Just about every hitter knows what it’s like to have a game when they are in that proverbial zone and the baseball looks like a beach ball. But only a precious few know what it’s like to rake at a historic level in a game.
The Red Sox have had their share of monster individual hitting performances in club history, and here are the top five:
1. Fred Lynn
June 18, 1975, at Tigers
This was the signature night of center fielder Fred Lynn’s unforgettable rookie season. Playing at Tiger Stadium, Lynn simply went off, going 5-for-6 with three homers, a triple and 10 RBIs. The 16 total bases Lynn accumulated that night set a Red Sox record that hasn’t been broken.
The 10 RBIs tied him with three other players for a team record. There was never any doubt who would win this game, thanks to Lynn, who powered the Red Sox to a 15-1 victory.
He didn’t exactly ease into it, belting a two-run homer to bring home Carl Yastrzemski in the top of the first inning. In the second inning, Lynn smashed a three-run homer after Rick Burleson and Yaz set the table. In the third, Lynn smashed a two-run triple, giving him seven RBIs in the first three innings. After lining out in the fifth, Lynn had his only inconsequential hit of the night in the eighth, a single. In the ninth, he capped the epic performance with a three-run shot to right field. Lynn went on to win the American League Rookie of the Year Award and the AL MVP Award, becoming the first player in history to win both trophies in the same season.
2. Nomar Garciaparra
May 10, 1999, vs. Mariners
Shortstop Nomar Garciaparra was at the height of his powers for the Red Sox from 1997-2000, when he was an unstoppable force. Never was he better than on this night in 1999. Garciaparra mauled the Mariners with three homers, including two grand slams. He also had 10 RBIs as the Red Sox pounded the Mariners, 12-4, at Fenway Park. Ken Griffey Jr. had to be in awe as he watched the performance by his opponent from his position in center field.
Garciaparra got the party started early by ramming his first grand slam to the opposite field in the bottom of the first. In the third, he went the other way again, this time for a two-run rocket that made it a 6-2 game. Garciaparra capped the amazing performance in the bottom of the eighth by hammering a grand slam that soared over the Green Monster.
“What a special player this kid is for Boston,” gushed Red Sox manager Jimy Williams. “We’re just lucky that we get to watch him play.”
3. Bill Mueller
July 29, 2003, at Rangers
When the game started, the focus was on general manager Theo Epstein as he worked the phones ahead of his first Trade Deadline in Boston. Third baseman Bill Mueller swiftly put the focus on the field on this steamy night at The Ballpark in Arlington when he almost single-handedly beat the Rangers in a 14-7 slugfest.
A switch-hitter, Mueller smashed a grand slam from each side of the plate. It was part of a three-homer night for Mueller that included nine RBIs. Mueller remains the only player in MLB history to hit a slam from both sides of the plate in the same game.
In the middle of the game, Epstein held a conference call with reporters to discuss the acquisition of reliever Scott Williamson. As Mueller’s second grand slam was leaving the park, Epstein memorably shouted, “Get out, get out.”
4. Ted Williams
July 14, 1946, vs. Indians
In the first game of a doubleheader at Fenway Park against the Indians, left fielder Ted Williams Williams stole the show with three homers and eight RBIs. How much were those heroics needed from the Kid? The Red Sox won the game, 11-10. The Sox trailed, 5-0, when Williams belted a grand slam in the third inning to make it a one-run game. In the fifth, Williams mashed a solo shot that again got Boston within a run of the Indians at 8-7. Williams capped one of the most epic games of his career by ripping a three-run homer in the bottom of the eighth.
Special things happened for the Red Sox that season, as they won 104 games and Williams made the World Series for the only time in his brilliant career.
5. Rafael Devers
Aug. 13, 2019, at Indians
Third baseman Rafael Devers was dominant on this night at Progressive Field. The left-handed hitter went 6-for-6 with four doubles. Devers is the only player to have as many as six hits and four doubles in the same game. The Red Sox needed every one of those hits in a 7-6 victory that took 10 innings.