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The tragic story of the pitcher who set the record for most home runs allowed in a game

This is the tale of an overworked alcoholic who clashed with teammates and, eventually, with gangsters.

In the 1800s, baseball teams typically had two main pitchers. In this case, the Providence Grays had future hall of famer Big Hoss Radbourn — and Charlie Sweeney, who by many accounts, was a drunk. They did not get along. Both were phenomenal pitchers who held or still hold MLB records. However, the story of Sweeney goes way beyond throwing a baseball. His behavior and alcohol problem became too much for many to handle and it gave way to a very rough and tumble life — and a short-lived career.

Back then, pitchers would typically pitch entire games, leading to huge inning counts early in a player’s career. Sweeney really held onto that idea as a mark of pride and refused to be taken out of games. It ended up costing him a job in the National League and led to a record seven home runs given up in one game. It’s hard to imagine that record ever being broken and would be hard to watch if it ever was, though several pitchers have racked up six, including Michael Blazek in his first major league start with the Brewers last season.