There’s a certain romanticism in how we view the switch-hitter in baseball. The skill necessary to hit Major League pitching from both sides of the plate is rarely found, and when it is, it’s a treasure, particularly in our era of platooning and pitching matchups.
There are switch-hitters. Then there are switch-hitters who can do a lot of damage from either batter’s box. With special thanks to the Elias Sports Bureau, here’s a look at the players with the most games homering from both sides of the plate. For context, the active leader in this category is José Ramírez, with seven such games.
T-1) Mark Teixeira -- 14
Teixeira is ranked fifth all-time among switch-hitters with 409 home runs and was also a five-time Gold Glove Award winner at first base. His first career game in which he homered from both sides of the plate came on the Fourth of July in 2004, when he launched a solo shot in the eighth inning as a right-handed batter and a grand slam in the ninth while batting lefty during an 18-3 Rangers victory over the Astros.
Teixeira tended to have games in which he homered from both sides in bunches -- he did it twice within the span of a month for the Braves, on June 22 and July 20, 2008, and twice in a two-week span for the Yankees from May 4 to May 18, 2009. His last such game came on July 31, 2015, when he smashed a two-run homer batting lefty and then a grand slam while batting right-handed for the Yankees against the White Sox in Chicago.
The bulk of the games in which Teixeira homered from both batter’s boxes came from 2008-11, a span in which he accomplished the feat nine times. Of the 14 games in which he went deep from both sides of the plate, Teixeira belted three homers on three occasions.
T-1) Nick Swisher -- 14
Whereas Teixeira accomplished the feat with three different teams, Swisher did so with a record-tying five -- five times with the A’s, five times with the Yankees, twice with the White Sox and once each with Atlanta and Cleveland. The ony other player who homered from both sides of the plate with five clubs is coming up on this list.
Swisher’s first game with homers as both a righty and a lefty came with Oakland on June 26, 2005, against the Giants. His last, in which he tied Teixeira’s record of 14, came a decade later, when he launched a pair of homers for the Braves against the Cubs at Wrigley Field on Aug. 22, 2015.
Swisher is tied with Tony Clark for the single-season American League record for games with a homer from each side of the plate, with three in both 2007 and '09.
3) Carlos Beltrán -- 12
Beltrán’s 435 career homers are third-most among switch-hitters in MLB history. The first time he homered from both sides of the plate in a game was on June 29, 2000, when he hit a pair of solo homers for the Royals against Cleveland at Kauffman Stadium. His last was with the Yankees, when he launched homers from both sides against the Tigers at Yankee Stadium on June 20, 2015. In between, he did it once more with Kansas City, once with the Astros, five times with the Mets and three times with the Cardinals -- five teams in all.
Interestingly, with all of his postseason success -- 16 homers in 65 postseason games -- Beltrán never had a playoff game in which he homered from each side of the plate.
T-4) Eddie Murray -- 11
Only Mickey Mantle hit more home runs as a switch-hitter than Murray’s 504. Eight of Murray’s 12 games in which he homered from both sides of the plate came while he was with the Orioles. The first was on Aug. 3, 1977, against the A’s in Oakland, when the future Hall of Famer belted a solo shot while hitting left-handed in the eighth inning, and then a go-ahead, two-run shot in the 10th from the right side that proved to be the game-winner in an 8-6 Baltimore victory.
Murray’s last such game came 17 years later, when at age 38 he drove in five runs with a pair of homers for Cleveland against the Twins at the Metrodome -- he smashed a three-run shot in the first inning while batting lefty against Pat Mahomes (no, not the superstar quarterback, but his dad) and then a two-run homer from the other side of the plate in the seventh. Ten of the 12 occasions on which Murray homered from both sides came in the American League, and two in the National League, both with the Dodgers.
T-4) Chili Davis -- 11
Davis was one of the game’s finest designated hitters in the 1990s, though he began his career in the NL with the Giants, for whom he homered from both sides of the plate three times, once in 1983 and twice in ’87. He then joined the Angels, and with California he homered from the left and right side in the same game six times (in two different stints with the club).
