It was 52 years ago today (June 10, 1959), yes, 52 years ago, in which Rocky Colavito hit four home runs in one game for the Cleveland Indians against the Baltimore Orioles at old Memorial Stadium.
I was about to become 8 years old two days later. I lived in Dover, Ohio at the time and could go back to the house and the same room and relive that evening I spent with my dad watching the game on television. Back in the old days, it was an event to watch an away game on TV because the televised schedules were very limited.
It became a very special evening as Colavito knocked four straight out of the park on a hot, humid night in Baltimore. I was also treated to a sip, or two, of what would become my icon beer later in my teen years — Carling Black Label. Yes, it was all in fun having a sip of the cold stuff.
At any rate, Colavito is one of 15 players in Major League history to hit four homers in one game. The last to do it was Carlos Delgado in 2003. Some observers of MLB think it is one of the greatest feats a player can accomplish.
Colavito was a Cleveland icon. Suddenly, Indians GM Frank “Trader” Lane sent him off to Detroit just prior to the start of the 1960 season for 1959 batting champion Harvey Kuenn, who did nothing for the Indians while Colavito continued to flourish. We were devastated in Cleveland and it really became what was known as the “Curse of Rocky Colavito” as the Indians floundered for many years until winning a pennant in 1995. The “curse” had finally been lifted, but I’ll guarantee you Frank Lane was never forgiven.
Colavito eventually went on to Kansas City before he finally returned to the Indians in 1965 and 1966, only to be shuffled off to the White Sox in 1967.
In my mind he belongs in the Hall of Fame.
When my daughter got her first puppy, I even convinced her to name him “Rocky.”
Never forgotten, especially on June 10.