Brandon Crawford set a Giants record by getting 7 hits in one game, and before we go on to the rest of the article, let me just say: Good heavens, that’s a lot of hits. That is a much larger number of hits than a person could reasonably expect in a game. Congratulations to Brandon Crawford for getting so many hits because, again, gosh, that’s a lot of hits.
Prior to Brandon Crawford, there had been five 7-hit games in the history of Major League Baseball, and as a biased Giants fan with a platform to talk to other biased Giants fans, it is my duty and my privilege to try to convince you that Brandon Crawford’s 7-hit game was better than all the other 7-hit games. My arguments will be extremely poor and I encourage you to unthinkingly adopt them nevertheless.
Now let’s go through the games one by one! (Depending on whether the new SB Nation version has rolled out to you, you may not see this, so: The dates in the subheads are links to the games.)
Wilbert Robinson, June 10, 1892
The first 7-hit game in the majors came from Wilbert Robinson, a catcher for the Baltimore Orioles – not those Baltimore Orioles, but the previous version of the team, which is also not the version of the Baltimore Orioles that in 1902 would see several defections to the Cincinnati Reds and New York Giants (notably John McGraw) and then stop existing – in a game against the St. Louis Browns. Robinson went 7 for 7 against an inept Browns staff led by Best Name In Baseball History Runner-Up Pretzels Getzien. Robinson’s 7 hits included 6 singles and one double, and he drove in 11 in a 25-4 Orioles win.
Why Brandon Crawford’s game was better: See that final score? 25-4? The Orioles would have stomped all over the Browns with or without Robinson in the lineup. His hits were low-pressure and meaningless. Add in that they were facing a washed up pitcher, and clearly, Crawford’s game was better.
You can read more about this game here, from the SABR people, who always have been and always will be more than just stats your dad doesn’t care about.
Johnny Burnett, July 10, 1932
Johnny Burnett, who spent most of his career as a slightly below average infielder for the Indians, would seem to be an odd choice to hold the MLB record for most hits in one game, and yet here we are. In an 18-inning game between the Indians and the A’s, Burnett went 9 for 11 with 2 doubles, though Cleveland would end up dropping the game by a final score of 18-17.
Why Brandon Crawford’s game was better: Did Burnett have more hits? Yes, he had more hits. But he had those hits in a losing cause. Really, you could argue it would have been better for his team for him to have not gotten those hits, as they then could have avoided nine extra innings of baseball. Not much of a team player, that Johnny Burnett. Sure, they won both games of their doubleheader the next day, but do you think the team forgave Burnett for tying the game in the bottom of the ninth with an RBI single? I sure don’t.
Rocky Colavito, June 24, 1962
In a 7 hour, 22 inning marathon, Colavito put up a 7 for 10 batting line with a walk. Colavito’s Tigers went down early to the Yankees, with New York scoring 6 runs in the top of the first, but Detroit came back in the bottom of the 6th, tying the game at 7. Then, no one scored for 15 innings, but all the while, Colavito produced, including hitting a leadoff triple in the 11th (he got stranded when, after the Yankees intentionally walked the bases loaded, they induced a lineout and then a bunt pop fly double play to end the inning), a 1-out single in the 13th, a 1-out single in the 15th, and 2-out singles in the bottoms of the 20th and 22nd. The Tigers did not score in any of those innings, and lost 9-7
Why Brandon Crawford’s game was better: I won’t deny that the extra innings triple that failed to score is a creepy similarity, but, well, otherwise, Crawford’s game was better. He went 7 for 8 instead of 7 for 10, he had two extra base hits instead of just one, and he drove in the game winning run. Also, his team won. Sorry, Rocky, but facts are facts.
Cesar Gutierrez, June 21, 1970
Cesar Gutierrez was a light hitting shortstop who makes Johnny LeMaster look like also a light-hitting shortstop, but one whose overall offensive game was very similar (LeMaster actually out OPS+ed Gutierrez by five points in their respective careers). 1970 was Gutierrez’s only year as a starter, and he didn’t exactly force the issue by hitting .243/.275/.299 for the season. However, in this game, he was unstoppable. Gutierrez went 7 for 7 with a double in 12 innings, as his Tigers squeaked out a 9-8 win over the Indians.
Why Brandon Crawford’s game was better: Look, I don’t want to disparage the fine name of Cleveland starter Rick Austin, nor any of the rest of the pitching staff, but Jose Fernandez is one of the all-time great strikeout machines to ever pitch a season of baseball, and Rick Austin was just a guy who spent 3 years not impressing anybody. Also, Gutierrez did not hit the game-winning RBI, unlike, say, Brandon Crawford yesterday.
Rennie Stennett, September 16, 1975
Rennie Stennett was the starting second baseman for the NL East chamption Pittsburgh Pirates. He generally vacillated between being thoroughly fine with the bat and being thoroughly bad, but on this day, he was fantastic. Stennett was a big part of the attack that knocked Cubs starter Rick Reuschel (!!!) out of the game with one out in the first inning, and the Pirates never relented. Stennett ended up 7 for 7 with a double and a triple, and the Pirates cruised to a 22-0 win.
Why Brandon Crawford’s game was better: Because Brandon Crawford was clutch. He drove in the first Giants run, he drove in the Giants run that tied the game at 7, twice in extra innings he got the lead run to third base with less than two out, and he drove in the winning run. How can you compete with that in a game where Rick Reuschel’s brother pitched his team’s best two innings of the game? You can’t. You just can’t.
In conclusion, Brandon Crawford had the best 7 hit day in baseball history and also holy cow, Brandon Crawford got 7 hits in one game.