Baseball is a team sport. And that means that great individual performances sometimes get unceremoniously tossed aside solely because the team didn’t win. This is especially true on the offensive side of the ball, where a batter is surrounded by 8 other guys in the lineup to help mitigate his production.
Since so many things go into a team’s win or loss, there must be some pretty impressive batting days by guys on the wrong side of the scoreboard, right? Using total bases as the sorting criteria, here are the three best games by a hitter on a losing team:
- Les Bell (1928 Braves): On this day, Les Bell went 4-for-5 with 3 home runs, a triple, and 6 RBIs. That’s 15 total bases from the 5th spot in the order, when the 4th spot was almost-as-well-manned: “The Rajah” Rogers Hornsby went 3-for-4 with a home run, a double, and 4 RBIs. That’s quite a tandem, but the 12 runs the Braves put up today were not enough to match as 6 of their pitchers combined to give up 20 runs to the Reds.
- Ellis Burks (2001 Indians): Tied for Les Bell with 15 total bases, Ellis went 5-for-7 in this 12-inning affair with Minnesota Twins. He singled, doubled, and blasted 3 homers… 3 solo homers. His 15 total bases amounted to just 3 RBIs and 3 runs, all stemming from his own home runs. Bob
Wickman blew the lead in the 9th, allowing Burks to add 6 more bases in extra-innings.
- Bob Horner (1986 Braves): The all-time leader in this category is also a Brave. Horner amassed 16 total bases against the Montreal Expos by going 4-for-6 with 4 round-trippers and 6 RBIs. He hit homers in the 2nd, 4th, 5th, and 9th innings, but the Braves only managed 8 runs. The Braves’ pitcher, Zane Smith, gave up 8 runs in just 4 innings of work, and the Expos topped them 11 to 8.