Published: July 31, 2022

Paul Foytack

Paul Foytack grew up in Scranton, Pennsylvania, idolizing Detroit Tigers pitcher and back-to-back MVP Award winner Hal Newhouser. Eager to follow in his footsteps, Foytack signed with the Tigers fresh out of high school in 1949.

After four solid seasons in the minors, Foytack finally got a taste of life in the show in 1953, doing so alongside Newhouser, who was in the twilight of his career. Sadly, Foytack got pummeled, was sent back down, and came back up in 1955, only to get pummeled again. But 1956 would be different.

From 1956 to 1959, Foytack was a solid mid-rotation guy, gobbling innings and keeping the score close enough that he compiled a record of 58-51 with a 3.72 ERA (109 ERA+) in 938 and a third innings pitched.

Unfortunately, old shoulder problems would resurface in 1960, as he went 2-11 with a 6.14 ERA in 96 and two-thirds innings. He was never quite the same after that, though he did see a minor bounce back over the following two seasons.

But by June of 1963, the Tigers had seen enough, as Foytack started the season by giving up 18 runs on 18 hits--including 4 dingers--and 8 walks in 17 and two-thirds innings. On June 15, the Tigers traded Foytack to the Los Angeles Angels (the other guys involved were total nobodies). Six weeks later, Paul Foytack would put this name in the record in books.

On Wednesday, July 31, 1963, the Angels were wrapping up a four-game set in Cleveland, with both teams firmly ensconced in the lower half of the standings, well behind the first-place New York Yankees. The Halos had taken the first two games, and now the Indians were looking to salvage a split in the series.

The Indians were up 5-1 heading into the bottom of the fifth, when Angels manager Bill Rigney sent Foytack to the hill. Foytack got through the inning giving up only a meaningless single and was sent back out for the sixth, quickly putting away the first two batters. Up next was #8 hitter Woodie Held, who jacked one into the left field seats. Then came Indians pitcher Pedro Ramos, who also parked one past the fence in left. Then came leadoff hitter Tito Francona, who mixed things up with a home to right. Then came Larry Brown, who followed Held and Ramos into the left field bleachers -- and with that, Paul Foytack became the first man in Major League Baseball history to give up a homer to four straight batters in one game.

By this point, Halos manager Bill Rigney had no choice but to visit the mound. Legend has it that when he arrived, he asked Foyatck, "Well, Paul, what do you think?"

"Gee, Bill, I think I am in pretty good shape. There's nobody on base."

God bless 'im.

Foytack got the hook and the Angels eventually lost 9-5, though because of baseball's silly rules about wins and losses, Foytack managed not to take the L.

The Angels brought Foytack back in 1964, but not for long, as he made just two appearances that year before getting cut loose on May 15, eight days after his final big league game.

Foytack's feat remained unmatched until April 22, 2007, when Yankee manager Joe Torre inexplicably left rookie starter Chase Wright on the hill against the Boston Red Sox, as Manny Ramirez, JD Drew, Mike Lowell and Jason Varitek all homered, en route to a 7-6 Boston victory.

As fate would have it, Foytack was watching the NBA playoffs at the time, but switched over to the Sox game during a commercial, sticking around long enough to see Ramirez's dinger and then switched back to hoops.

“I missed the last three. How about that?” he said from his home in Tennessee, before adding, “I kind of feel bad for the kid because he’s young. I’m going to tell him that these things happen and that he shouldn’t let it get to him."

Sadly, Wright only pitched one more big league game and was out of organized ball by 2013.


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