Red Sox: Blasts from the Past

May 29, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Boston Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts (50) hits a single during the ninth inning in a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. The Red Sox won 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
May 29, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Boston Red Sox right fielder Mookie Betts (50) hits a single during the ninth inning in a game against the Toronto Blue Jays at Rogers Centre. The Red Sox won 5-3. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports /

Mookie Betts joined 21 other Red Sox players whom have hit three home runs in a single game. Who, exactly, are these guys?

Mookie Betts’ outstanding performance at the plate Tuesday night indelibly etched his prominent placement in the rich history of one of baseballs most storied franchises, as he became only the 22nd player in Boston Red Sox history to hit three home runs in a game, the 27th occurrence of such a feat.

However, rendering Betts’ achievement even more inimitable is that he is the first hitter in Red Sox history to accomplish this exploit from the lead-off position in the batting order. In fact, in the entire history of Major League Baseball, a lead-off hitter has hit three HRs in a contest on only twenty-two distinct instances, and, for proper perspective, said value is one less than the quantity of perfect games thrown throughout that identical period.

Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports
Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports /

Betts’ prolific and historic exhibition of power provided the impetus for a stroll down memory lane, as my curiosity was piqued with respect to those members of the Red Sox’s “Trifecta” club that Betts would be joining. My research revealed the twenty-one other players to accomplish said achievement and the litany of names includes players of all varieties, active and retired, familiar and unfamiliar, Hall-of-Famers and journeymen, recent and historic. Although I proceed to list all players who accomplished the “Trifecta” in a Red Sox uniform towards the conclusion of the article, I thought that it would prove more thought-provoking to provide interesting, and somewhat amazing, information about the twenty-one other constituent members to whom Betts is forever linked.

Of the twenty-two players whom have hit three home runs in a single game, while representing the Red Sox organization, four players have reached this plateau multiple times; Jim Rice, Nomar Garciaparra, and Mo Vaughn have reached it on two occasions, while Ted Williams maintains exclusivity as the only Red Sox player to reach said milestone on three distinct instances.

The first Red Sox player to be granted membership into the three HR club was Jim Tabor, on July 4, 1939 vs. the Philadelphia Athletics, while the club’s most recent member, excluding Betts, was Will Middlebrooks on April 7, 2013, in a 13-0 bludgeoning of the Toronto Blue Jays. The youngest player to accomplish the feat was Joe Lahoud on June 11, 1969, at the tender age of 22 years, and nearly 2 months, while the oldest to accomplish the feat, for a club-record third time, was Theodore Samuel Williams, nearly two months shy of his 39th birthday, on June 13, 1957. 

More from BoSox Injection

1999 and 1957 endure as the only two years in which a Red Sox player has hit three home runs in a contest on two separate occasions. In 1957, Ted Williams accomplished this feat on May 8 and June 13, while in 1999, Nomar Garciaparra went deep three times on May 10, and Trot Nixon followed suit on July 24.

Jim Rice, as mentioned earlier, reached this historic plateau twice, and both instances occurred on exactly the same day, August 29, precisely 6 years apart, in 1977 and 1983! Nomar’s encore performance on July 23, 2002, occurred on his 29th birthday, the only instance in Red Sox history when the feat was accomplished on the hitter’s birthday!

More from Red Sox History

The twenty-two members of the assemblage will be listed chronologically by decade. As previously mentioned, Jim Tabor was the founding member in 1939, in the 1940s, Ted Williams became a member, and in the 1950s, the club added Bobby Doerr, Clyde Vollmer, and Norm Zauchin. In the 1960s, Ken Harrelson and Joe Lahoed earned their stripes, while the 1970s saw Fred Lynn, Carl Yastrzemski, and Jim Rice join the party. The 1990s added Tom Brunansky, Jack Clark, John Valentin, Mo Vaughn, Nomar Garciaparra, and Trot Nixon, while after the turn of the millennium, the club welcomed Jason Varitek, Bill Mueller, Kevin Millar, Dustin Pedroia, Will Middlebrooks, and, of course, Mookie Betts.

Toronto, Cleveland, and Detroit are tied with being on the business end of the 27 games, three times apiece, and, as might be expected, the Red Sox have performed admirably in the 27 games, sporting a record of 25-2, with both losses occurring while on the losing end of an 8-7 contest.

Next: Red Sox Strut: Xander Bogaerts and Steven Wright Wow Us

I hope everyone has enjoyed this excursion down memory lane and I leave all with one interesting factoid; in two of the last three championship years, 2004, and 2013, the Red Sox have had a player erupt for three home runs in a single game. Here’s to three out of four.