Alex Gordon struck out four times on Wednesday night. It was one of, if not the worst, games of the season for the Royals and (obviously) for Alex. These things happen. You know, baseball and such.
Not only do these things happen, they happen more often than you might think. Four strikeouts or more in a single game? It has happened 109 times to a Royals’ batter and actually three times prior to Wednesday to Alex Gordon.
Bob Hamelin, Greg Gagne and Bo Jackson all hold the distinction of striking out FIVE times in one game. I remember listening on the radio to the game when Jackson managed (?) the feat against the Yankees on April 18, 1987.
Gordon is the first Royal to strikeout four times this season, but Lorenzo Cain did so twice in 2014 and was joined in this unlucky club by Omar Infante and Eric Hosmer. Cain also struck out four times in a game in 2013, while Hosmer did so in 2012. Also getting the quad sombrero in 2012 were Billy Butler, Jarrod Dyson and Mike Moustakas twice. To be fair to Mike, however, one of those four strikeout games came when he managed seven plate appearances, so not really a sombrero if I am reading the unwritten rules of baseball correctly.
Somewhat interestingly, Gordon’s other three occurrences all came in 2011, which was arguably the best offensive season of his career. In all three of those games, Gordon actually batted five times and got hits in two of those contests. Old friend, Jeff Francoeur struck out four times twice in 2011, in the span of just two weeks. Frankly, I’m surprised it didn’t happen more often.
Going back beyond 2011, you run into a string of Royals who will neither surprise you, nor stir up longing for the past: Guillen, Pena, Brown, Sanders, Guiel, Gotay, Berroa, Harvey.. you get the picture. Of course, it happens to the best, too. Mike Sweeney did it, so did Carlos Beltran and Jermaine Dye. Michael Tucker managed to do it two times in each stint with the Royals.
Bo Jackson, struck out four times in a game FIFTEEN times, fourteen times more than Joe Zbed ever did. Pitcher Dick Drago struck out four times in a game four times, both a testament to bad hitting, but good pitching I suppose. Hal McRae did it (twice), Willie Wilson and Amos Otis did it once. Hall of Famer Harmon Killebrew wore the hat once in his one season with Kansas City. You know a Hall of Fame member who didn’t strike out four times in a game? George Brett. Not once, not ever.
There are plenty of obscure names on the list, but I will wager the most obscure would be Scott Northey, whose major league career consisted of 68 plate appearances with the 1969 Royals. The very first Royal? Jackie Hernandez on June 6th, 1969.
Baseball is full of bad days and Alex Gordon had one on Wednesday. How did he do the following game the first three times?
One for two with a home run, two walks and a hit by pitch. Two for four. Two for five with a double.