Texas Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre became the sixth man to hit three home runs in a post season game on Tuesday. He joined New York Yankee sluggers Babe Ruth (twice) and Reggie Jackson, Kansas City Royal George Brett and Anaheim Angel Adam Kennedy as American Leaguers who have done this. Who is the only National League player to do it? Bob Robertson of the Pittsburgh Pirates did it on October 3, 1971.
The Pirates of the 1970’s were known as The Lumber Company. The ’71 team boasted outfielders Roberto Clemente, Willie Stargell and Al Oliver. Robertson played first, Richie Hebner third and Manny Sanguillen was the catcher. As a team the Pirates batted .274. Stargell led the club with 48 home runs and Roberts was second with 26.
In game 2 of the 1971 National League Championship Series, the Pirates defeated the San Francisco Giants 9-4 at Candlestick Park. Pittsburgh hit four home runs off of Giants pitching that day with Gene Cline hitting one and Roberts the other three. Batting fifth behind Stargell and ahead of Sanguillen, Roberts hit his home runs off of three different pitchers.
With the Pirates trailing 2-1 in the fourth, Roberts hit a solo home run off of John Cumberland to tie the score. With the Pirates ahead 4-2 in the seventh he hit a three run blast off of Ron Bryant to break open the gamE. Roberts finished the day by hitting a solo shot off of Ron Bryant in the top of the ninth.
For the day, Roberts went four for five with three home runs, a double, five runs batted in and four runs scored. Hitting three home runs in Candlestick Park was no small feat. The ballpark was notorious for its deep fences and gusting winds which cut down balls in flight.
Roberts hit his three home runs one day after his 25th birthday. It was a heck of a way to celebrate.
He and the Pirates would do much more celebrating as they went on to beat the Giants in four games then defeated the Baltimore Orioles in the World Series.
On October 3, 1971 four hall of fame players took the field at Candlestick. They were Clemente and Stragell of the Pirates and Willie Mays and Willie McCovey of the Giants.
For one day they were outshone by Bob Robertson.