The golden sombrero is a term used in baseball for when a player strikes out four times in a single game. It’s not a record that any player wants to achieve, but it does happen from time to time. Let’s take a look at some of the most famous (or infamous) cases of players striking out four times in a game.
The Origins of the Golden Sombrero
The term “golden sombrero” is derived from the wide-brimmed hats worn by Mexican peasants. These hats were often stained with sweat and dirt, which gave them a distinctively brown or golden color. Similarly, a batter who strikes out four times in a game is said to be “covered in dirt” or “stained” by his poor performance.
The first recorded use of the term “golden sombrero” in baseball came during a 1979 game between the Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros. Cubs’ broadcaster Harry Caray was describing Astros’ third baseman Ken Henderson, who had just struck out for the fourth time that game. Caray remarked that Henderson must be wearing a “golden sombrero” and the term quickly caught on.
Rudy York is arguably the most famous case of the golden sombrero. In a game against the Detroit Tigers in 1937, York struck out four times and even managed to get booed by his own fans. It was a tough day at the plate for York, but he still managed to hit 24 home runs that season.
In 1968, Reggie Jackson struck out four times in a game against the Boston Red Sox. Despite the tough day at the office, Jackson would go on to have a Hall of Fame career, finishing with 563 home runs and 1,551 RBIs. He was also named MVP of the 1973 World Series.
In 2002, Mike Cameron struck out four times in a game against the Anaheim Angels. But Cameron had the last laugh—he ended up hitting 4 home runs in that very same game! It was a record-setting performance for Cameron, and one that surely made the Angels wish they had pitched to him differently.
While it’s not something that any player wants to achieve, the golden sombrero is nonetheless a part of baseball history. Some of the greatest players of all time have been on the wrong end of four strikeouts in a game, but that doesn’t make their accomplishments any less impressive. The next time you see a player strike out four times in a game, just remember that even legends have an off day every now and then.