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Longest home run streaks to start a season

Posted by Andy on April 4, 2011

By now you've probably heard that there were a lot of home runs in some ballparks during the first weekend of the season.

Here are the 26 players since 1919 to homer in each of his team's first 3 games of the season:

Rk Player Year #Matching PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1 Nelson Cruz 2011 3 Ind. Games 12 11 4 0 0 3 3 1 2 .364 .417 1.182 1.598
2 Mark Teixeira 2011 3 Ind. Games 14 12 4 0 0 3 7 2 2 .333 .429 1.083 1.512
3 Ian Kinsler 2011 3 Ind. Games 14 10 4 1 0 3 3 3 2 .400 .571 1.400 1.971
4 Vernon Wells 2010 3 Ind. Games 13 10 6 0 0 4 7 2 1 .600 .692 1.800 2.492
5 Brandon Inge 2009 3 Ind. Games 12 11 4 1 0 3 4 0 2 .364 .417 1.273 1.689
6 Grady Sizemore 2007 3 Ind. Games 15 14 6 0 0 3 4 1 2 .429 .467 1.071 1.538
7 Lance Berkman 2002 3 Ind. Games 15 13 6 0 0 3 7 2 1 .462 .533 1.154 1.687
8 Gary Sheffield 2002 3 Ind. Games 13 13 6 0 0 3 7 0 0 .462 .462 1.154 1.615
9 Derrek Lee 2002 3 Ind. Games 12 11 4 1 0 3 6 1 2 .364 .417 1.273 1.689
10 Chris Truby 2001 3 Ind. Games 13 9 4 0 0 3 5 4 1 .444 .615 1.444 2.060
11 Fernando Tatis 1999 3 Ind. Games 13 10 4 0 0 3 6 2 1 .400 .538 1.300 1.838
12 Mark McGwire 1998 3 Ind. Games 16 12 5 1 0 3 9 4 6 .417 .563 1.250 1.813
13 Dean Palmer 1992 3 Ind. Games 14 10 4 0 0 3 5 4 3 .400 .571 1.300 1.871
14 Kevin Mitchell 1991 3 Ind. Games 12 10 4 0 0 3 5 1 1 .400 .500 1.300 1.800
15 Mike Greenwell 1989 3 Ind. Games 14 13 5 0 0 3 4 1 2 .385 .429 1.077 1.505
16 Glenn Davis 1988 3 Ind. Games 15 12 5 1 0 3 6 3 1 .417 .533 1.250 1.783
17 Darryl Strawberry 1987 3 Ind. Games 11 11 4 1 0 3 7 0 2 .364 .364 1.273 1.636
18 Dave Winfield 1983 3 Ind. Games 14 12 4 0 0 3 5 2 1 .333 .429 1.083 1.512
19 Jim Wynn 1974 3 Ind. Games 15 13 7 1 0 3 7 1 0 .538 .533 1.308 1.841
20 Willie Mays 1971 3 Ind. Games 15 14 6 1 0 3 7 1 3 .429 .467 1.143 1.610
21 Billy Williams 1971 3 Ind. Games 13 10 4 0 0 3 5 3 0 .400 .538 1.300 1.838
22 Frank Howard 1969 3 Ind. Games 14 14 5 0 0 4 7 0 2 .357 .357 1.214 1.571
23 Frank Robinson 1966 3 Ind. Games 15 12 4 0 0 3 3 1 3 .333 .467 1.083 1.550
24 Carl Furillo 1955 3 Ind. Games 14 12 5 0 0 4 8 2 0 .417 .500 1.417 1.917
25 Bobby Doerr 1941 3 Ind. Games 14 11 6 0 0 4 9 3 0 .545 .643 1.636 2.279
26 Bob Johnson 1937 3 Ind. Games 15 10 5 1 0 3 5 5 1 .500 .667 1.500 2.167
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/4/2011.

Mark Teixeira, Nelson Cruz, and Ian Kinsler all joined the club this year.

Amazingly, there was one other occasion, in 2002, when 3 guys did it as well.

The record is homers in the first4 games, done twice:

Rk Player Year #Matching PA AB H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO BA OBP SLG OPS
1 Mark McGwire 1998 4 Ind. Games 21 16 7 1 0 4 12 5 7 .438 .571 1.250 1.821
2 Willie Mays 1971 4 Ind. Games 20 18 7 1 0 4 9 2 4 .389 .450 1.111 1.561
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used
Generated 4/4/2011.

Oh wow...1998....we all know what happened that year. That was the year Barry Bonds became super-jealous of Mark McGwire (allegedly).

So the 3 active guys above all have a shot of tying this record in their next game.

This entry was posted on Monday, April 4th, 2011 at 9:46 am and is filed under Game Finders. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

14 Responses to “Longest home run streaks to start a season”

  1. Cruz and Kinsler were the first teammates to do it. They are also the second and third (Frank Robinson being the first) to have just 3 RBIs. That obviously means they each hit 3 solo blasts. It is possible some other guys here also hit only solo shots but recorded RBIs in other ways, though we'd have to go through all the individual game logs to sort that out.

  2. Kind of a last hurrah for Mays, who turned 40 that year and hit just 15 more after that outburst. The next year, he'd be dealt to the Mets, and as anyone who saw him in 1972 and 1973 knows, those final two years weren't pretty.

  3. Mays in fact homered in his first four games that season. It's amazing how his decline happened almost exactly at the age of 40. He turned 40 on May 6th of 1971. From Opening Day through the games of May 10th, Mays hit .387-7-23 in 27 games. From May 11th on, .238-11-38 in 109 games.

  4. Well, although Mays didn't hit a lot of homers that year he still led the league in OBP and had his most walks in a season.

  5. I have to say, for a stat that's a little bit random and fluky that's an awfully impressive list of players.

  6. and now Chris Truby can go back into obscurity for another year...

  7. It's too bad Mike Napoli didn't get an AB in Saturday's game. The Rangers could have had 3 in 2011.

  8. dukeofflatbush Says:

    I think when assessing Bond's jealousy, we, as Saber-heads, owe it to ourselves and the general public to quantify Bond's emotional states into numeric values that are fair to both abstract feelings, such as envy - and the context in which he allegedly feels them. Also add park effect. So I'd change "SUPER-JEALOUS" to ENVY+178.

  9. Cruz extends it to 4.

  10. Morten Jonsson Says:

    Willie Mays hit quite well when he joined the Mets in 1972--.267, but it was a good .267, with some power and an OBP over .400. Nobody would have called it a sad ending if he had quit then. It was 1973 when he really didn't have it anymore.

  11. @4.

    Mays led the league in OBP in '71, primarily on the strength of a league-leading 112 walks. This was a career high for Mays (next highest mark of 81 in 1961), and represented better than one walk every 5 PAs. He had a similar walk rate in '72 with 60 BB in 309 PA. Aside from those two years, Mays' walk rate was about one every 9 PAs.

    Seems like a cagey veteran adapting his game to still provide value even with declining skills. But, it stopped working in '73 as pitchers apparently started going after Mays, and instead of a walk rate of one every 5 PAs, it was Mays' K rate that reached that level with 47 Ks in only 239 PAs, compared to about one K for every 8 PAs for his career.

  12. @5.

    Absolutely echo your sentiment about the result of this query. Of 26 guys, only one (Chris Truby) of the never-heard-of or long-forgotten-about variety.

    Cream evidently does rise to the top.

  13. Johnny Twisto Says:

    How could Chris Truby be long forgotten about on an Internet baseball site?

  14. I love this site, you always have cool stats like this. Side thought, I wonder how many should have asterisks that say *may have taken steriods