Game 30

May 15, 1977 – Indians Win Despite Rick Manning’s Platinum Sombrero

In 1858 British cricketer H. H. Stephenson took three consecutive wickets on three balls for the All-England Eleven. A collection was taken up in the stands, and Stephenson was presented with a new hat. Since then, positive things happening in sports–and arriving in 3s–are a hat trick. Most commonly this is three goals scored by a player in soccer or hockey.

In the first half of the 1900s, baseball writers would occasionally refer ironically to a player who struck out three times in a game as having “completed the hat trick.”

If three strikeouts is a (negative) hat-trick, then what embarrassment would four strikeouts in a single game bring? Carmelo Martinez of the Padres coined the term “Golden Sombrero” in the 1980s.

And for the rare five-strikeout feat? The Platinum Sombrero, of course.

According to the Baseball Almanac 73 players have worn the Platinum Sombrero in MLB history (Alex Rios twice). Only three Indians have recorded five-strikeout games in nine-inning contents.

Interestingly, they are all household names. Additionally, the Indians have won every game in which a single player has recorded 5 strikeouts. Larry Doby wore his in Game 4 of 1948 and went on to win the World Series. Jim Thome wore his in Game 6 of 2000 and would go on to be the Indians all-time home run leader. This entry covers Rick Manning’s platinum sombrero in 1977.

On a Sunday afternoon on the south side of Chicago, Dennis Eckersley was set to face off with Francisco Barrios of the Sox. Batting third in the lineup, Manning struck out swinging in the top of the first.

In the top of the second, the Indians manufactured three runs on three hits, including an RBI single by Jim Norris. Barrios got Manning to strike out swinging again for the first out in the top of the third.

In the bottom of the fourth, Ritchie Zisk hit an RBI triple to left field, bringing the score to 3-1.

Manning struck out swinging in the top of the 5th once again, and the White Sox drew to within one run on an RBI single by Jorge Orta.

Barrios faced only three batters in the top of the 7th, including a fourth swinging strikeout for Manning.

Buddy Bell extended the Indians lead to 4-2, scoring Paul Dade on a single to left field in the bottom of the 8th. The Sox answered in the bottom of the 8th with a solo home run by Lamar Johnson off Indians reliever Don Hood.

Rick Manning recorded the Indian’s 27th out, when Sox reliever Dave Hamilton got him to strike out looking to end the top of the 9th. While there is no special term for a Platinum Sombrero in only 5 plate appearances, this certainly puts this game at the forefront of futility even among Sombrero-wearers.

Of course, this single game is not reflective of Rick Manning’s career. He was enshrined as one of the Top 100 Indians of the Century by the team in 2000. Manning was a career .257 hitter, a prolific base stealer, a Gold Glove winner in 1976, and of course caught the final out of a Perfect Game in Game 24. He is also now the longest-tenured Indians broadcaster.

Baseball Reference Box Score

Honorable Mention: May 10, 2016 – Jose Ramirez Kicks Batting Helmet into Own Head

Safe at second. Indians go on to win 4-0.


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