It was just another scoreless game until Josh Hamilton uncorked a deep shot over the center field wall, a two-run homer off Orioles’ pitcher Jake Arrieta. And then he did it again. And again. And again.
By the end of the Texas Rangers’ 10-3 rout of the Orioles, Hamilton had belted four home runs over the outfield wall at Camden Yards.
“It reminds you of when you’re in Little League and a little kid, and just the excitement and why we play the game. Things like that. You never know what can happen,” he said at a post-game press conference.
Hamilton is only the 16th player in Major League history – and the only currently active player – to hit four homers in a game. Seattle’s Mike Cameron and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Shawn Green both knocked in four-homer games in 2002. Hamilton explained his sense of calm as he stepped up to the plate in the eighth inning. He had already broken his personal record of two homers in a game. “I was saying after I hit two, I’ve never hit three in a game before, and what a blessing that was,” he said. And then he fired off his fourth two-run homer of the evening.
It was a feat as unpredictable as Hamilton’s Major League career. He debuted in the majors in 1999 as a first-round draft pick, but his career was soon derailed due to drug and alcohol abuse. After serveral suspensions and stints in rehab, he made a triumphant return to baseball in in 2007; since then he’s been a four-time All-Star and helped lead the Texas Rangers to the past two World Series. Hamilton will become a free agent at the end of the season unless the Rangers cut a deal with the outfielder. After Tuesday’s performance, his stock has surely gone up.