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   On a sunny day in June 6th, 1939, the 20-24 New York Giants walked out onto the field to play the 20-15 Cincinnati Reds. The game was being held in the Polo grounds, the Reds were in first place, The Giants were in sixth, and Johnny Vander Meer was about to face Mario Salvo, Cincinnati would end up doing very well that day. They had eleven hits, with Billy Werber getting four of them, and Lonnie Frey and first baseman, Frank McCormick both going 2-4.

   However the Giants did better. Getting six singles off Vander Meer in 2/3 of an inning they ended collecting a total of twenty base hit’s for the whole game. JoJo Moore, Zeke Bonura and Frank Demaree all went 3-4, and Harry Danning, Burgess Whitehead, and pitcher Salvo had two hits apiece. But all of that didn’t matter. What brought that game into baseball history was the incredible fourth inning!

   It started out innocently enough. Peaches Davis, who had relieved Vander Meer, retired both Moore and Billy Jurgess for the first two outs. Harry “The Horse” Danning then got up to the plate and proceeded to hit a homerun into the lower center field stands. He was to end up getting two hits and two RBIs in the game. Then Mel Ott proceeded to walk, Bonura singled, and that brought up Frank Demaree to the plate. There was a brisk wind blowing out of the Stadium and Demaree hit a fly ball that carried into right center. Homerun number two. Cincinnati manager Bill McKechnie came out to the mound and conferred with Davis and catcher Lombardi. Deciding he had seen enough, he motioned in Wesley Livingood from the bullpen. This was an interesting move because up to this point Livingood had just been a batting practice pitcher. Evnts would prove that he still was! He walked Tony Lazarri and then faced Burgess “Whitey” Whitehead at the plate. Whitehead, who was not a homerun threat, poked homerun number three unto the stands. Well that should have been the end to all this because pitcher Salvo then stepped up to bat. No hitter at all, Salvo hit a walloping blow off the rightfield fence and Ival Goodman let it carom away from him. Not only was Salvo not a hitter, he wasn’t much of a runner either. Today though he was both. Getting speed from some mysterious source, Mario circled the bases for an inside the park homerun.  That was homer number four. JoJo Moore, who had already hit a homerun in the second inning, hit another one for the fifth and final round tripper in the frame. Livingood the batting practice pitcher , had been true to form. All three of the hits he gave up were homeruns.

   All in all the Giants had 43 total bases on 20 base hits. The five homeruns in one inning broke the old mark of four which was accomplished by Pittsburgh in 1894. One radio listener couldn’t believe what was going on in that fourth inning and called the press box to verify what he was listening too.

   In the next two installments here I’ll be interviewing both Harry Danning and Whitey Whitehead who were part of that homer barrage. We’ll not only talk about their careers but get their reactions to that inning as well.



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