Fresh off of one of the greatest performances in Cleveland Indians history last night by Lonnie Chisenhall (3 hrs, 9 RBI), comes the anniversary of THE greatest home run performance in Cleveland Indians history. On June 10, 1959 Rocky Colavito hit a major league tying record 4 homeruns in 4 at bats vs. the Baltimore Orioles. Colavito was one of the first ever “five tool” players in the MLB at that time period as he was able to hit, throw and run. Hitting homeruns was what Rocky was known for in that time period and it is what the people who grew up cheering for the Cleveland Indians still remember Colavito for to this day.

Rocky Cleveland

Rocky Colavito was the brightest sports star in Cleveland during his 5 years with the Cleveland Indians from his rookie year in 1955 through his eventual trade in 1959. One of the biggest Italian-American sports stars of the 1950s, Rocky was one of the greatest natural talents of all-time. Known for his great throwing arm, as he once threw a ball over Cleveland Stadium’s centerfield wall from home plate, Rocky was a superstar in Cleveland during the late 1950s. Finishing 3rd to Mickey Mantle in MVP voting in 1958 the future was bright for “Rocky” in Cleveland. For younger fans it is hard to draw a full comparison on how important baseball players and baseball in general was to American youth. Baseball was the sport that virtually “EVERY BOY” in America played at the time and it was common for pickup games of baseball to be played the way pickup games of basketball are now played across America. While baseball televised some national games, they were mostly of the Yankees and Cardinals, the two dominant teams of that time period. The hometown team was what most kids knew and the hometown players is who they idolized.

1959 Slump

After an incredible year in 1958 (.303, 41 hrs, 113 RBI) Rocky got off to a rough start in the 1959 baseball season. Entering the game vs. the Baltimore Orioles on 06/10/1959, Rocky had gone in a major slump. With just three hits in his last 28 at bats, and only three homeruns in the last three weeks previously, the pressure was starting to mount on young Colavito. Coupled this with the fact that there were many trade rumors swirling around Colavito, the 1959 had not started like he wanted.

06/10/1959

While every Tribe game at the time was on the radio, very few every made it to television. This game happened to be on local TV in Cleveland, which was rare during this time period. As far as baseball parks go, the old Memorial Stadium was a pitcher’s paradise as its 385 ft. gaps swallowed up many balls that would be homeruns in other stadiums around the league. While the footage of Rocky’s 4 homerun game is not available, below is a clip of Rocky and his interview with host David Spada. Rocky speaks of this epic game on 06/10/1959