COOPERSTOWN, N.Y. – His 534 career home runs still place him 17th on the all-time list, a testament to Jimmie Foxx's timeless ability. But to understand the prodigious power of the man they called "The Beast," a quick history lesson is in order.
When Foxx retired following the 1945 season, only Babe Ruth had more home runs.
Seventy-eight years ago this week, on June 8, 1933, Foxx showcased his tremendous slugging ability by launching three baseballs out of the park. It was a game filled with future Hall of Famers, and the Philadelphia A's outlasted the New York Yankees 14-10.
The star powered Yankees lineup that day featured seven future Hall of Famers including: Earle Combs, Joe Sewell, Lou Gehrig, Tony Lazzeri, Bill Dickey, Lefty Gomez and Ruth. The A's lineup provided two additional future Hall of Famers in Foxx and Mickey Cochrane.
With Foxx's three home runs in the first five innings all against Gomez, he pulled into a tie for the major league lead in homers with Ruth, at 11 a piece. The next inning, Gehrig got in on the action, also connecting on his 11th home run of the season, making it a three-way tie for first.
Ruth, not one to be outdone, hit one in the ninth inning to retake the lead by himself.
"When Neil Armstrong first set foot on the moon, he and all the space scientists were puzzled by an unidentifiable white objects," said Gomez years later. "I knew immediately what it was. That was a home run ball hit off me by Jimmie Foxx."
Both teams would be left disappointed by the end of the year. The A's missed the playoffs for a second consecutive season, after winning three consecutive pennants from 1929-'31. And the Yankees missed the playoffs after winning the '32 World Series.
However, individually, Foxx enjoyed one of his finest seasons. He captured the Triple Crown, hitting .356, with 48 home runs and 163 RBI en route to winning his second consecutive MVP award.
More evidence of Foxx's power: He still ranks fifth all-time in career slugging percentage behind Ruth, Ted Williams, Gehrig and Albert Pujols.
All of these players, excluding Pujols who is still playing, finished their careers with batting averages higher than .300.
Over Foxx's career, he hit .325, scored 1,751 runs, clubbed 534 home runs and knocked in 1,922 runs. In addition, he helped two of those pennant winning A's teams take home the ultimate prize of World Champions.
"The Beast" was inducted into the Hall of Fame in 1951, on his seventh year on the ballot, receiving 79.2 percent of the vote.
Kevin Stiner was the spring 2011 Public Relations intern for the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum