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Adam Duvall Goes on a Tear

September 13, 2020

Hugh Atkins

© 2020 Atlanta Braves Media Guide

Adam Duvall started September with a bang. He hit three home runs on the first two Wednesdays of the month. On September 1, Duvall became the 16th player in Atlanta Braves history to slam three roundtrippers in a game. Marcell Ozuna beat him to the punch for the 15th spot the previous night, making them the first pair of teammates in major-league history to hit three home runs in consecutive games. On September 8, Duvall became the first player in the history of the franchise to hit three homers in a game twice in his career.

The list of Braves players who hit three home runs in a game has some obvious names on it but some surprising ones as well. On May 13, 1942 Jim Tobin, a pitcher for the Boston Braves, hit three home runs against the Chicago Cubs while also pitching a complete game.

© T.C.G.

Gene Oliver was the first Atlanta Brave to hit three home runs in a game. He tagged the San Francisco Giants for three homers on July 30, 1966. Exactly three years later, Bob Tillman became the second Atlanta Braves player to do it, and he also did it against the Giants. Oliver hit only eight homers in 1966, and Tillman had only 11 in 1970, so the backup backstops displayed a lot of their power during just one game.

In 1970, three Braves hit three homers in a game. Rico Carty victimized the Philadelphia Phillies on May 31, Mike Lum did it against the San Diego Padres on July 3, and Orlando Cepeda did it against the Chicago Cubs on July 26. Lum hit only seven homers in 1970, so he picked up 42.9% of his total for the season in one big night.

Jeff Treadway hit three home runs against the Phillies in 1990 while he hit just 11 the entire season. Jeff Blauser did it against the Cubs in 1992, a season in which he hit just 14 home runs.

Bob Horner and Joe Adcock went one better by hitting four home runs in a game. Adcock had four homers and a double against the Brooklyn Dodgers on July 31, 1954, setting the record for most total bases in a game (18) that stood until Shawn Green of the Los Angeles Dodgers topped it with 19 total bases in a game in 2002. Horner slammed his four homers against the Montreal Expos, in a losing cause, on July 6, 1986.

© T.C.G.

No article about home runs and the Braves would be complete without Ed Mathews and Henry Aaron. Mathews hit three home runs in a game against the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1952, his rookie season with the Boston Braves. Aaron did it against the Giants in 1959 in what may have been his finest season. He led the National League in hitting at .355, total bases with 400, and slugging percentage at .636 and had 39 home runs, 123 runs batted in, and a .401 on base percentage.

And, of course, there is the Big Bambino. Babe Ruth wrapped up his playing days with the Boston Braves in 1935. On May 25 of that year he hit the final three home runs of his career in a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates at Forbes Field. Newspaper accounts of the time claim the final homer traveled an estimated 500 feet. Ruth was the first player to hit three homers in a game in both leagues.

Duvall and Ozuna joined a list that includes the names Aaron, Ruth, and Mathews. And that’s good company, especially when it’s a list of impressive home runs.

George Herman Ruth–the Great Man of Baseball–lighted the twilight of his career with a fantastic display of home run hitting at Forbes Field yesterday–a gaudy exhibition that was dimmed not one whit because his Boston mates could not prevent the Pirates from winning, 11 to 7.

–Volney Walsh, the Pittsburgh Press, May 26, 1935

(All statistics are from Baseball Reference; game details are from Retrosheet. The List of Braves players with three home runs in a game is from the 2020 Atlanta Braves Media Guide.)

 

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