Between now and the new year, MLB.com will be revisiting the top stories of 2017. Up next are a pair of four-homer performances.Major League Baseball set a record for home runs in 2017, with 6,105, so it seems only fitting that in the Year of the Homer, two players would
Between now and the new year, MLB.com will be revisiting the top stories of 2017. Up next are a pair of four-homer performances.
Major League Baseball set a record for home runs in 2017, with 6,105, so it seems only fitting that in the Year of the Homer, two players would manage to make history by recording four-home-run games.
Reds utility man Scooter Gennett and D-backs slugging outfielder J.D. Martinez could not be more different players, yet they will forever be linked in history.
They became the 17th and 18th players to accomplish the feat. Just how rare is that? Consider that have been more perfect games thrown (23), 500-career home run careers (27) and 3,000-hit careers (31) than there have been four-homer games.
• A look at every four-homer game in MLB history
Additionally, they were the first pair to achieve it in the same season since Mike Cameron and Shawn Green did in May 2002, and the first players to reach the historic mark for their respective clubs.
"It's obviously the most impressive thing I've ever been a part of," D-backs outfielder A.J. Pollock said. "It was awesome."
Gennett's brush with history came on June 6 at Great American Ball Park against the Cardinals, as he became the first player in Major League history to record five hits, four homers and 10 RBIs in a game.
Gennett's first homer was a grand slam off Adam Wainwright in the third inning and his next two -- a two-run shot in the fourth and a solo one in the sixth -- came off John Gant.
It appeared that Gennett might not get a chance for No. 4 when he was the fourth batter up in the bottom of the eighth inning with the Reds holding an 11-1 lead.
Scott Schebler, though, managed to draw a one-out walk and after Eugenio Suarez struck out swinging, Gennett made the most of his opportunity with a two-run homer to right off John Brebbia to claim his spot in the history books.
"That's pretty crazy, man," the 5-foot-10 Gennett said after the game. "Especially when you think of a guy like me, not a huge guy. But that's baseball. It's not how big or strong you are, it's how efficient and sometimes lucky. For a guy like me to have done it, it's amazing. It's maybe a little bit short of a miracle. Baseball is an amazing game."
By the time Martinez had his magical night on Sept. 4 at Dodger Stadium, D-backs players were jokingly saying that his initials stood for "Just Dingers." He had hit 14 homers in 158 plate appearances after Arizona acquired him from Detroit in mid-July.
There was no hint of anything special in the air in the second inning when Martinez struck out swinging in his first at-bat.
That would be the last out he would make on the night, though, as he homered in the fourth off Rich Hill, in the seventh off Pedro Baez, in the eighth off Josh Fields and in the ninth off Wilmer Font.
The D-backs won the game, 13-0, and Martinez became the first player in history to have more homers than the opposing team had hits (three). He was also the first player in the modern era to hit homers in the seventh, eighth and ninth innings of the same game and the third player in history to hit four homers off four different pitchers.
When he stepped to the plate in the ninth, Martinez could not help but think back to the last time he was in the same situation. It was June 21, 2015, at Yankee Stadium and all he could think about was hitting that fourth homer. Instead he flied out to right.
This time, Martinez's mindset was different.
"This at-bat, I came up and I was like, 'Just go up here and try to have a good at-bat,'" Martinez said. "'Just keep doing what you've been doing all day. You know what, if it's meant to be, it's meant to be. It's going to happen. There's no point in trying to force it. Just go up there and have a good at-bat.'"
Steve Gilbert has covered the D-backs for MLB.com since 2001. Follow him on Twitter @SteveGilbertMLB.