No matter what happens for the rest of Lonnie Chisenhall's career — and it stands to be a very good one — it's highly unlikely we'll ever see again anything like what he did Monday night.
Chisenhall put on a "once-in-a-lifetime" performance for the Cleveland Indians, going 5 for 5 with three home runs and nine RBIs — the first major leaguer ever to do so — in a 17-7 thrashing of the Texas Rangers. Only three other players, and none since Fred Lynn in 1975, have ever collected at least that many hits, home runs and RBIs in a single game. Chisenhall is the only one ever to go a perfect 5 for 5 at the plate. RBIs became an official statistic in 1920.
Chisenhall hit a two-run homer in the second, another in the fourth and a three-run shot in the eighth in his final at-bat. He also had an RBI single in the first and an RBI double in the sixth.
The others with five hits, three homers and nine RBIs, according to STATS: Gil Hodges in 1950 and Walker Cooper for the Reds in 1949.
Chisenhall's tongue-in-cheek nickname of "Lonnie Baseball" — it rhymes with Don Mattingly's "Donnie Baseball" — was given to him by MLB.com reporter Jordan Bastian. Chisenhall earned it for real against the Rangers.
Lonnie Baseball: "It's a rare feat. I'm happy to have accomplished it. I know a day like today is kind of a once-in-a-lifetime thing."
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) June 10, 2014
A performance like this might be awesomely fluky, but it hasn't come out of nowhere. Chisenhall, 25, isn't familiar to a lot of fans, but he's been developing as one of Cleveland's top young players the past few seasons. After his second five-hit game of the 2014 season, he's batting .385/.429/.615 with seven home runs. He's 17 plate appearances shy of qualifying for the batting leaders but, even if he went 0 for 17, he'd still lead the league in batting average at .348.
How else was his game historic?
• Chisenhall's was the first nine-RBI game in the majors since Carlos Delgado in 2008.
• His was the first three-homer, nine-RBI game since A-Rod in 2005.
• The Indians had only one other nine RBI game in their history, by Chris James in 1991.
It's too much to say that this is a sign of things to come. But could he be an All-Star? Sure. Could he be the best hitter at his position in the majors someday? Even right now, except for Josh Donaldson? Yep. He's Lonnie Baseball, baby! The sky's the limit.
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