There is a certain romanticism in the way we see the figure of the switch hitter in baseball. The talent to be able to hit Major League pitchers from both sides of the plate is hard to find, and when you do get it, it’s a real treasure, particularly in this day and age when teams tend to alternate their chips so much depending on which side they hit from. or the opposing pitcher’s hand.
Sure, there are switch hitters. And then there are those switch-hitting sluggers capable of doing a lot of damage to both lefties and righties. With special thanks to the Elias Sports Bureau, here’s a look at the players with the most games homering from both sides of the plate (note that the active leader in that category is José Ramírez, with six).
Teixeira is fifth all-time among switch-hitters with 409 home runs. The first game in which he served balls left and right was on July 4, 2004, when he hit an eighth-inning solo shot to right and a ninth-inning grand slam to left during an 18-inning blowout. 3 that his Rangers gave to the Astros.
Most of the games in which Teixeira homered from both boxes occurred between 2008 and 2011, a span in which he accomplished that feat nine times. Of the 14 games in which he dribbled it with both hands, Teixeira hit three home runs three times.
While Teixeira achieved this rarity with three different teams (Rangers, Braves and Yankees), Swisher achieved it for five different clubs, tied for the most. He did it five times with the A’s, five with the Yankees, twice with the White Sox and once for the Braves and Cleveland. The only other player to dribble it from both sides of the plate in the same five-team game is the next name on this list.
Swisher shares the American League record for most home runs in a single season from both sides of the plate with Tony Clark with three, once in 2007 and once in 2009.
Beltrán’s 435 home runs are the third most among switch sluggers in MLB history. The first time he dropped it from every home plate in a game was on June 29, 2000, when he hit a pair of solo shots for the Royals against Cleveland at Kauffman Stadium. His last was for the Yankees, when he homered to left and right against the Tigers at Yankee Stadium on June 20, 2015. In between, he did it once more for Kansas City, once with the Astros, five times. with the Mets and three with the Cardinals for a total of five teams.
Interestingly, for all of his postseason success — 16 homers in 65 games in October — Beltran never had a playoff matchup in which he took the fence from either side of the plate.
Mickey Mantle is the only switch-hitter with more home runs than Murray’s 504. Eight of the 12 games in which Murray homered as both a lefty and a righty were for the Orioles. The first was on August 3, 1977, against the A’s in Oakland. The last would come 17 years later, when at age 38 he drove in five runs with a pair of homers for Cleveland against the Twins.
Davis was one of the best designated hitters in the 1990s, though he began his NL career with the Giants, for whom he homered from both sides of the plate in the same game three times, once in 1983 and twice in 1987. He then joined the Angels and there he homered from the left side and the right side in one game six times. Davis also achieved this milestone once with the Twins and once with the Royals. In all, his 350 homers rank sixth among switch-hitters.
Mantle, the king of switch-hitting homers at 536, is the perfect standard among those types of hitters even though he doesn’t have the most games with both-handed homers. Between 1955 and 1961, Mantle dribbled it from both sides of the plate in a game on eight separate occasions. No one else made it even once in that same span.
Although Mantle’s 18 World Series home runs remain a record to date, he never managed to get her out left and right in the same Fall Classic game.
Caminiti’s dominance at the plate didn’t last long, but boy was it impressive. The third baseman hit 121 of his 239 home runs in a four-year span for the Padres from 1995-98, taking home NL MVP in 1996 as well as three Gold Gloves. Seven of his 10 games with a home run in each hand came between 1995 and 1996, including an MLB-record four in 1996.
Clark’s first game with a home run on each hand was with the Tigers on April 5, 1997 against the White Sox in Chicago. His next three such games came in 1998, setting an AL record later tied by Swisher. He had two more of those matchups for Detroit in 1999 and a couple in New York: one for the Mets in 2003 and one for the Yankees in 2004. He then had two for the D-backs.
E-9) Bernie Williams — 8
His 287 home runs have him tied with Bobby Bonilla for 10th all-time among switch-hitters, though his presence was especially felt in the postseason for the Yankees’ dynasty in the late 1990s. The Puerto Rican hit 22 postseason home runs, helping to New York to win four World Series in a span of five years between 1996 and 2000.
There are only four instances in which a player has homered from both sides of the plate in the same postseason game, and Williams is responsible for two of them: He did it in Game 3 of the 1995 AL Division Series against the Mariners and in 1996 ALDS Game 4 against the Rangers. (The other two sluggers to homer with both hands in a playoff game are Chipper Jones in 2003 and Milton Bradley in 2006.)
During the regular season, Williams spread out his games very well with home runs from both sides of the plate. The first came in 1994 and then he had one each in 1996, 1998 and 1999 before doing it twice more in 2000. He then did it once in 2001 and once in 2002.
It makes good sense that Williams and countryman Posada are tied for ninth in this category given that they each hit home runs from both sides of the plate for the Yankees during that successful half-decade in the late 1990s. In fact, they became the first pair of teammates in MLB history to homer with both hands in the same game, which they accomplished against the Blue Jays on April 23, 2000.
Of the 275 home runs Posada hit in his career, 16 were in games in which he hit it both left and right.
The first of those games for Posada came on Aug. 23, 1998, when he hit a pair of solo shots against the Rangers at Ballpark in Arlington. The last one was on Sept. 4, 2007, when he hit another pair of walk-off homers against the Mariners at Yankee Stadium.
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More games giving HR to both hands