The year was 2002. Tom Brady won his first Super Bowl, as the Patriots knocked off Kurt Warner and the Rams 20-17. Maryland, led by Juan Dixon and Lonny Baxter, beat Indiana to win the NCAA Men’s Basketball National Championship. On June 29, Dick Cheney was the acting President for several hours while George W. Bush underwent a colonoscopy.
Then, on July 2, Major League Baseball had a single day that has never been matched since then.
Fifty-three players combined to hit a record 62 home runs in one day. The previous record was 57, set on April 7, 2000. The day included the Chicago White Sox beating the Detroit Tigers 17-9 in a game which tied the MLB record with 12 home runs in a single game.
Here are the highlights from one of the most exciting days in baseball history:
Numbers 1 and 2:
Indians right fielder Matt Lawton leads off the game with a home run facing the Yankees’ Roger Clemens. Later that same inning, Jim Thome hits his 25th home run of the season. Cleveland would eventually lose to New York 10-5.
Rafael Palmeiro hit his 18th of the season in Texas’ 3-1 win over Tampa Bay
Numbers 15 through 19:
Magglio Ordonez and Sandy Alomar both hit two home runs in the White Sox 17-9 win over the Detroit Tigers
Numbers 26 through 28:
Raul Ibanez hits two, and Mike Sweeney adds his 16th of the season as the Kansas City Royals knock off the league leading Seattle Mariners 7-5.
In front of 9,669 people, Sammy Sosa hits his league-leading 28th home run, but the Cubs lose to the Florida Marlins 9-7.
Numbers 42 and 43:
Houston Astros’ Lance Berkman hits his 27th home run in the first inning, then ties the league lead with his 28th in the third inning. Houston beats the Cincinnati Reds 6-5 in 10 innings.
Numbers 48 through 50:
Placido Polanco, Jim Edmonds, and Albert Pujols homer back-to-back-to-back with two outs in the second inning. St. Louis never looked back and beat San Diego 11-5.
Numbers 53 through 59:
Three different San Francisco batters hit two home runs each in an 18-5 win over the Colorado Rockies. The game featured 10 home runs, none of which were hit by eventual 2002 NL MVP Barry Bonds.
Up 7-0 in the top of the ninth inning, Dodgers first baseman Eric Karros hits a two-out home run to left field to seal Los Angeles’ win over the Arizona Diamondbacks.
No day in baseball history has been able to match the home run total. Only one of the 16 games played this day did not feature a long ball; that was Toronto versus Boston in the first game of a double-header. The closest we’ve been to that total was the 52 home runs hit last year on May 14th.
It took to double-digit home run games, and a few home run legends to accomplish the feat of 62. It’s one MLB record that may never be beaten again, and it all happened on one regular day in July of 2002.