Hey, we've finally got another big TDAH this week. On this date, from the infancy of the Astros franchise, a young Joe Morgan set a record that has stood for 46 years now in a 9-8 loss to the Milwaukee Braves in 12 innings at County Stadium.
Morgan collected six hits in this game, going 6 for 6 and batting leadoff for the Astros. No other hitter in Houston history has had six hits in a game, much less more than six. Morgan also came within a triple of hitting for the cycle with two home runs, two doubles and two singles, adding a stolen base four runs scored and three RBIs.
Morgan led off the game with a solo home run as part of an inning where Houston took a quick 3-0 lead. A Hank Aaron home run in the bottom of the first cut into that lead. I mention only because it's a Hank Aaron home run. Morgan picked up his second hit of the afternoon, both of Braves' starter Tony Cloninger. He was quickly caught stealing, erasing Houston's threat.
It took Morgan until the top of the fifth to pick up his third hit, taking Cloninger deep again for a two-run home run. The Braves had tied it in the meantime, so Morgan's blast gave the Astros a 5-3 lead again. Morgan led off the seventh with a double off Dick Kelley, scoring two batters later on a Jim Gentile single.
In the top of the ninth, Morgan singled after Dave Giusti led off the inning with a single and scored three batters later on a Rusty Staub single. That hit made Morgan just the second player in franchise history to get five hits in a game, after Bob Aspromonte did it in the inaugural season against the Mets.
Phil Niekro served up the sixth hit for Morgan in the 11th inning. Two batters later, Morgan stole second, followed by a pair of walks to load the bases. Unfortunately, Aspromonte flew out to center field, ending the Astros last big threat. The game ended when Frank Bolling's single scored Mike de la Hoz from second in the bottom of the 12th.
Morgan joins a club of 91 players in major league history to record six hits in a game. Of those, only 15 have also hit two home runs in the same game and Morgan is the only one of those players to also steal a base. The list is impressive and includes such luminaries as Ty Cobb, Jimmie Foxx, Cal Ripken and George Sisler, but also includes lesser names like Joe Randa, Frank Catalanotto and Skip Schumaker. I'm not trying to belittle the accomplishment, just putting it into context.
Here's the graphic replay of the game, thanks to Back to Baseball.