Origin of the term
The term derives from hat trick, and since four is bigger than three, the rationale was that a four-strikeout performance should be referred to by a bigger hat, such as a sombrero. The "Olympic Rings" or platinum sombrero applies to a player striking out five times in a game, while a horn (after Sam Horn of the Baltimore Orioles, who accomplished the feat in an extra-inning game in 1991), titanium sombrero or double platinum sombrero is bestowed upon a player who strikes out six times in a single game.
The term was coined by San Diego Padres player Carmelo Martínez in the 1980s and first appeared in print when Leon Durham was quoted as using it in 1984. The term "Horn" for a six-strikeout game was coined by Orioles pitcher Mike Flanagan after Horn's six strikeout game.
Sammy Sosa and Ray Lankford are the only players to hit for a platinum sombrero more than twice. Only eight players have had six strikeouts, listed below. All eight players who accomplished a "Horn" needed extra innings to do it; the record for strikeouts in a nine-inning game is five.
On August 4, 2009, Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria went 2 for 6, recording a golden sombrero and 2 home runs. The second home run was a walk off home run. This feat was also accomplished by Brandon Moss of the Oakland Athletics on April 30, 2013 in a 19-inning game against the Los Angeles Angels. They are the only players to record four strikeouts and two home runs (the second a walk-off) in a single game in the live-ball era.
On May 29, 2014, in a game against the New York Mets, Ryan Howard of the Philadelphia Phillies earned his 24th career Golden Sombrero, surpassing Reggie Jackson to take the all-time MLB lead for this statistic.
On May 29, 2015 San Diego Padres catcher Derek Norris struck out swinging in his first four plate appearances, then hit a walk-off grand slam, becoming the first MLB player in the modern era to achieve a golden sombrero and a walk-off grand slam in the same game.
On July 25, 2017, Chicago Cubs infielder Javier Baez went 0 for 5, recording a platinum sombrero. On the same day, Seattle Mariners designated hitter Nelson Cruz went 0 for 6 with five strikeouts, also recording a platinum sombrero. This marked the first time in Major League history in which two players from two different games achieved platinum sombreros in the same day (although due to extra innings, Cruz's fifth strikeout technically occurred on July 26).
On October 11, 2017, Chicago Cubs third baseman Kris Bryant went 0 for 4, recording a golden sombrero, on the same day as New York Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge, who went 0 for 5 and recorded his own golden sombrero, his third in the ALDS and making him the only player since 1903 to accomplish this.
Prior to the start of the World Series, golden sombreros in the 2017 postseason had already tied the record set in 1997. An increase in the use of starting pitchers as relievers has been suggested as a cause.
On April 3, 2018, Giancarlo Stanton recorded a platinum sombrero in his home debut in his first season for the New York Yankees, following him leading the majors in home runs and winning the National League MVP the season before. Stanton left the field after his fifth strikeout to a chorus of home field boos. Just five days later he became the first player to ever record two platinum sombreros in one season when he went 0-7 and struck out for a fifth time with two runners and the Yankees down by one to end the game in extra innings versus the Baltimore Orioles.
On June 4, 2018, Aaron Judge earned a platinum sombrero, but more importantly struck out eight times, over course of a doubleheader against the Detroit Tigers, setting a new MLB record.
The record for strikeouts in a single game in all of professional baseball belongs to minor league baseball player Khalil Lee of the Lexington Legends, who in 2017 struck out eight times in a twenty-one inning baseball game.
|Member of the Baseball Hall of Fame|
|Denotes player who is still active|
Major league players with six strikeouts in a game
|Carl Weilman||July 25, 1913||15||St. Louis Browns|
|Don Hoak||May 2, 1956||17||Chicago Cubs|
|Rick Reichardt||May 31, 1966||17||California Angels|
|Billy Cowan||July 9, 1971||20||California Angels|
|Cecil Cooper||June 14, 1974||15||Boston Red Sox|
|Sam Horn||July 17, 1991||15||Baltimore Orioles|
|Alex Gonzalez||September 9, 1998||13||Toronto Blue Jays|
|Geoff Jenkins||June 8, 2004||17||Milwaukee Brewers|
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|Look up golden sombrero in Wiktionary, the free dictionary.|