"You can’t hit a two/three/four-run homer with nobody on base” is a baseball adage. Often, a team is behind by a number of runs and has its power hitter at the plate; however, the power hitter can’t tie the score if the bases are empty. The saying means that one player can’t do it all by himself—teamwork is needed.
“He’s trying to hit the ball in the seats every time he’s up. But you can’t hit a three-run homer with nobody on base” was said by Cincinnati Reds player-manager Pete Rose in 1986. It’s not known who said the expression first.
10 May 1986, Mobile (AL) Press Register, “Rose won’t panic—not yet, anyway” by John Nelson (AP Baseball Writer), pg. 3-D, col. 6:
“I think that’s one of the things really hurting Parker. He’s trying to hit the ball in the seats every time he’s up. But you can’t hit a three-run homer with nobody on base.”
(Cincinnati Reds player-manager Pete Rose on Dave Parker.—ed.)
1 August 1986, Daily Intelligencer (Doylestown, PA), “Quakertown rallies to upend Pennridge, 7-6” by Dan Moyer, pg. 22C, col. 3:
“I said to (Dan) Eckert and (Scott) Reichley, they’re our power hitters, we can’t get a two-run home run with nobody on base. We’ve got to get guys on base; nobody’s first-ball hitting.”
(Quakertown American Legion head coach Tom Neiman.—ed.)
6 July 1990, The Orange County Register (Santa Ana, CA), “Angels can’t shake that sinking feeling” by Earl Bloom, Sports sec., pg. 1, col. 6:
“Everybody wants to hit a three-run homer with no one on base,” ...
(Angels manager Doug Rader.—ed.)
28 April 1992, Syracuse (NY) Herald-Journal, “Road trip weary one for skidding Chiefs” by Tom Leo, pg. C4, col. 6:
“Most of all, I think what happens when you get four or five runs behind is the hitters try to do a little too much. They try to hit that five-run homer with nobody on base instead of just pecking away and staying within themselves.”
(Syracuse CHiefs manager Nick Leyva.—ed.)
18 September 1997, Daily Intelligencer (Doylestown, PA), “In 2 months, Daulton has made Florida’s clubhouse his” by Randy Miller, pg. B1, col. 3:
“I think each one of us were trying to do more than we were capable of. There were times this year when I was trying to hit a three-run homer with nobody on base. I don’t do that. I just hit singles.”
(Jim Eisenreich, an outfielder.—ed.)
St. Louis (MO) Post-Dispatch
Cardinals still sagging
May 15, 2012 12:40 am • BY DERRICK GOOLD
“We have to watch guys aren’t trying to do too much, trying to hit a three-run homer with nobody on base,” Berkman said. “What you have to do in these kinds of situations is everybody is going to compete individually as hard as they can and collectively that pulls you out of the slump.”
Pat Allen: The View from Right Field
June 23, 2012
What Should the Fed Do If the Economy and Unemployment Stall?
There is an old baseball saying: You can’t hit a three-run homer with nobody on base. In other words, don’t try to do too much. You need to do your job and let your teammates do theirs. Because when you try to do too much, you won’t even do what you normally can do.
“carrying frustrations from one at-bat to the next is like trying to hit a 3 run homer with no one on base.” #truth
7:10 PM - 27 Sep 2012
Plate patience leads to walks, runs for efficient Twins
With steady approach, Minnesota leads Majors in on-base percentage and runs scored
By Rhett Bollinger / MLB.com | 4/28/2014 2:50 P.M. ET
“We’re just trying to make the pitchers work,” third baseman Trevor Plouffe said. “There’s the old saying, ‘You’re not going to hit a three-run homer with nobody on base.’ So we’re just going up there trying to keep the line moving.”