Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Hamilton Hits Four Homers in a Game

Rangers outfielder Josh Hamilton accomplished a rare feat yesterday when he hit four home runs off Orioles pitching. Overall, Hamilton went 5 for 5 with 4 home runs, 8 RBIs, and a new American League record of 18 total bases in a single game. Hamilton is only one of 16 players in baseball history to hit 4 home runs in a game. Hamilton is the first player to accomplish this feat since Carlos Delgado did it for the 2003 Blue Jays.

Its not a surprise that Hamilton did this, he is one of the most talented players in the game right now. He joins a club that includes Hall of Famers Mike Schmidt, Willie Mays, Chuck Klein, Lou Gehrig, and Ed Delahanty. Power hitters of the past like Gil Hodges, Rocky Colavito, Joe Adcock, and Bob Horner have also hit four homers in a game. More recently, Delgado, Shawn Green, and Mike Cameron have accomplished this feat. I also remember when Mark Whiten hit four homers with the Cardinals in 1993 against the Reds. Whiten had a good year in 93, but was traded a year later. 1993 was a career year for Whiten, and he was never as good after that.

Hamilton is also eligible for free agency after the season. The Rangers are reluctant to give him a long term deal because of his history of drug addiction and injuries. He did have a relapse this winter in which he went to the bar, but I don't think its as big of a deal as it was made out to be. The Rangers have been talking about extending him to a five or six year deal instead of a ten year deal like Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, and Joey Votto got this past offseason. Even with a clean slate of health and no personal demons, a ten year deal is unwise. Hamilton is about to turn 31, and we have already seen what kind of start Pujols got off to after signing his megadeal.

There will be plenty of demand for Hamilton if he does reach the free agent market. He is off to a hot start, batting .406, slugging .840, with 14 homers and 36 RBIs. He's on pace to have a better season than his 2010 MVP year. The Rangers have already extended second baseman Ian Kinsler and pitcher Derek Holland before the year. They also spent a ton on Japanese import Yu Darvish. Catcher Mike Napoli is also a free agent after the season. Right fielder Nelson Cruz and Micheal Young are both eligible for free agency after 2013. However, the Rangers have the revenue to lock up Hamilton if they choose. They may have to part with some of the other players to do so.

Cardinal Notes: This weekend the Cardinals will retire former manager Tony La Russa's number 10. La Russa will be just the 12th Cardinal to recieve this honor. Chipper Jones will also be making his last appearance in St. Louis this weekend(barring playoffs) since he's retiring at season's end. In some sad news, Lil Musial(Stan's wife) died last week. The Musials were married for over 70 years.

Hard Hittin' Mark Whiten Accomplished this Feat in 1993

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