Davis also accomplished the feat once with the Twins and once with the Royals -- his two-homer, five-RBI performance for Kansas City on June 7, 1997, against the Rangers was the last of the games in which he homered from each side of the plate. Overall, his 350 career homers ranks seventh all-time among switch-hitters.
T-6) Mickey Mantle -- 10
The switch-hitting home run king with 536, Mantle is the gold standard of switch-hitters even though he didn’t have the most games with a homer from each side of the plate. From 1955-61, Mantle homered from both sides in a game eight times. No one else did it once in that span.
The first time Mantle homered as both a righty and a lefty at the plate was on May 13, 1955, when he slammed three home runs and drove in all five runs in the Yankees’ 5-2 win over the Tigers in the Bronx. The final time he accomplished the feat was on Aug. 12, 1964, against the White Sox at Yankee Stadium, when he launched a pair of solo homers in New York’s 7-3 victory.
Although Mantle’s 18 World Series home runs remain a record to this day, he did not have any World Series games with a home run from each side of the plate.
T-6) Ken Caminiti -- 10
Caminiti’s run of dominance at the plate was brief, but it was tremendous. The third baseman hit 121 of his 239 career homers in a four-year span with the Padres from 1995-98, winning the 1996 NL MVP Award along with all three of his Gold Glove Awards. Seven of his 10 games with a homer from each batter’s box came from 1995-96 alone, including an MLB single-season record of four in his ’96 MVP campaign.
There were two more occasions on which Caminiti homered from both sides. He blasted three home runs -- two as a right-handed hitter and one as a lefty -- and drove in five of San Diego’s six runs in a victory at Dodger Stadium on July 12, 1998; his final such game came on Aug. 20, 1999, for the Astros, in which he hit a two-run shot in the third and then led off the top of the 16th with a go-ahead solo home run in Houston’s 6-4 win over the Marlins in Miami.
T-6) Tony Clark -- 10
Nearly half Clark’s 251 career homers came from 1996-99, a span in which he belted 124 of those home runs with an .862 OPS with the Tigers.
Clark’s first game with a home run from both sides of the plate was on April 5, 1997, against the White Sox in Chicago, a slugfest in which he hit two solo shots in a 15-12 Tigers win. His next three such games all came in ’98, setting a single-season AL record later tied by Swisher. He had two more with Detroit in ’99 before a pair in New York: one for the Mets in 2003, and one for the Yankees in ’04, in which he launched three homers. He then had two for the D-backs four years apart, one in ’05 and one on Opening Day in ’09.
T-9) Bernie Williams -- 8
His 287 career home runs are tied with Bobby Bonilla for 10th all-time among switch-hitters, but his presence was felt most in the postseason for the Yankees’ dynasty of the late 1990s. Williams launched 22 career postseason home runs, helping New York win four World Series titles in a five-year span from 1996-2000.
There have been only four instances of a player homering from both sides of the plate in the same postseason game, and Williams is responsible for two of them -- he did so in Game 3 of the 1995 AL Division Series against the Mariners and in Game 4 of the ’96 ALDS against the Rangers. (The other two players who homered from each side of the plate in a postseason game are Chipper Jones in 2003, and Milton Bradley in ’06.)
During the regular season, Williams distributed such games pretty evenly throughout his career. His first came in 1994, and he had one each in ’96, ’98 and ’99 before accomplishing the feat twice in 2000. He then did it once in 2001 and once in ’02.
T-9) Jorge Posada -- 8
It’s fitting that Williams and Posada are tied for ninth all-time in this category since they each hit homers from both sides of the plate for the Yankees during a tremendous run in the 1990s. In fact, they became the first pair of teammates in MLB history to each homer from both sides in the same game, doing so against the Blue Jays on April 23, 2000.
Of Posada’s 275 career homers, 16 came in games in which he belted a home run as both a left-handed and right-handed batter.
Posada’s first such game came on Aug. 23, 1998, when he hit a pair of solo homers against the Rangers at the Ballpark in Arlington. His last was on Sept. 4, 2007, when he had another pair of solo shots as part of a 4-for-4 afternoon against the Mariners at Yankee Stadium. It was his second game involving homers from each side of the plate in about a month, after having done so on Aug. 1 vs. the White Sox, also in the Bronx.