Baseball History: Ken Brett Blasted Four Home Runs in 1973

ken brett 1973The American League adopted the designated hitter rule in 1973.

The good news for Ken Brett was that the National League did not. Brett had a lifetime batting average of .262 with 10 home runs in his 14-year career.

With eight home runs in eight contests, Dale Long of the Pittsburgh Pirates established the major league record for the most consecutive games with a long ball in 1956.

Don Mattingly of the New York Yankees would duplicate the mark in 1987. Ken Griffey, Jr., also did it with the Seattle Mariners in 1993.

Brett, whose younger brother George is a member of the National Baseball Hall of Fame, had his own home run derby in 1973 that would take 15 days to complete.

Hitting a homer in four straight starts from June 9 to June 23, Brett became the only pitcher to accomplish that feat in the major leagues. The four blasts were the only hits Brett would have during the stretch.

Here is the list of the pitchers that Brett took deep:
June 9: Bill Greif in 4-1 win over the San Diego Padres.
June 13: Charlie Hough in 16-3 win over the Los Angeles Dodgers.
June 18: Ray Sadecki in 9-6 win over the New York Mets.
June 23: Tom Walker in 7-2 win at the Montreal Expos.

ken brett 1974Also the winning pitcher in all four contests, Brett would finish the season with a 13-9 record. Acquired in a trade with the Milwaukee Brewers prior to the 1973 season, Brett spent just a year with the Phillies.

Before the 1974 season, Brett was shipped to Pittsburgh for Dave Cash. That year, he put together another 13-9 season and made the NL All-Star Team. Brett returned to the post-season as the Pirates won the East Division and eventually lost to the Dodgers in the NL Championship Series.

Brett’s initial trip to the post-season was in 1967 when he was an 18-year old rookie for the Boston Red Sox. Drafted the year before, he pitched in two games in the World Series against the St. Louis Cardinals, who on the title that year.

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