No Hitter Has Ever Been More Terrifying Than Albert Belle In This Game

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July 25, 1999. Orioles versus Angels in Turn Ahead the Clock Day at Oriole Park at Camden Yards, hence the hideous monochrome sleeveless trashbag novelty jerseys. Albert Belle batting cleanup.

Bottom of the first inning, Orioles trailing 3-0: Belle hits a two-run homer to deep right.


Bottom of the third inning, Orioles trailing 4-3: Belle walks, is stranded.

Bottom of the fifth inning, Orioles trailing 7-3: Belle singles to left, is stranded.


Bottom of the seventh inning, Orioles trailing 7-3: Belle hits a three-run homer deep up the left-field line.

Bottom of the ninth inning, Orioles trailing 7-6: Belle hits a two-out solo home run to deep right-center off closer Troy Percival.

That is where this clip begins, with Belle's third homer tying the game. And then, around 1:20, in the bottom of the eleventh inning, we ascend from mere baseball history to baseball legend. Shigetoshi Hasegawa runs a pitch up and in on Belle, and the ball hits him in the left shoulder—and Belle tries to wave it off.

The umpire is pointing him toward first base and Belle is arguing with him, standing his ground, digging in at the plate again. Because he knows—absolutely knows, in his heart—that if he sees a pitch anywhere around the plate, he is going to hit his fourth home run and win the game. I was one of the 44,724 people in the stands and we all knew it, too.


Finally, after manager Ray Miller intervened, Belle bitterly yielded to the rulebook and allowed himself to be guided up the baseline. Three batters later, Cal Ripken Jr. hit a single to left and B.J. Surhoff scored the winning run. Belle ended up at third base, with a final line of 4-for-4, three monster home runs to three different parts of the ballpark, and WPA of .978: a disappointment, for him.