Rangers' Josh Hamilton adds to legacy by going where Ruth and Mantle never did

By Tim Cowlishaw
The Dallas Morning News
May 9, 2012

BALTIMORE, MD - MAY 8: Josh Hamilton #10 of the Texas Rangers hits a home run in the ninth inning during a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on May 8, 2012 in Baltimore, Maryland. Hamilton hit four home runs during the game to become the 16th player in MLB history to make the accomplishment. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)

Beyond Belief is the title of Josh Hamilton's book. It was written in 2008. He just keeps adding new chapters.

The Ranger slugger, who seemingly never does anything in life halfway, etched his name alongside 15 others for the absolute coolest single-game record in sports. Really is there anything better than the four home run game?

For pitchers, the perfect game actually happens slightly more often. Football has 250-yard rushing games or 500-yard passing days, but there's not a distinct number that defines those great players the way a four-homer game identifies a hitter. In basketball, there is Wilt Chamberlain's 100-point game, likely never to be duplicated. The rest are just guys with a bunch of points.

"I've always wanted to get three in a game,'' Hamilton said in a postgame TV interview. "I'd never done that. To get four is a blessing from above.''

The home runs came in a 10-3 win at Baltimore, where the Rangers have scored 24 runs in two nights. To Orioles skipper Buck Showalter, it just feels like Hamilton has driven in all 24 runs.

Leave it to Josh to make certain that a four home run night -- the first ever by a Ranger -- wasn't all that he managed. Throw in the fifth-inning double, and Hamilton's 18 total bases are an American League record.

When you start breaking marks that have been kept for more than a century, that establishes that you have gone where Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, Reggie Jackson and every other AL slugger never did, you're carving out your own place in baseball history.

Hamilton, with his regular-season MVP and home run derby and postseason heroics, just keeps adding to his legacy.

There is simply no hyperbole involved when you speak of Hamilton and you talk of things "beyond belief." Tuesday night at Camden Yards provided the latest but surely not the last.