Perfection. When we talk about it in baseball the term is generally used to describe a pitcher’s performance. While this is just and reasonable (perfect games are exactly that, perfect) the truth is that it can also be used as a description of a historic night for a hitter. Of course this is rare, but what Texas Rangers centerfielder Josh Hamilton did on Tuesday can only be explained in terms of perfection.
Five at-bats, four homeruns, a double and eight runs batted in–that is what Josh Hamilton did. Those in attendance at Camden Yards were not expecting to witness history, but 1,621 feet of homeruns later Hamilton proved them to be wrong.
This performance only perpetuates the already epic story that is Josh Hamilton. A former can’t-miss prospect and number one draft pick, Hamilton fell into the abyss of drug use and alcoholism before ever setting foot on a major league field. With his career left for dead by the rest of the league, Hamilton got back on the road to baseball by getting clean on his own. Eight years after getting drafted Hamilton finally made it to the big leagues, making his debut for the Cincinnati Reds in 2007. It was a heartwarming tale of redemption, but turned into a full blown movie script after he was traded to the Rangers the following year.
Named to the All-Star team in his second season, Hamilton rocked Yankee Stadium for a record breaking 28 homeruns in the first round of the 2008 Home Run Derby. Two years later Hamilton batted .359 to claim the batting title, while also being named AL MVP. With the Rangers reaching the World Series each of the last two seasons, it seemed as if Hamilton had finally had worked through his past.
But this offseason Hamilton experienced a relapse. It was discovered that he had been drinking alone at a bar, and the beginning of the 2012 season came with caution for many baseball fans, who wondered if the stardom had brought too much pressure upon the troubled slugger.
His response, a .406 batting average with 14 homeruns and 36 RBI in the first 27 games, instigating not only talks of another Rangers World Series appearance but also Triple Crown implications as well.
That is what makes this four homerun game even more fascinating–he didn’t need it. Hamilton was already showing the baseball world that he was back and better than ever, but now his stardom has reached into the highest stratosphere.
Baseball is known for its abundance of “Clubs”: The 500 Homerun Club, The 3000 Hit Club, The 300 Win Club, etc. While these clubs are prestigious in many ways because of their small membership, few compare to the club of perfection. Just 21 pitchers have ever thrown a perfect game, and with his performance Josh Hamilton became just the 16th player to hit four homeruns in a game.
Congrats, Mr. Hamilton. We are all looking forward to the next scene.