So Josh Hamilton went absolutely berserk last night, 5-5 with 4 HRs to become just the 16th dude in MLB history to hit 4 bombs in a game. And this stirred up a bit of debate throughout the interweb regarding the difficulty of tossing perfect games. A lot of people were throwing out the stat that there’s only been 16 guys to hit 4 home runs in a game versus 21 perfect games. Therefore its more rare and in turn, more difficult.
I debated this all last night. Went back and forth and convinced myself of both cases like 10 times. Its one of the harder questions out there I think. First off, I think a lot of people are confusing rarity with difficulty. Like yes, only 16 guys have hit home runs while 21 have pitched a perfect game. I don’t think that means its more difficult to go out there and put 4 swings into a ball than it is to go out 9 straight innings and get 21 outs. I’d say its infinitely more grueling and taxing to keep you focus and make pitch after pitch after pitch to go 27 up, 27 down.
I also think it takes more luck to hit 4 home runs, which again I don’t think translates into more difficult. Obviously it takes a ton of luck for a perfect game as well – as evidenced by how some bum like Humber can toss one. But by the same token Mike fuckin Cameron has hit 4 HRs in a game, so there’s no doubt theres a crapshoot element to that feat as well. Its more lucky in the sense that chances are you’re only gonna get 4 at bats in a game. I mean you step up to the plate in the first inning and the pitcher loses one and drills you and in all likelihood there goes your chances to hit 4 dingers. Or more likely, you’ve hit 3 bombs and obviously most pitchers with a brain are pitching around you. Don’t even get the opportunity.
But then I say to myself, because of the rarity element and the luck element and the fact that baseball is just about the most variable sport out there, maybe it is hitting 4 bombs. All that, round bat on a round ball, game of inches, wind blowing in/out, varying ball parks etc etc. Maybe it takes an even more exceptional day of hitting to over come all those factors working against you. At the end of the day though, I still say pitching 9 innings of perfect baseball is a more physically and mentally difficult task than 4 home runs. It might not be as rare and it might not take as much luck, but its the more difficult accomplishment.
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