Ted Williams declares Mike Esptien will hit 40 homeruns – Epstien hits 3 the same day

May 16, 1969 | 3 Home Run Games, 3 homerun game

On May 16, 1969 —  At Comiskey Park the Washington Senators play for the first time at Comiskey under Ted Williams, who told Epstein it was the toughest park for him to hit home runs in. Meanwhile, Williams told reporters that Epstein was going to be a slugger who would “hit 40 home runs someday.” Encouraged by his manager’s confidence, Epstein hit three home runs that day off Sammy Ellis and Wilbur Wood. Williams was not pleased. Having told Epstein of his own problems hitting home runs in Comiskey Park, he saw the young player as attempting to show him up. Williams refused to speak to Epstein when he returned to the dugout after the final home run and again after the game. But Williams was unaware that the walls had been moved in for the 1969 season, and quickly forgave Epstein. (This was sourced from Epstiens biography at SABR)

Despite fthe three by Mike Epstein – the Senators lose to the White Sox, 7 – 6. Carlos May’s 10th homer of the year breaks a 6 – 6 deadlock. Epstien was left on deck when the game ended missing his chance at a 4th homerun on the day.

He had arguably his best season in 1969 with the Senators, when in only 403 at bats he hit 30 home runs (ninth in the American League), had 85 runs batted in, and hit for a .278 batting average (and .347 with runners in scoring position) with an excellent .414 on-base percentage and .551 slugging percentage. He was fourth in the league in hit by pitch (10), and he hit a home run every 13.4 at bats. He was 25th in voting for the American League MVP. This was also the only year in which the reconstituted Senators finished above .500.

Mike Epstien washington
Learn More about the teams, players, ball parks and events that happened on this date in history just click the tags! 1969 | Carlos May | Chicago White Sox | Comiskey Park I | May 16 | Mike Epstein | Sammy Ellis | Ted Williams | Washington Senators | Wilbur Wood