4-HR Games in Minnesota Baseball History

Did you know the first four-home run game in professional baseball history happened right here in Minnesota? Playing for the Western Association Omaha Omahogs, St. Paul native Jack Crooks went 5-for-5 with four home runs versus the St. Paul Apostles on June 8, 1889 at Athletic Park, located on the riverfront on St. Paul’s west side.

There is one known prior instance of a player hitting four or more home runs in a single game. In the pre-professional era, 21-year-old Philadelphia Athletics lefty Lipman Pike—standing at all of 5-foot-8, 158 pounds—hit five home runs from the nine-hole on July 16, 1866.

The professional record for home runs in a game is eight, by Canada-born, Michigan-raised Jay Clarke playing in the Texas League on June 15, 1902.

There have been four five-home run games in pro baseball history, with the most recent occurring in 1948.

Professional players have hit four or more home runs in a single game 133 times, including professional leagues in Mexico, Cuba, and Japan. There have been 18 four-home run games in major league history, including two in 2017 by Scooter Gennett and J.D. Martinez.

The following is a summary of four-home run games in Minnesota baseball history, drawing entirely on the list maintained by the Society for American Baseball Research (SABR) here ⇨ SABR.org/research/four-homers-one-game.

There have been seven four-home run performances on Minnesota soil; five by players on Minnesota teams. Jack Crooks remains the only Minnesota native to do so. Here is the complete list, adapted from the SABR website. Names link to players’ Baseball Reference page, or SABR bio. 

June 8, 1889: Jack Crooks (Omahogs)

  • Athletic Park, Saint Paul
  • Omaha Omahogs 19, Saint Paul Apostles 15
  • Crooks went 5-for-5 with four home runs and a single.

June 11, 1895: Bill Kuehne (Millers 3B)

  • Hiawatha Park, Minneapolis
  • Minneapolis Millers 16, Indianapolis 5

July 23, 1895: Perry Werden (Millers 1B)

  • Hiawatha Park, Minneapolis
  • Minneapolis Millers 18, Detroit Tigers 5
  • He hit two home runs the day before, going 9-for-9 between the two games.

Perry Werden hit .417 with a league-leading 43 home runs in 1894, and .428 with a league-leading 45 home runs in 1895, which stood as professional baseball’s single-season record for 25 years until the Yankees’ Babe Ruth hit 54 in 1920.

Minnesota sports history writer Joel Rippel wrote about Werden’s record-setting 1895 season and the 1890s Minneapolis Millers.

June 14, 1935: Dale Alexander (KC Blues)

  • Nicollet Park, Minneapolis
  • Kansas City Blues 15, Minneapolis Millers 2
  • Alexander hit four home runs in his first four at-bats, then hit into a double play his fifth time up.

August 13, 1938: Mel Wasley (Dukes CF)

  • Athletic Park, Duluth
  • Duluth Dukes 17, Fargo-Moorhead Twins 3
  • First game of doubleheader. Twins won second game 5-2.

That’s right, long before the Minnesota Twins, there was the Fargo-Moorhead Twins, who played from 1933 to 1942 and 1946 to 1960. Hibbing-born, Fargo-raised Roger Maris made his professional baseball debut with the Twins in 1953. Frank Gravino hit 52 home runs in 1953, and 56 in 1954. So even though the Minnesota Twins have never had a 50-home run slugger, the Fargo-Moorhead Twins have!

July 4, 1940: Ab Wright (Millers RF)

  • Nicollet Park, Minneapolis
  • Minneapolis Millers 17, Saint Paul Saints 5
  • Second game of doubleheader. Wright went 5-for-5 with four HRs, a triple, and seven RBI.

September 3, 1945: Bill Hart (Saints SS)

  • Lexington Park, Saint Paul
  • Saint Paul Saints 16, Minneapolis Millers 1
  • First game of doubleheader.

There have only been two four-home run games at any level of the Twins organization.

First baseman Randy Bass hit four home runs for the Triple-A Tacoma Twins versus the Phoenix Giants in Phoenix on June 9, 1977. He led the Tacoma Twins that season with 25 home runs. Tom Kelly tied for second on the team with 12.

Lew Ford hit four home runs for the Double-A New Britain Rock Cats on August 19, 2001. He only hit nine all season. Michael Cuddyer led the Rock Cats with 30, good for second-best in the Eastern League. Dustan Mohr led the league with a .336 AVG.

While playing at Double-A El Paso in the Angels organization, Tom Brunansky hit four home runs versus the Midland (TX) Cubs on June 18, 1980.

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  2. Joe Florenzano

    As a youngster I was in awe when I heard and later read in the newspaper that Rocky Colavito hit 4 home runs in a game. My childhood friend was a big Cleveland Indians fan and made sure I knew of it at the time in 1959.


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