Mike Schmidt and the Phillies were in Chicago for a two-game series, Saturday and Sunday afternoons. In the Saturday game, he set a club record by hitting four consecutive home runs, including a 10th-inning game-winner off right-hander Paul Reuschel as the Phillies hung on, 18–16. Their record stood at 2–3.
“I arrived in Chicago in a slump. I was demoted to sixth in the batting order that day. I was definitely pressing and not relaxed,” said Schmidt. “Before the game my friend Dick Allen pulled me aside and said lets you and I just concentrate on having fun today. The game started and we fell behind immediately, so it was comeback baseball all game. We came back from 11 runs twice (12–1 after three innings; 13–2 after four).”
For the record, he hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning (“curve ball”, according to Schmidt) off Rick Reuschel; a solo home run in the seventh (“fastball up and in”) again off Rick, a three-run blast in the eighth (“another fastball”) off Mike Garman and a two-run homer in the 10th (“fastball up and in”) off Paul Reuschel.
“I wasn’t thinking anything special when I went up there in the 10th,” he recalled. “I was feeling good and was nice and relaxed. I don’t think moving from third to sixth in the order meant anything. I did use a Tony Taylor bat and wore a Terry Harmon t-shirt that he said had a lot of hits in it.”
“Five-for-six with four homers and eight RBI, pretty good day! The important thing….we won 50 games out of the next 63 to reach the postseason for the first time.”
How significant was that afternoon in Chicago? Schmidt became the second player in National League history to hit four consecutive home runs in a game, joining Boston’s Bob Lowe, who did it in 1894. Overall, 10 players hit four home runs in a game up until 1976. Seven of the elite were in the National League, including two Hall of Fame Phillies, first baseman Ed Delahanty (1896) and outfielder Chuck Klein (1936).
What happened in the Sunday game? Glad you asked.
With the Phillies clinging to a 6–5 lead, Schmidt iced the game with a two-run homer in the seventh inning. The victim? Paul Reuschel again.
Schmidt finished his Hall of Fame career with 548 home runs. 265 came at Veterans Stadium (1,202 games) 50 were hit at Wrigley (138 games). Second favorite visiting ballpark? 29, Cincinnati’s Riverfront Stadium (92 games).
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