1961 Topps Hank Aaron

50 years ago today: Braves become first team to hit four straight homers

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June 8, 1961

Eddie Mathews, Hank Aaron, Joe Adcock and Frank Thomas hit back-to-back-to-back-to-back homers for the Milwaukee Braves in the sixth inning of a game against the Reds.  It’s the first time in major league history that the feat has been pulled off, but the Braves go on to lose the game 10-8 anyway.

The Reds were up 10-2 at the start of the barrage.  Frank Bolling led off the top of the seventh with a single of Jim Maloney before Mathews kicked it off.  Maloney was pulled after Aaron’s homer made it 10-5.  Marshall Bridges came in and gave up two more homers before Joe Torre grounded out to end the streak.

The Braves went on to score one more run in the eighth on another Mathews homer, but they couldn’t keep it going from there.

Since the Braves did it, six other teams have hit four consecutive homers in games.  It happened two more times in the early-60s with the Indians in 1963 and the Twins in 1964, then never again for 40 years.

Next to do it were the Dodgers in 2006, pulling off a famous comeback against the Padres’ Trevor Hoffman in the ninth before winning in the 10th.  The Red Sox did it just a few months later in April 2007 against the Yankees’ Chase Wright.  J.D. Drew, who left the Dodgers to join Boston the previous winter, actually homered in both of those streaks.

Since then, both the 2008 White Sox and 2010 Diamondbacks have done it.

The 1961 Braves went on to finish the season 83-71, giving them the fourth-best record in the NL. They were first with 188 homers.  Adcock actually led the team with 35, one more than Aaron and three more than Mathews.  Thomas finished with 25.

Jake Peavy is having a bad go of things right now

SAN FRANCISCO, CA - MAY 25: Jake Peavy #22 of the San Francisco Giants pitches against the San Diego Padres during the first inning at AT&T Park on May 25, 2016 in San Francisco, California.  (Photo by Jason O. Watson/Getty Images)
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Veteran hurler Jake Peavy has not signed with a team. It’s not because he’s not still capable of being a useful pitcher — he’s well-regarded and someone would likely take a late-career chance on him — and it’s not because he no longer wishes to play. Rather, it’s because a bunch of bad things have happened in his personal life lately.

As Jerry Crasnick of ESPN reports, last year Peavy lost millions in an investment scam and spent much of the 2016 season distracted, dealing with investigations and depositions and all of the awfulness that accompanied it. Then, when the season ended, Peavy went home and was greeted with divorce papers. He has spent the offseason trying to find a new normal for himself and for his four sons.

Pitching is taking a backseat now, but Peavy plans to pitch again. Here’s hoping that things get sorted to the point where he can carry through with those plans.

The AT&T Park mortgage is paid off

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This is fun: The San Francisco Giants recently made their last payment on the $170 million, 20-year loan they obtained to finance the construction of AT&T Park. The joint is now officially paid for.

The Giants, unlike most other teams which moved into new stadiums in the past 25 years or so, did not rely on direct public financing. They tried to get it for years, of course, but when the voters, the city of San Francisco and the State of California said no, they decided to pay for it themselves. They ended up with one of baseball’s best-loved and most beautiful parks and, contrary to what the owners who desperately seek public funds will have you believe, they were not harmed competitively speaking. Indeed, rumor has it that they have won three World Series, four pennants and have made the playoffs seven times since moving into the place in 2000. They sell out routinely now too and the Giants are one of the richest teams in the sport.

Now, to be clear, the Giants are not — contrary to what some people will tell you — some Randian example of self-reliance. They did not receive direct public money to build the park, but they did get a lot of breaks. The park sits on city-owned property in what has become some of the most valuable real estate in the country. If the city had held on to that land and realized its appreciation, they could flip it to developers for far more than the revenue generated by baseball. Or, heaven forfend, use it for some other public good. The Giants likewise received some heavy tax abatements, got some extraordinarily beneficial infrastructure upgrades and require some heavy city services to operate their business. All sports stadiums, even the ones privately constructed, represent tradeoffs for the public.

Still, AT&T Park represents a better model than most sports facilities do. I mean, ask how St. Louis feels about still paying for the place the Rams used to call home before taking off for California. Ask how taxpayers in Atlanta and Arlington, Texas feel about paying for their second stadium in roughly the same time the Giants have paid off their first.