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.

Josh Johnson retires from baseball

PEORIA, AZ - FEBRUARY 21: Josh Johnson #55 of the San Diego Padres poses during Picture Day on February 21, 2014 at the Peoria Sports Complex in Peoria, Arizona. (Photo by Mike McGinnis/Getty Images)
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Oft-injured pitcher Josh Johnson is retiring from baseball, ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick is reporting.

Johnson, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2013. The right-hander underwent his third Tommy John surgery in September 2015 but wasn’t able to bounce back.

Johnson spent most of his career with the Marlins, but also pitched for the Blue Jays in the big leagues, as well as the Padres in the minors. He retires with a career 3.40 ERA, 915 strikeouts across 998 innings in the majors, and two All-Star nominations. Johnson led the National League with a 2.30 ERA in 2010, finishing fifth in NL Cy Young Award balloting. One wonders what he could have accomplished if he was able to stay healthy.

Report: Angels close to a multi-year deal with Luis Valbuena

HOUSTON, TX - JULY 08:  Luis Valbuena #18 of the Houston Astros hits a three run walkoff home run in the ninth inning to defeat the Oakland Athletics 10-9 at Minute Maid Park on July 8, 2016 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
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The Angels are nearing a multi-year deal with free agent third baseman Luis Valbuena, Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register reports. It’s believed to be a two-year contract with a third-year option.

Valbuena, 31, hit .260/.357/.459 with 13 home runs and 40 RBI in 342 plate appearances in 2016. He missed most of the second half with a hamstring injury, for which he underwent surgery in late August.

Valbuena has played a majority of his career at third base, but also has extensive experience at second base and has racked up innings at first base and shortstop as well. He won’t play every day for the Angels, as Yunel Escobar lays claim to third base and C.J. Cron first base, but he will give them flexibility and a left-handed bat off the bench.