When one thinks of the Phillies and Cubs playing at Wrigley Field in the ’70s, it’s hard not to think of historic wackiness. The first thought is usually about May 17, 1979, when the teams battled it out in a see-saw affair that produced 45 runs, but their matchup on April 17, 1976, was almost as entertaining. That was the day Mike Schmidt made history with a quartet of homers that helped key a major Phillies comeback in another contest that was drunk on runs. But Schmidt’s performance was about more than the four home runs. It was also about the way the homers happened, and the circumstances in which they occurred. MORE: Watch video of (almost) every four-homer game in MLB historyFor starters, Schmidt began the game in a slump. He was batting .167 with one home run at the start of play and had been demoted from third to sixth in the batting order. He was understandably peeved, and he had a long talk with veteran teammate Dick Allen before the game. “I wasn’t exactly hangdog or anything like that, but I needed somebody to talk to and Allen is the perfect guy,” Schmidt told Sporting News at the time. “He’s been around a long time and he knows what to say and how to say it.”More on that later.Second, Schmidt didn’t hit his first homer of the game until the fifth inning, which is kinda stunning. Usually when a batter approaches the single-game homer record, he has at least two by around the fifth inning. But Schmidt’s first homer came in his third plate appearance — he flew out in his first at-bat and singled in his second — and the two-run shot came with the Phillies trailing the Cubs 13-2. Third, the four homers came in four consecutive at-bats, which made Schmidt the first player in NL history to do that, and just the fourth ever. His last homer, a two-run blast, came in the 10th inning and gave the Phillies a 17-15 lead. They added another run in the inning and won 18-16. (Trivia: History would repeat itself almost verbatim three years and one month later, when a solo homer from Schmidt gave the Phillies the win in that wild 23-22 game.)Here’s a look at all four of Schmidt’s homers. His third, a towering shot to right center that lands deep in the bleachers, is quite impressive, wind or not.MORE: Ranking the 11 worst sets of the Junk Wax Era of baseball cardsThe pitching victims, for those keeping score: Rick Reuschel (twice), Mike Garman and Paul Reuschel.Schmidt’s breakout on April 17 could’ve been attributed to a few factors: the wind blowing out at Wrigley, regression to the mean or, maybe, motivation after being dropped to sixth in the order. But to ask him, that demotion from the three spot had nothing to do with it.”I don’t think it would’ve made any difference where I batted,” he told SN at the time. “I got a lot of help from Billy (DeMars, a Phillies coach) in practice the day before. Then when the Cubs got so far ahead, I think I just relaxed and went to swinging the bat.”The pre-game pep talk from Allen helped, too, Schmidt said.”I go to him a lot and so do some of the other players,” he said. “In fact, I think more of us ought to do it.”Despite Schmidt’s praise, Allen took no credit.”I didn’t do a thing,” he told SN later. “All I told Mike was to go out there and have some fun and let his ability take care of the rest. It’s as simple as that for a player like him.”Maybe so, but Schmidt didn’t want to make too much of his big day. “When a batter strikes out four times in a game, they tell him to forget it,” he told SN. “Well, I’d like to forget about the homers. I want to concentrate on the games ahead. Maybe after the season, I’ll look back and think about it, but not now.”In Schmidt’s defense, he had other homers to think about — because those four long balls on April 17 set the tone for the next few days. Schmidt homered in each of the Phils’ next three games, giving him seven homers in four games. In fact, nine of Schmidt’s first 13 hits in 1976 were home runs. He’d go on to finish with 38 and lead the NL for the third straight season. He also led the league with 306 total bases, compiled 8.0 bWAR and finished third in MVP voting.And, obviously, Schmidt wasn’t done with homers after 1976. He would lead the league in big flies five more times in his career and finish with 548 en route to the Hall of Fame.