Major League Baseball and also Minor League Baseball has the strangest references to things. From a can of corn to a walk-off homer, now baseball fans need to learn what a Golden Sombrero means. So what exactly is a Golden Sombrero in baseball? Find out more below!
What is the Golden Sombrero in Baseball?
A golden sombrero is awarded to a baseball player who strikes out four times in a baseball game. Having a four-strikeout game does not mean you only had four plate appearances, however. There are cases where a player can strike out four times in a game and deliver a walk-off home run to win a game. Evan Longoria, back in 2009 for the Tampa Bay Rays, did just that. Brandon Moss of the Oakland Athletics was able to accomplish this via an extra-inning game that went 19 innings.
Do Players Actually Wear a Physical Hat?
MLB players don’t wear a literal sombrero for striking out four times in a game, but that would make things interesting. The expression is just one of those silly things that baseball fans and players say during the game. It’s a funny expression because players from rookies to MVPs may at some point fall into this category by having a bad game.
Interesting Moments with the Golden Sombrero
In 2015, history took place with the first walk-off grand slam and golden sombrero game via Derek Norris with the San Diego Padres. Alex Rodriguez of the New York Yankees in 2016 made history by becoming the first player over the age of 40 to receive the Golden Sombrero. Finally, the player with the most four-strikeout games belongs to Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies with 27.
Major League Players with the Most Four-Strikeout Games
Below is a list of hitters as of March 24th, 2021, with the most strikeout games in baseball history. Some of these players on the list in the hall of fame like Reggie Jackson and Jim Thome.
- Ryan Howard (27)
- Chris Davis (26)
- Reggie Jackson (23)
- Giancarlo Stanton (21)
- Jim Thome (20)
- Adam Dunn (19)
- Bo Jackson (19)
- Mark Reynolds (18)
- Joey Gallo (17)
- Sammy Sosa (17) (All-time leader with 5 strikeout games)
- Rob Deer (17)
Are There References for Other Strikeouts?
Baseball is a weird sport with many bizarre statements, obviously. A player can strike out three times, four times, five times, and even six teams during a single game with a reference. A hat track represents someone striking out three times during a baseball game, so since four is bigger than three, a sombrero is the reference since it is bigger than a hat.
- Hat Trick = 3 strikeouts
- Golden Sombrero = 4 strikeouts
- Olympic Rings or Platinum Sombrero = 5 strikeouts
- Titanium Sombrero = 6 strikeouts
Five Strikeout Performances that Stand Out
The Olympic Rings or Platinum Sombrero is a unique feat that only a handful of players can claim. Below is a list of some stand-out five strikeout performance games.
- Ron Karkovice is the only player to record a platinum sombrero on opening day
- Aaron Judge, of the New York Yankees, struck out eight times over a doubleheader
- Trevor Story of the Colorado Rockies had five strikeouts in a game against the Baltimore Orioles
- Harrison Bader of the St. Louis Cardinals had a five strikeout game in the playoffs
MLB Players With Six Strikeouts in a Game
The titanium sombrero is something only a handful of players have in their career, unfortunately. For example, you will find plenty of players who strike out four times in a game, but six is unique. Below is the list of players who had struck out six times in a game and what team they were on when that took place.
- Geoff Jenkins (Milwaukee Brewers.
- Alex Gonzalez (Toronto Blue Jays)
- Sam Horn (Baltimore Orioles)
- Cecil Cooper (Boston Red Sox)
- Billy Cowan (California Angels)
- Rick Reichardt (California Angles)
- Don Hoak (Chicago Cubs)
- Carl Wellman (St. Louis Browns)
What Player Has the Most Strikeouts in a Single Game?
Khalil Lee owns the record for striking out eight times in a 21-inning game. The infamous feat of striking out eight times took place in 2017. Khalil Lee was a member of the Class A affiliate of the Kansas City Royals.
Who Invented the Golden Sombrero?
The phrase, Golden Sombrero, came into existence in the1980’s from San Diego Padres’ first baseman, Carmelo Martinez. The phrase began circulating through the league and in 1984 appeared in print via a quote from Leon Durham. Today, the golden sombrero is a common expression that fans, announcers, and players use to describe someone at the plate.
Why are Strikeouts More Common In Baseball Today?
There are numerous factors in why players are striking out more in the game of baseball. For example, a combination of analytics, players, trying to hit home runs, and the heavy reliance on teams bringing in relief pitchers early in a game means players are striking out more. On top of that, baseball pitchers are consistently throwing harder today than fifty years ago, for example. Here is a good article going over if pitchers are throwing harder today or not.
Conclusion on the Golden Sombrero
In conclusion, striking out four or more times in a single game looks bad on any box score. However, big leaguers have rough days at the plate, and at times receive the golden sombrero. In fact, hall of fame players like Reggie Jackson has had their struggles at the plate, which is why the expression is light-hearted and fun to joke around. Finally, having a golden sombrero game does not mean you are wearing an actual hat. It’s just one of those funny things that makes baseball so great!