GARY, IN. 6-14-2010 – Becoming just the third professional baseball player to hit home runs in five consecutive at bats – and doing it all in the same day, no less – was enough to earn Gary SouthShore RailCats outfielder Cristian Guerrero the Northern League’s Player of the Week award, it was announced today.
Wednesday, June 9 at Road Ranger Stadium in Rockford, Guerrero went on a power binge nearly unprecedented in over 100 years of professional baseball history. The Dominican slugger went deep in his last two plate appearances of the first game of a doubleheader, then hit three home runs – on three consecutive pitches – in his first three trips during the nightcap. The RailCats swept both games en route to a series sweep of the RiverHawks and Guerrero made national headlines, including on Jayson Stark’s ESPN baseball blog and in esteemed industry publication Ballpark Digest.
No Major League Baseball player had ever hit home runs in five consecutive plate appearances, and only two – Stan Musial (1952) and Nate Colbert (1974) – had ever hit five home runs during a doubleheader. Guerrero’s achievement is made all the more impressive considering Northern League doubleheaders are comprised of two seven inning games. By going deep three times in game two, Guerrero also became the first RailCats hitter to homer three times in a single game.
Only twice before has a professional baseball player left the yard in five straight plate appearances, the last coming in 1996 when Corey Parker did it for the Bangor Blue Ox of the Northeast (now Can-Am) League. The feat was first accomplished – over the span of two days – by Dolph Regelski of the Meridian (Miss.) Millers (a long defunct Baltimore Orioles farm team) in the early 1950s.
Guerrero finished the doubleheader 5-for-8 with eight RBI and six runs scored, driving in six of his eight runs in game two. Guerrero’s five home runs June 9 matched the RailCats season total through the first 17 games of the year, and vaulted Guerrero into second place on the team’s all-time career home run list with 33 in two-plus seasons. The first cousin of Major League All-Star Vladmir Guerrero, Cristian has hit 131 home runs in a 13-year professional career that started when Guerrero was just 17 in 1998. Guerrero reached as high as Triple-A in the affiliated minor leagues during stints with the Milwaukee Brewers, Seattle Mariners, Los Angeles Angels and Washington Nationals organizations.
Guerrero is the first RailCats player to earn the Northern League’s Player of the Week award this year, following Brandon Magee’s Pitcher of the Week award last week. This is Guerrero’s second Player of the Week award as a RailCat. He was first feted on June 29, 2008.
Guerrero and the RailCats (13-10) are in Kansas City, Kan. tonight to open a four-game series against the T-Bones (13-9). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. and all the play-by-play will be carried live on 89.1 FM, The Lakeshore, and online at www.railcatsbaseball.com.