What Is the Golden Sombrero?
The Golden Sombrero
Some awards are simply not worth winning; even to be avoided. The Raspberries for worst films for example. Baseball is no exception. One of most unflattering honors in the sport is the Golden Sombrero. While a sombrero is one cool hat, and most things golden denote some level of worthy achievement, the combination of the two is something ballplayers try to avoid.
History of the Hat
A hat trick is indicative of something that occurs three times in an event. In hockey, it is when a player scores three goals in a game; a good thing. In baseball, it is when a batter strikes out three times during the game. It's not all that uncommon for even the best slugger to have a few hat trick games per season; but it can actually get worse. Those who have a a particularly bad night at the plate and strike out four times are awarded the fictitious Golden Sombrero. The origins of the infamous award can be traced back to Carmelo Martinez of the San Diego Padres who coined the phrase in the 1980s. If a hat trick was three strikeouts, then a four strikeout game needed a bigger and better hat. The term first appeared in print in 1984.
No One is Immune
Even the best batters have had the distinction of winning the Golden Sombrero. In fact, some of the game's greatest hitters have won more than their fair share. Ryan Howard and Reggie Jackson, both some of the best long ball hitters in the history of the game, are number one and number two respectively on the list of most games with four strikes. Two hall-of-famers are in the top five Golden Sombrero recipients.
It's Not Always a Terrible Outing
While striking out four times in one game is embarrassing, it does not always translate to a bad performance. When Evan Longoria was with the Tampa Bay Rays, he struck out four times in six at bats; his other two plate appearances resulted in home runs. Derek Norris of the San Diego Padres also struck out four times in a game, but his last at bat was a walk off grand slam; becoming the first Golden Sombrero winner to do so. Nothing like a grand slam will make fans forget a gaggle of strikeouts.
It Could be Worse....Much Worse
Think winning a Golden Sombrero is a bad night? It could be worse. While the Golden Sombrero is the most awarded strikeout rich performance, the Platinum Sombrero is reserved for those that accumulate five whiffs in game. But could a player have such bad luck as to strikeout six times in a game? Yep, those rare gems of performance get handed the Titanium Sombrero. Trust me when I tell you that you won't find any of those awards in a player's display case.