Pirate's Rennie Stennett Goes 7 for 7 in 22-0 Blowout Against Cubs in 1975
48 years ago in Chicago, the Pittsburgh Pirates had an afternoon game against the Chicago Cubs. It was a record setting day in several ways. What stood out about that game was not just the lopsided final score that resulted in a Pittsburgh victory as they scored 22 runs and shut out the Cubs.
Moreso however was the play of Rennie Stennett. On that day, the Pirates second baseman came to the plate that afternoon seven times and with each at-bat he stroked a hit. Seven at-bats and seven hits. He became the only player since 1900 to achieve seven hits in a nine-inning game. One curious fact about the game is that the Cubs sent Rick Reuschel to the mound as a pitcher and later in the game his brother Paul pitched in relief and Stennett had a hit against both.
The final 22-0 score was the largest margin in a shutout in Major League history dating back to 1900. Prior to 1900 the Baltimore Orioles Wilbert Robinson duplicated the feat of seven hits in a single game and while there was one other player with seven hits, Stennett remains the only player to do it in a nine-inning game.
Of Stennett’s seven hits, two were doubles and he added a triple. His batting average after the close of this game was .287. In addition to the seven hits, Stennett has 11 total bases and scored five times as well as knocking in two runs. On the field he added four putouts. But Stennett was not the only Pirate with a big day. Star right fielder Dave Parker had a career day at the plate as well.
“The Cobra” as Parker was known had four at-bats and banged out just two hits, but they resulted in five RBIs, and he scored three times. Parker, like Stennett, also came to the plate seven times, one of which resulted in him being walked. Parker was hit by a pitch on one plate appearance and scoring a sacrifice hit on another. One of Parker’s hits was a home run. Incredibly, there were just two home runs in the game, Parker’s blast and one by Richie Hebner.
Hall of famer Willie Stargell contributed to the massacre with three hits in four at-bats with two runs scored and three RBIs. Aside from Hebner’s home run, he added two more hits and knocked in three runs, also scoring thrice. As a team, the Pirates hit Chicago pitchers around for 24 hits while scoring those 22 runs and their team batting average for the game was an incredible .453. Cubs’ pitchers walked six Pirates batters while striking out only five.
Light hitting shortstop Frank Taveras managed to have three hits in six at-bats all while carrying an average that rose to just .213 following this blowout. Every other starter had at least one hit as Al Oliver and Bob Robertson were the only starters with just one hit not counting starting pitcher John Candelaria. The Pirates in the end left 12 men on base.
For Chicago, their only three hits came off the bats of Jose Cardenal, Andre Thornton, and Dave Rosello. All three hits were singles. As for Cubby pitchers they had a disastrous day. Starter Rick Reuschel who took the loss to drop his season record to 10-16 lasted just 1/3 of an inning in the first as the visiting Buccos scored nine times in the opening frame. Unable to get anyone out, Reuschel surrendered six hits and gave up eight earned runs as well as walking two batters.
Relieving Reuschel was Tom Dettore who lasted 3 2/3 innings but gave up seven hits and another eight runs, seven of them earned. One of the hits he gave up was a round tripper and he walked two. After Dettore came Oscar Zamora, who pitched for just one inning and gave up two more runs. There would be two more Chicago pitchers making an appearance and they were Buddy Schultz as the Pirates hit him hard with six hits and four runs, two of them earned. Finally, there was the starting pitcher’s brother Paul Reuschel who pitched the final two innings and unlike the pitchers before him, did not surrender any runs.
In breaking down the inning-by-inning scoring, Pittsburgh scored nine in the first, two in the third, another in the fourth, six in the fifth, and two in each of the sixth and seventh innings. Perhaps Chicago Cubs fans had a premonition of what was going to take place because there were only 4,932 fans in attendance where for most games the crowds are much bigger.
The game took two hours and 35 minutes to complete and with the victory Pittsburgh improved to a season record of 86-64 and found themselves six games ahead of the Philadelphia Phillies in the National League’s East Division. This was the same division the Cubs were in and Chicago on this day remained in fifth place in the East with a record of 72-80 15 games behind Pittsburgh.
Pittsburgh’s 22-0 victory may have been the largest margin of victory in baseball history when it resulted in a shutout, but it pales in comparison to what the Texas Rangers accomplished in 2007 when they defeated the Baltimore Orioles 30-3. That sounds like a football score! Here are some other notable blowouts:
- June 4, 1911. The Cincinnati Reds defeated the Boston Rustlers 26-3. For Cincinnati they set a record by having all 13 players who stepped to the plate to score at least once. No team has ever accomplished the feat in a single game since.
- May 24, 1936. New York Yankees 25 Philadelphia A’s 2. I guess you could say Philadelphia scored a safety. That is if this was football. While hall of famers Lou Gehrig, Bill Dickey, and Joe DiMaggio were not the big hitters in this game, it was Tony Lazzeri who smacked four hits in five at-bats that included three home runs and an incredible 11 RBIs.
- August 12, 1948. Cleveland Indians 26 St. Louis Browns 3. The common theme here continues that the losing team hardly scored while getting their butts whooped.
- April 23, 1955. Chicago White Sox 29 Kansas City Athletics 6. After just two innings the score here was already 11-3 in favor of Chicago.
- July 7, 1923. Cleveland Indians 27 Boston Red Sox 3. The second appearance on this list by the Indians and the city of Boston again. With Cleveland ahead 8-0 the Indians brought in Lefty O’Doul as a relief pitcher who proceeded to surrender 16 runs in just three innings.
- June 8, 1950. Boston Red Sox 29 St. Louis Browns 4. The Red Sox finally made it to the winning side of a blowout and this one preceded the Pirates 22-0 victory over Chicago as the most lopsided score in a Major League Baseball game.
- June 24, 2023. Los Angeles Angels 25 Colorado Rockies 1. Team records for the Angels were set on this night putting into their record books the most runs scored in a single game as well as most hits ever with 28. They also set the team mark for largest margin of victory and single game record for runs scored and home runs in one game. On the flip side, the 13-run third inning by the Angels was the most runs given up in one inning in history by the Colorado Rockies, a dubious team record.
All other blowouts in professional baseball took place pre-1900 and the results were:
- 5/13/1876: Hartford Dark Blues 28 New York Mutuals 3
- 5/27/1876: New York Gothams 24 Buffalo Bisons 0
- 7/24/1882: Chicago White Stockings 35 Cleveland Blues 4
- 6/20/1883: Boston Beaneaters 29 Philadelphia Quakers 4
- 7/3/1883: Chicago White Stockings 31 Buffalo Bisons 7
- 7/6/1883: Cincinnati Red Stockings 23 Baltimore Orioles 0
- 8/21/1883: Providence Grays 28 Philadelphia Quakers 0
- 6/24/1886: Brooklyn Grays 25 Baltimore Orioles 1
- 6/11/1887: New York Giants 26 Washington Nationals 2
- 6/15/1887: New York Giants 29 Philadelphia Quakers 1
- 6/28/1887: Philadelphia Quakers 24 Indianapolis Hoosiers
- 8/25/1891: Chicago Colts 28 Brooklyn Grooms 5
- 9/10/1891: Milwaukee Brewers 30 Washington Senators 3
- 8/1/1893: Pittsburgh Pirates 25 St. Louis Browns 2
- 8/17/1894: Philadelphia Phillies 29 Louisville Colonels 4
- 6/29/1897: Chicago Colts 36 Louisville Colonels 7