April 17, 1976: When Mike Schmidt hit four straight homers in a Wrigley Field slugfest

When one thinks about the Phillies and Cubs dipping into Wrigley Field in the ’70 s, it’s hard not to think about historical wackiness.

The first idea is typically about May 17, 1979, when the teams fought it out in a see-saw affair that produced 45 runs, however their match on April 17, 1976, was practically as amusing. That was the day Mike Schmidt made history with a quartet of homers that assisted secret a significant Phillies return in another contest that was intoxicated on runs.

However Schmidt’s efficiency had to do with more than the four home runs. It was likewise about the method the homers occurred, and the situations in which they took place.

MORE: Enjoy video of (practically) every four- homer game in MLB history

For beginners, Schmidt started the game in a downturn. He was batting.167 with one home run at the start of play and had actually been benched from 3rd to 6th in the batting order. He was not surprisingly peeved, and he had a long talk with veteran colleague Penis Allen prior to thegame

“I wasn’t exactly hangdog or anything like that, but I needed somebody to talk to and Allen is the perfect guy,” Schmidt informed Sporting News at the time. “He’s been around a long time and he knows what to say and how to say it.”

More on that later on.

Second, Schmidt didn’t hit his first homer of the game up until the 5th inning, which is kinda spectacular. Typically when a batter approaches the single-game homer record, he has at least 2 by around the 5thinning Schmidt’s first homer came in his 3rd plate look– he flew out in his first at-bat and singled in his second– and the 2-run shot came with the Phillies routing the Cubs 13 -2.

Third, the four homers came in four successive at-bats, that made Schmidt the first gamer in NL history to do that, and simply the 4th ever. His last homer, a 2-run blast, came in the 10 th inning and offered the Phillies a 17-15lead They added another run in the inning and won 18-16 (Trivia: History would duplicate itself practically verbatim 3 years and one month later on, when a solo homer from Schmidt offered the Phillies the win in that wild 23-22 game.)

Here’s a take a look at all four of Schmidt’shomers His 3rd, a towering shot to best center that lands deep in the bleachers, is rather outstanding, wind or not.

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The pitching victims, for those keeping score: Rick Reuschel (two times), Mike Garman and Paul Reuschel.

Schmidt’s breakout on April 17 might’ve been credited to a couple of elements: the wind burning out at Wrigley, regression to the mean or, perhaps, inspiration after being dropped to 6th in the order. To ask him, that demotion from the 3 area had absolutely nothing to do with it.

“I don’t think it would’ve made any difference where I batted,” he informed SN at the time. “I got a lot of help from Billy (DeMars, a Phillies coach) in practice the day before. Then when the Cubs got so far ahead, I think I just relaxed and went to swinging the bat.”

The pre-game pep talk from Allen assisted, too, Schmidt stated.

“I go to him a lot and so do some of the other players,” he stated. “In fact, I think more of us ought to do it.”

In Spite Of Schmidt’s appreciation, Allen took no credit.

“I didn’t do a thing,” he informed SN later on. “All I told Mike was to go out there and have some fun and let his ability take care of the rest. It’s as simple as that for a player like him.”

Perhaps so, however Schmidt didn’t wish to make excessive of his big day.

“When a batter strikes out four times in a game, they tell him to forget it,” he informed SN. “Well, I’d like to forget about the homers. I want to concentrate on the games ahead. Maybe after the season, I’ll look back and think about it, but not now.”

In Schmidt’s defense, he had other homers to consider– since those four long balls on April 17 set the tone for the next couple of days. Schmidt homered in each of the Phils’ next 3 games, providing him 7 homers in fourgames 9 of Schmidt’s first 13 hits in 1976 were home runs. He ‘d go on to finish with 38 and lead the NL for the 3rd straight season. He likewise led the league with 306 overall bases, put together 8.0 bWAR and ended up 3rd in MVP ballot.

And, undoubtedly, Schmidt wasn’t made with homers after1976 He would lead the league in big flies 5 more times in his profession and finish with 548 en path to the Hall of Popularity.