Three Home Runs By McGehee Inspires A Look At 1942

The Cardinals and Brewers have been locked in a fight for first place. Two teams squared off in a sometimes heated, highly competitive series that came to a close on Wednesday night. In this series, Casey McGehee would show up to play.

McGehee

McGehee, who has struggled to regain his team leading RBI stroke from 2010 this season, seems to be finding his stroke as this season goes on. In the three game series with the Cardinals, he would go 7-for-14 hitting three home runs, compiling 16 total bases and five runs batted in. That is an impressive series but more impressive was his game on Wednesday night.

McGehee would get all of his home runs and runs batted in for the series in the final game. A three home run, five run batted in game seems to have the Brewers third baseman all over the television and rightly so. As I did the research for the article about this rare feat what I found was it was not all that rare. Impressive? You betcha. Fairly common? That’s right. In fact, it has been done nearly 500 times by almost 400 different players. What I uncovered was something not so common. So, in tribute to our own Bob Netherton, here is a look at a game from the past inspired by the game of today.

May 13, 1942 – Boston

In an early season game, the Boston Braves would square off with the Chicago Cubs at Braves Field in front of a crowd of 3,443.

The Cubbies would jump out to an early 2-0 lead over the Casey Stengel led Braves just to watch Boston chip away and tie the game up in the bottom of the fifth when Jim Tobin would hit a solo shot off of Cubs hurler Jake Mooty. Cubs right fielder Bill Nicholson would drive a two-run shot out of the park in the top of the sixth, putting his team back ahead 4-2, though only momentarily.

The bottom of the seventh would bring a pair of solo home runs for the Braves, one from shortstop Eddie Miller and Tobin’s second of the day, to tie the game back up at four. The historic moment would come in the bottom of the eighth as the Cubs would turn to their bullpen and Hi Bithorn would surrender Tobin’s third home run of the game, this one a two run shot, to put the Braves ahead 6-4.

The Cubs would get a run of their own in the ninth, but fall short from a comeback and lose the game 6-5. Jim Tobin would end the day going three-for-four with three home runs and four runs batted in.

While the Brewers third baseman hitting three home runs and driving in five is not newsworthy, this game from almost seventy years ago is worth mentioning as a record setting game. It was not the first game in which a player would hit three home runs, this game was unique for a completely different reason.

Jim Tobin was the starting pitcher for the Boston Braves that day. He would pitch nine innings, surrender five runs (three earned) off of five hits and three walks while striking out no Cubs.

Tobin would enjoy a nine year career from 1937-1945, ending his career as a Detroit Tiger. He would compile a record of 105-112 and post a career earned run average of 3.44. He would also hit 15 home runs and 97 runs batted in over the course of his career. In 1944, after mastering the knuckle ball, he would throw two no-hitters, one of which was a five inning game.

On this day in 1942, he would become the first pitcher to hit three home runs in one game in the modern era, a record that still stands today.

Bill Ivie is the editor here at I-70 Baseball as well as the Assignment Editor for BaseballDigest.com.
He is the host of I-70 Radio, hosted every week on BlogTalkRadio.com.
Follow him on Twitter here.

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