PHILADELPHIA -- What makes the greatest single-game performance by a player in Phillies history?
It is a mix of the objective (lots of hits, preferably home runs) and the subjective (a big day by a lesser-known player does not outweigh a big day by a Hall of Famer or All-Star). Here is our best attempt at ranking the five greatest single-game performances by a player in Phillies history.
Tell us where you think we went wrong.
1. Mike Schmidt (April 17, 1976)
Schmidt set or tied franchise records with four home runs, eight RBIs and 17 total bases in a legendary 18-16 victory over the Cubs in 10 innings at Wrigley Field.
Michael Jack flied out in the second and singled in the fourth before he homered in his final four plate appearances: a two-out, two-run homer in the fifth; a two-out, solo homer in the seventh; a two-out, three-run homer in the eighth; and a two-run, go-ahead homer in the 10th. Schmidt became the 10th player in baseball history to hit four homers in a game and the first player in modern National League history to homer in four consecutive plate appearances.
It helped the Phillies overcome a 13-2 deficit after four.
“Smitty never would have done it without me,” said Tug McGraw, whose blown save in the ninth led to Schmidt’s go-ahead homer in the 10th.
Schmidt said afterward that he used Tony Taylor’s bat and wore a Terry Harmon T-shirt underneath his jersey to change his luck. See, Schmidt hit .167 (3-for-18) with nine strikeouts in the Phillies’ first four games of the season, which apparently was enough for manager Danny Ozark to drop him from third to sixth in the lineup. (Talk about a quick hook.) Schmidt led the big leagues in home runs in 1974 and '75.
In case you are wondering, Dave Cash, Larry Bowa, Jay Johnstone, Greg Luzinski and Dick Allen hit ahead of Schmidt that afternoon.
2. Jayson Werth (May 16, 2008)
Werth had a remarkable four-year run with the Phillies. In fact, Manny Trillo’s recent addition to the franchise’s Wall of Fame blows open the door for Werth and others to make it. (Trillo only played four seasons in Philadelphia, too.)
Werth had many incredible moments with the Phillies, which his .966 OPS in 38 postseason games confirms. But his best individual performance happened on a May night against the Blue Jays at Citizens Bank Park. Werth went 3-for-4 with three home runs and eight RBIs in a 10-3 victory. He hit a three-run homer in the second, a grand slam in the third and a solo homer in the fifth before he fouled out in the seventh. Werth's 12 total bases are tied for ninth in franchise history.
“I was a cameraman in the Jayson Werth show,” Ryan Howard told the Inquirer. “I had Camera 2 out on second base and watched the whole thing unfold.”
Werth, Schmidt, Willie “Puddin’ Head” Jones, Gavvy Cravath and Kitty Bransfield are the only Phillies to have eight RBIs in a game.
“That was special tonight,” Werth said. “I had never had a curtain call, and I had two. I’m grateful, and I’m very thankful.”
3. Chuck Klein (July 10, 1936)
Klein is the only player other than Schmidt and Ed Delahanty (July 13, 1896) to homer four times in a game in Phillies history. He went 4-for-5 with four home runs, six RBIs and 16 total bases in a 9-6 victory over the Pirates in 10 innings at Forbes Field. Klein hit a three-run homer in the first, fouled out in the second, hit a solo homer in the fifth, a solo homer in the seventh and a solo homer in the 10th.
Klein joined Bobby Lowe, Ed Delahanty and Lou Gehrig as the only players at the time to homer four times in a game.
A small headline above the box score in the Inquirer summed up the afternoon best: “Klein -- Wheeeee!”
4. Ryan Howard (Sept. 3, 2006)
This is the Tim Hudson game.
Everybody who followed the Phillies during their rise and run to five consecutive NL East titles from 2007-11 remembers Howard homering three times in three plate appearances against Hudson in Game 1 of a doubleheader at Citizens Bank Park. Howard went 4-for-4 with three homers and four RBIs. His 13 total bases are tied for third in franchise history.
They were Howard's 50th, 51st and 52nd homers in his NL MVP Award-winning season.
“I just wanted to keep going out and have good ABs,” Howard said.
5. Billy Hamilton (Aug. 31, 1894)
This is a deep cut, but it jumped out that Hall of Fame outfielder Billy Hamilton stole an NL record-setting seven bases in a win over the Senators in Game 2 of a doubleheader. Hamilton stole second base four times and third base three times. Hamilton’s seven swipes were two more than the previous record held by several players, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer. The record still stands today.
The Phillies finished fourth that season, despite outfielders Hamilton, Delahanty and Thompson each hitting over .400.
Maybe it explains the lede to that day’s story.
“The results of yesterday’s games were more than pleasing to the cranks in this locality,” the Inquirer read.