3.400, that single in the sixth inning of the fifth game his only blemish. 

But Williams wasn't done. He walked three times, was hit by a pitch and hit a single on Sept. 23, went 1 for 3 with a home run and a walk on Sept. 24 and went 2 for 3 with two walks on Sept. 25. All told, from Sept. 17-25, Williams had 25 plate appearances and reached base in 22 of them. With only 12 official at bats, he recorded nine hits, including five home runs. His line for the week was .750/.880/2.000.

Now that's being on fire.

3 comments… add one

  • And Williams was 39 when he accomplished that in 57. End of season AND toward the end of his career

    BillsBurgSF May 15, 2011, 12:14 pm
  • “…Now that’s being on fire….”
    and getting your money’s worth…you guys still want tex?…tex who?

    dc May 15, 2011, 12:44 pm
  • Nice post, Paul.

    SF May 15, 2011, 8:03 pm

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