Yesterday, we took a morning trip back to Saturday’s action, revisiting the 22-4 throttling of the Yankees at the hands of the Cleveland Indians. The Tribe scored 14 runs in the second inning, plating 17 batters in the process. Their scoring spree marked just the fourth instance of 14+ runs in a half-inning since 1954, the most recent of which occurred in 2003 when the Red Sox scored 14 in the bottom of the first against Carl Pavano and the Marlins.
One of our commenters, Shane, pointed out that the Indians had six different hitters loft longballs and questioned the rarity of such a feat. Curious myself, I turned to Retrosheet, created a table of home runs, counted the number of distinct batter identifications on these home runs, and grouped by the game code and batting team identification. The end result offered 35 different team games since 1954 that featured 6+ unique batter identifications to go yard. Again, this is not the total of home runs hit in a single game for a team but rather the number of different hitters to hit jimmy-jacks.
The highest tally was 8, belonging to the Cincinnati Reds on 9/4/1999 when just about every batter hit a home run against the Philadelpia Phillies. The home run club members that day: Eddie Taubensee (2), Jeffrey Hammonds, Pokey Reese, Greg Vaughn, Mark Lewis, Aaron Boone, Brian Johnson, and Dmitri Young. Of the hitters in the starting lineup that day, only Barry Larkin and Sean Casey failed to go deep.
Six other games involved 7 different hitters doing yard work, with the most recent coming on July 31, 2007, when the Yankees beat the White Sox 16-3. Bobby Abreu, Hideki Matsui (2), Jorge Posada, Shelley Duncan, Johnny Damon, Melky Cabrera, and Robinson Cano all knocked the ball out of the park off of Jose Contreras, Charlie Haeger, and Gavin Floyd.
The remaining 28 games on the list saw 6 different hitters rack up four total bases in a plate appearance at least once. The most recent of these games occurred on September 15 of last season, when the Red Sox accomplished the feat against the Tampa Bay Rays, in Tampa. In fact, prior to this Red Sox-Rays matchup, the same feat was accomplished just two months earlier when, again, the Reds did so, this time at the expense of the Cubs.
The oldest of these 35 games took place on June 1, 1957, when… you guessed it… the Reds had six different hitters add to their home runs total. The Indians became the 36th team since 1954 to see 6+ different batters hit at least one gopherball in the same game, certainly a rare feat but not nearly as rare as scoring 14 or plating 17 in the same inning.