A game-winning RBI is the run batted in (RBI) that is credited to the batter whose plate appearance is responsible for bringing his team ahead for the final time in the game. The statistic was used in Major League Baseball (MLB) from 1980 to 1988.
For example: A batter on the winning team brought his team ahead 3–2 from a 2–2 tie at some point during the game and his team later led 5–2 as a result of the other batters. Then, the opposing team scored two more runs, making the final score 5–4. The batter on the winning team who batted in the third run would be credited with the game-winning RBI, even though the losing team scored four runs. The debate over whether the RBI should be credited to the batter who drove the third run or the batter who drove the fifth run in such situations led to the stat being abolished.
Statistically, the pitcher of the losing team who gives up the game-winning RBI is charged with a loss; the pitcher of the winning team who finished the last half-inning before the game-winning RBI is hit would be credited with the win (with certain exceptions).
- Keith Hernandez had 129 game-winning RBIs while these records were kept, more than any other player.
- Hernandez also had the most in a single season (24 in 1985). Mike Greenwell had the most in the American League (23 in 1988).
- Wally Joyner, Jose Canseco, and Mark McGwire each had 14 in their rookie years, the rookie record.
- Kirk Gibson had the game-winning RBI in five consecutive games in 1986.
- Granillo, Larry (February 16, 2012). "Wezen-Ball: The Drawbacks and Demise of a Stat". baseballprospectus.com.
- Weber, Bruce (April 9, 1989). "Another Season, and Baseball Still Seeks Truth in Numbers". The New York Times.