The Philadelphia Phillies have had seven different pitchers in their 133-season history hit two home runs in a single game.
Those seven pitchers accomplished that feat eight times, with one of the hurlers accomplishing it twice – in the same season. Half of the eight times occurred during the 1970’s.
The first pitcher to homer twice in the same game for the club was Jack Knight, who did it on June 24th, 1926 at the Polo Grounds against the New York Giants in a 12-7 defeat. Unusual about Knight’s effort was that it came as a reliever.
Starting pitcher Claude Willoughby had been rocked for six earned runs over the first inning and a third, and was lifted for Knight. The pitcher almost single-handedly brought the team back to within 8-7 by the top of the 6th inning with his pair of bombs. However, he was also clubbed for a dozen hits and a half-dozen earned runs.
Four seasons later, on July 22nd, 1930 at Baker Bowl, Phil Collins became the first Phillies pitcher to accomplish the feat at home. That afternoon at Baker Bowl, Collins allowed a dozen hits and five earned runs, but he also tossed a complete game as the Phils downed the cross-state rival Pittsburgh Pirates by 11-5.
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It would then be four decades until another Phillies hurler would drill two homers in the same game, and that guy would do it twice within two months. Rick Wise went yard two times on June 23rd, 1971 at brand new Riverfront Stadium in Cincinnati.
But for Wise, that amazingly wasn’t his biggest accomplishment on the day. Not only did the host Reds not get a home run of their own off Wise, they didn’t get a single hit. Wise tossed the Phillies first no-hitter in seven years, since Jim Bunning‘s 1964 Perfect Game.
Two months later, on August 28th, 1971 in the nightcap of a Saturday twi-night doubleheader at Veteran’s Stadium, Wise beat the NL West-leading San Francisco Giants by a 7-3 score. In addition to his two longballs, Wise won his 14th game of the season, striking out 11 in tossing a complete game.
On September 5th, 1976 at Shea Stadium, the Phillies defeated the New York Mets thanks to a 3-1 gem from Larry Christenson. The win was especially important as it halted an eight game losing streak that had whittled the Phils’ lead in the NL East from 15 games all the way down to just 6.5 games. Both of Christenson’s bombs came off one of the best pitchers of that last decade, a then 35-year old Mickey Lolich.
Two years later, on September 30th, 1978, Phillies’ skipper Danny Ozark sent Randy Lerch to the mound at Three Rivers Stadium for a 3pm afternoon start against the rival Pittsburgh Pirates. The Phils led the Bucs by 1 1/2 games with just two to play in the NL East.
Lerch only lasted five innings that afternoon after he allowed the Pirates to score four earned runs in the 1st inning. But a pair of solo homers by Lerch off Pittsburgh starter Don Robinson, one in the top of the 2nd, another in the top of the 4th, got the Phillies back into the game. The Phils would score three in the 6th and four in the 8th, then hold off a 4-run rally in the bottom of the 9th to clinch the division with a 10-8 victory.
It would then be almost a quarter century before another Phillies pitcher would go deep twice in a game. On June 2nd, 2002 at Veteran’s Stadium the Phillies destroyed the Montreal Expos by an 18-3 score. Among the team’s 16 hits that day were a pair of homers from starting pitcher Robert Person.
Two years later, on August 11th, 2004, the feat was accomplished for the most recent time, and the only time at Citizens Bank Park. In a Wednesday afternoon game, the Phils crushed the Colorado Rockies by a 15-4 score, and a pair of homers off the bat of starting pitcher Randy Wolf was one of six by the club that day. Jim Thome also homered twice, and both Jimmy Rollins and a youngster named Chase Utley banged homers.
Those were the eight occurrences in Philadelphia Phillies history where a pitcher not only towed the rubber on the mound for the team, but that pitcher also hit a home run, and did so twice in the game. It could happen again at any time, or no fan alive now may ever see it happen again.