09/25/2003 11:38 PM ET
Delgado's homers power win
By Spencer Fordin / MLB.com
TORONTO -- Carlos Delgado stamped his name on the game Thursday night, showing off his prodigious power in a historic night at SkyDome. In his first at-bat, Delgado became just the 98th player in league history to club 300 home runs. Seemingly unsatisfied, he celebrated by stroking three more in his next three at-bats.
"That's the kind of fireworks I'm talking about right there," said Toronto manager Carlos Tosca after his team's 10-8 win. "The fans are going to leave tonight having seen a tremendous feat that's only been done a handful of times in the history of the game. It's certainly the most amazing exhibition I've ever seen on a baseball field."
Delgado was just as enthusiastic, with good reason. Four homers in one game is an incredible accomplishment: It's only happened 15 times in baseball history, five times in the American League.
What's more, Delgado did it in just four at-bats. That's only happened six times, and the slugger knew exactly how rare it was.
"I can't believe it's happening. I don't know what I'm doing," he said, understandably disoriented. "It was a great day and I enjoyed it. I can't think of any other way to explain it. It seems like everything you hit goes up in the air and goes out. I wish I could do it more often."
It truly was an amazing night, and Delgado set a number of statistical standards. He finished with six RBIs, a career-high total, which gave him 141 for the season. That also set a new career high, as well as a new single-season record for Toronto. The first baseman set the previous mark -- 137 in 2000 -- and also owns the team's career records in homers (303), RBIs (955) and runs scored (814).
"I'm not huge for numbers, but 300 looks a lot better than 299. And counting, hopefully," he said. "I'm not going to try to analyze this or anything. I'm just going to take it for what it is, enjoy it and come back to play tomorrow."
Delgado may not have wanted to break it all down, but several of his co-workers were more than happy to do so for him. J.P. Ricciardi, Toronto's general manager, had a profound way of putting things in perspective.
"Today I was a fan. I just watched like everybody else," he said. "We watched history -- it's amazing. Anybody, whether they're a general manager or a coach or whatever, puts their fan hat on at that point. You're just in awe, watching a performance that you know you'll probably never see again."
"I think in the dugout, pretty much everyone was just in awe," said Vernon Wells, Toronto's center fielder. "Once he got [in the clubhouse], we gave him a champagne bath. What he did -- that's something you hardly ever see. I mean, it probably won't even hit him until a little later."
Toronto needed every one of Delgado's homers to stay in the game. His first shot gave the Blue Jays their first lead, and two of his final three tied the game. Still, it took a late rally to seal the final score. In the eighth inning, after the first baseman made history with his final round-tripper, Toronto notched two more runs to win the game.
Delgado has three more souvenirs to add to the mantle. The only exception, his third homer of the game, went into SkyDome's second deck. The two historic shots -- the first and the fourth -- hit the glass facing of the Windows restaurant and bounced back onto the playing surface. After the last shot, Delgado tossed his bat and rounded the bases with a huge grin stretched across his face.
"It was a great day and I enjoyed it. I can't think of any other way to explain it. It seems like everything you hit goes up in the air and goes out. I wish I could do it more often."
-- Carlos Delgado
"I was pretty fired up. I'm not going to lie to you, as you can tell with the bat flip," he said. "I didn't know what I was doing. I was on cloud nine out there, and I was enjoying it."
The big day at the plate may have, improbably, thrust him right back into the race for the AL MVP Award. Delgado was a trendy first-half favorite, but he fell off after the All-Star break. Now, with a historic game to hang his hat on, he may have emerged from one of the most tightly-packed fields in recent memory.
"I don't think he was ever out of the race," Tosca said. "His numbers are as good as anyone's in the league. I certainly think both he and Vernon deserve a good deal of consideration for the award."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.