Lonnie Chisenhall was already hitting out of his mind, so what do we call Monday’s rampage? Five for five, spiking his season average to .385, with 3 HRs, 9 RBI, and a double that one-hopped the wall. His 15 total bases are one shy of Rocky Colavito’s team record, in their only 4-HR game. Pat Seerey, Bobby Avila and Ellis Burks also had 15 TB for Cleveland.
It’s the 34th game with at least 9 RBI since 1914. No player has done it twice. Some notes on those games:
As you’d expect, all 34 games were team wins, most of them blowouts, the average margin over 11 runs. Closest was 9-8 in 10 innings, powered by Mike Greenwell on Sept. 2, 1996 — the only one who plated all his team’s runs. Greenwell batted 8th that night, in what turned out to be the last month of his career. His two home runs, in the 5th & 7th innings, pulled Boston from a 5-0 hole to a 6-5 lead. By the 8th they were back down by two, but his 2-out double tied it; and his 2-out single in the 10th put them ahead for good. Greenwell’s 1.054 Win Probability Added was the highest of these games, by far.
Just two other margins less than six, both 3-run wins: 10-7 for Vlad Guerrero’s Angels on June 2, 2004, the last game before Chisenhall’s with no grand slam. Like Lonnie, Vlad had five separate RBI events: 3-run HR, 2-run HR, 2-run double, RBI single and sac fly, with three go-ahead hits. Erubiel Durazo led a 12-9 win on May 17, 2002: three 2-run HRs, each with his team behind or tied, and then a lead-sealing 3-run double.
Two besides Chisenhall had 9 RBI while making no outs: Jim Bottomley’s record 12 RBI in 1924 was built on 6 for 6, 2 HRs and a double. Danny Tartabull went 5-for-5 in 1992, 2 HRs and a double, all scoring hits; he came out of the game after homering in the top of the 8th, missing a chance to bat again in the 9th with a man aboard.
One other 6-hit game besides Bottomley: Walker Cooper in 1949, 6 for 7 with 10 RBI, 3 HRs in a 23-4 romp. Sixteen games featured exactly 4 hits; nine had 5 hits or more, nine 3 or less. Only Jim Gentile did it with 2 hits, in 1961: grand slams in his first two trips, plus a sac fly.
The last game with 9+ RBI and at least 15 total bases was Mark Whiten’s two-record-tying 4-HR, 12-RBI game in 1993: grand slam, two treys and a deuce, plus a popout. (Each homer scored Gerald Perry, in his only 4-run game.)
Every player with 9+ RBI had at least one homer. Four did it with just one HR: Jackie Jensen, 1956 (just 3 hits, plus a sac fly); Irish Meusel, 1925 (Giants rapped 30 hits); Phil Weintraub, 1944 (“cycle-plus” with 11 RBI); and Jimmie Foxx, 1933 (the only true cycle in these games, 9 RBI in an 11-5 win).
Only Sammy Sosa did it in just 4 times up: August 10, 2002, on a trio of 3-run homers.
One before Chisenhall drove in 9+ in Rangers Ballpark: Bill Mueller, July 29, 2003, also 3 HRs while playing third base. One other game involving that franchise (for or against), by Ivan Rodriguez in Seattle, April 13, 1999. The Mariners were victimized again less than a month later, by Nomar Garciaparra.
Nomar is the only one to do it as a shortstop. The rest of the position breakdown: P/1 (Tony Cloninger, of course), C/3, 1B/11, 2B/1, 3B/5, LF/3, CF/2, RF/6, DH/1.
Besides the pitcher, Chisenhall’s 106 career RBI and 30 HRs are the fewest of the group. Among the retired players, Norm Zauchin’s 159 RBI are the fewest (10 RBI and three of his 50 HRs in one 1955 game), while Phil Weintraub’s 32 HRs are the fewest.
Only Tony Lazzeri did it for an eventual World Champion, his 11-RBI game in 1936 (3 HRs and a triple). Two other pennant winners, both Red Sox with 10 RBI: Rudy York in 1946, Fred Lynn in 1975. In all, 11 of the prior 33 were for playoff teams.
Postscript: Chisenhall went 2 for 4 with a double in his next game, lifting his average to .388, tops in the majors — but no RBI, no RISP chances, one trip with a man on first.