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The Rocking Chair Rajah – Oldest Players With a 3 HR Game

Posted by Raphy on May 25, 2010

Seventy five years ago today, Babe Ruth hit his last home run.  In fact, he hit the last 3 home runs  of his career on  that day in 1935.  It was only the second 3-home run game of Ruth's illustrious career and it occurred when he was 40  years old. Robert W. Creamer has a nice description of the game in his biography of Ruth (h/t Rob Neyer).

Back in September of 2007, Andy wrote a nice and timely post about the oldest players to hit 3 homeruns in a game. In the intervening years, the resources available here at baseball-reference.com have greatly expanded and we can now conclusively create a complete list. First lets take a look at the  list provided  by the PI game finder (1920-1939, 1952-2010).

Rk Player Age Date Tm Opp Rslt PA AB R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB IBB SO HBP SH SF ROE GDP SB CS WPA RE24 aLI BOP Pos. Summary
1 Stan Musial 41.229 1962-07-08 STL NYM W 15-1 5 4 3 3 0 0 3 4 1 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.122 4.045 .270 4 LF
2 Reggie Jackson 40.123 1986-09-18 CAL KCR W 18-3 6 4 4 3 0 0 3 7 2 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0 0 0.175 5.664 .348 4 DH
3 Babe Ruth 40.108 1935-05-25 BSN PIT L 7-11 4 4 3 4 0 0 3 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.000 0.000 3 RF
4 Dave Winfield 39.192 1991-04-13 CAL MIN W 15-9 6 6 4 5 1 0 3 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.340 5.613 .538 4 RF
5 Frank Thomas 39.113 2007-09-17 TOR BOS W 6-1 4 4 3 3 0 0 3 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.228 3.841 .660 4 DH
6 Bob Thurman 39.096 1956-08-18 CIN MLN W 13-4 5 5 4 4 1 0 3 4 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.219 4.050 .438 3 LF
7 Steve Finley 39.047 2004-04-28 ARI CHC L 3-4 4 4 3 3 0 0 3 3 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.539 2.886 .930 5 CF
8 Ted Williams 38.287 1957-06-13 BOS CLE W 9-3 5 5 3 3 0 0 3 5 0 0 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.347 4.273 .538 3 LF
9 Ted Williams 38.251 1957-05-08 BOS CHW W 4-1 5 4 3 3 0 0 3 4 1 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.280 3.511 .446 3 LF
10 Ty Cobb 38.138 1925-05-05 DET SLB W 14-8 6 6 4 6 1 0 3 5 0 0 0 0 0 0 1 0.000 0.000 3 CF
11 Lee Lacy 38.059 1986-06-08 BAL NYY W 18-9 6 6 4 4 0 0 3 6 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.216 3.785 .333 2 RF
12 Barry Bonds 38.034 2002-08-27 SFG COL W 7-4 5 4 4 4 1 0 3 3 1 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0 0.481 4.116 .856 3 LF
Provided by Baseball-Reference.com: View Play Index Tool Used

Generated 5/24/2010.

From 1871-1919 and 1940-1951 there weren't many seasons of 3+ home runs by players 38 years or older. The HR logs for those seasons reveal that no player 38 or older recorded a 3+ HR game during that time. Therefore, the PI list above is complete.  Despite the passage of time, longer careers, better conditioning and other things*, only 2 players have been able to match the last hurrah of the famous Rajah.

This entry was posted on Tuesday, May 25th, 2010 at 3:00 am and is filed under Game Finders, Home Runs. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

12 Responses to “The Rocking Chair Rajah – Oldest Players With a 3 HR Game”

  1. I think Ty Cobb and Lee Lacy are the odd ones on that list for sure! Didn't see that coming.

  2. Don't forget, Ruth did it two other times that were more significant. Just ask the Cardinals.

  3. Surprised it didn't occur more often during this era.

  4. [...] three homers in a game. The two leaders are in the Hall Of Fame: Stan Musial and Reggie Jackson. Here’s a list of the others. -From ESPN’s Rob Neyer: KC pitcher George Brunet allowed five bases loaded walks in one [...]

  5. Morten Jonsson Says:

    Rajah was Rogers Hornsby, who's not on that list. Babe Ruth was the Sultan of Swat. Nicknames still available include the Pasha of Power, the Caliph of Clout, and the Bey of Base-Ball.

  6. Morten - Ruth had many nicknames including "the Sultan of Swat,the Caliph of Clout, the Wizard of Whak, the Rajah of Rap, the Wazir of Wham, the Mammoth of Maul, the Maharajah of Mash, the Bambino. The Bam. The Big Bam"

    Source: "The Big Bam: The Life and Times of Babe Ruth" By Leigh Montville
    http://books.google.com/books?id=DnXT6Z5PA1sC&lpg=PA107&ots=EO59RiBz-D&dq=%22rajah%20of%20rap%22&pg=PA107#v=onepage&q=%22rajah%20of%20rap%22&f=false

  7. I dont care if 3 reporters in 1932 called Babe Ruth the Rajah of Rap, currently no one in existance refers to Ruth as Rajah and that is Hornsby's accepted nickname. This very site does not refer to Ruth as Rajah...because that is not what he is known as. That would be like me writing an article called "The Babe's Best Season" and then write about Babe Herman in 1930. It would be misleading and wrong.

  8. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Gotta side with Mike and Morten on this one. I kept scanning the list to see if I was overlooking Hornsby.

  9. My apologies to Mr. Hornsby. I don't know why, but for some reason I knew that one of Ruth's nicknames was the Rajah of Rap. I guess the The Senior Sultan would have been a better title.

  10. Morten Jonsson Says:

    I believe Joe Niekro was known as the Emir of Emery, but I don't see that on his page.

  11. There's a story to go with the Cobb game. Seems Cobb was tired of Ruth getting all the attention, and declared that he, too, could hit home runs if he wanted to, went out and hit 5 in two games to prove his point, then went back to "scientific baseball." Veterans of Usenet newsgroup rec.sport.baseball will recognize the line, "Cobb coulda done it - if he'd wanted to."

  12. Kahuna Tuna Says:

    I wonder whether Bob Thurman is the only player on this list to have a three-homer game but no two-homer games.