Last Tuesday night, Scooter Gennett broke the Internet. The Reds utility player had a career night — five for five, four home runs (one of which was a grand slam), 10 runs batted in. The Cincinnati boy who was rescued from the scrap heap of the Milwaukee Brewers had gone on to do something no other Red has done: he hit four home runs in one game.
That is pretty special considering all the heavy hitters who have come through the Queen City for the past 100 plus years; Robinson, Kluszewski, Bench, Foster, Perez — none of them ever hit four home runs in a game.
Many baseball purists would say throwing a perfect game is the rarest of baseball happenstances, but that has been done over 20 times; four home runs in one game only 17. The folks that attended that game last week against the Cardinals were treated to history.
Perhaps the most amazing part of this feat is who did it. Some of the players who accomplished this feat are members of the Hall of Fame, players like Lou Gehrig, Willie Mays and Mike Schmidt. Even some of the players who aren’t Hall of Famers were still known as big hitters of their time, players like Gil Hodges, Rocky Colavito and Bob Horner.
Of the 17 players who hit four home runs in a game, nine of them hit more than 300 home runs in their career. In fact, 16 of them hit more than 70 career home runs. There has been one player who hasn’t. That guy is Scooter Gennett. Entering his fifth year of Major League baseball, Scooter has hit 42 home runs. Forty-two — an average of eight per year and this guy got four home runs in one game!
On or about March 27, Scooter was let go from the Milwaukee Brewers. While Scooter was a durable and stable player, he wasn’t necessarily setting the baseball world on fire. I am sure when he was let go, he wasn’t sure if he’d find a good place to land.
His hometown team, the Reds, gave him a call. No promise of a starting role, just a place on the bench. Scooter didn’t hesitate and signed his contract on March 28. The Reds had him and his history of 35 home runs on the opening day roster.
I seriously doubt Scooter Gennett got up Tuesday morning and just knew he was going to hit four home runs that night. For that matter, I doubt any of the 17 players felt that they were going to accomplish that feat. But for Scooter, the odds may have seen improbable. He probably had a better chance of winning the lottery that day.
But he didn’t have to. He hit his four home runs. And the first decision he made in making that special night was taking the field. And that is the lesson for all of us. We can’t do amazing things if we aren’t willing to do the small things.
We live in a world where we are consistently told we aren’t smart enough, we aren’t strong enough, we don’t have enough of “it” — whatever “it” is. And the worst part? We believe it! We let those negative words penetrate our minds and our souls.
We all have what it takes to do amazing things, whether that be in our workplaces, our communities or even our own homes. But to do those things, we need more than just belief, we have to be willing to go to work, to get out in our community, to be present for our families, or in Scooter’s case, take the field.
We live in an amazing world and Scooter’s feat proves that. If the Reds utility infielder can come in and hit four home runs in a game, think of the amazing things we can call do if we take that first step.
Everyday, our world is being positively changed by amazing men and women who are doing great things. These people aren’t the strongest people in the world nor are they the smartest people in the world. But what they do have is a strong desire to be more and do more every day.
William “Bill” Lutz is executive director of The New Path Inc. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.