July 31, 1963 – Back-to-Back-to-Back-to-Back Home Runs
The Angels and Indians were both in the basement of the American League in 1963. So, it is no wonder that only 7,822 turned the turnstiles on the Lakefront to see the second half of a Wednesday double-header. However, those few faithful fans witnessed something that has not occurred in Indians history before or since.
The Angels jumped out to an early 1-0 lead when first baseman Lee Thomas took Pedro Ramos deep for a two-out solo home run in the top of the first.
In the bottom of the third, Ramos helped out his own cause with a solo home run of his own which evened the score.
Back at the top of the order, Tito Francona singled, followed by another single from Larry Brown. With runners at the corners, Willie Kirkland walked to load the bases. The Angels had seen enough from starter Eli Grba and brought Don Lee in from the bullpen. Lee struck out Max Alvis and appeared to be out to a strong start, until Fred Whitfield rocked a home run into the upper deck in right field to put the Tribe ahead 5-1.
Ramos tallied ten strikeouts through the first six innings, keeping the Angels to just the one early run.
Reliever Paul Foytack had pitched the bottom of the fifth and returned for the sixth. He struck out catcher Joe Azcue and Al Luplow flied to right. The two-out magic returned for the Tribe as Woodie Held homered to deep left. Pedro Ramos stepped in and homered to left for the second time in the game. Tito Francona followed with a third straight homer to right. Finally, rookie second baseman Larry Brown got his first homer in the majors for back-to-back-to-back-to-back long balls.
Foytack later remarked, “I was trying to brush [Brown] back. It shows you I didn’t know where my pitches were going.”
Ramos gave up four runs on four hits in the top of the seventh, but otherwise the Indians were content to cruise to a 9-5 victory and a place in trivia history.
Only one team had ever hit back-to-back-to-back-to-back homers before. In 1961 Eddie Mathews, Hank Aaron, Joe Adcock, and Frank Thomas did it for the Boston Braves. The Indians were the first to complete the streak off a single pitcher. The feat has been repeated seven times since, most recently by the Nationals in 2019.