Alex Rios' stock was one of many, many things that took a turn in the wrong direction for the White Sox over the last month. He figured to be the Sox's best for-sale item, but a flat few weeks (.193/.244/.253 over 22 games) took some of the shine off him.
Tuesday night, Rios made up quite a bit of ground:
He jumped on Justin Verlander early, becoming the first player to ever rack up four hits in a game against Detroit's ace. He tacked on a couple more hits against the Detroit bullpen late (including a favorable scoring decision) to cap off an incredible night: 6-for-6, including a triple and a couple of stolen bases.
In the process, he raised his average from .267 to .281 for one night's work, and thanks to a Prince Fielder miscue that wasn't an error, he became just the fifth White Sox since 1916 to rack up a half-dozen hits in one game.
Using Baseball-Reference.com to find the rest, here's a look at exclusive company Rios joined on Tuesday:
One Dog went 6-for-6 with four runs scored and four RBI as the White Sox thrashed the Twins 14-4, and sure, it was great that he became the first Sox player in 33 years to collect a half-dozen hits. But in the process of setting that mark, he became the first White Sox player ever to hit three triples in one game, tying the AL record in the process. Only Rafael Furcal (2002) and Denard Span (2010) have done it since.
In the process he overshadowed a five-hit game by Robin Ventura.
Floyd Robinson had a nice White Sox career, batting over .300 in three of his six full seasons, and hitting .287/.370/.416 (121 OPS+) from 1960 through 1966. The season in question, 1962, was his finest year, as he hit .312/.384/.475 and led the American League with 45 doubles. He also set career bests in triples (10), runs (89), RBI (109), and, of course, hits.
During this day game against Boston, all six of his hits were single, and he only had one run and one RBI to show for it. However, he factored into all three of the Pale Hose's scoring innings. He raised his average to .319 and his OPS to .854, and he finished the season in that neighborhood.
Of the five players on this list, Hank Steinbacher is easily the most obscure. His major-league career lasted just 203 games over three seasons, all of them with the Whtie Sox. In 1938, though, the 25-year-old outfielder broke out with a career year, hitting .331/.393/.459. His batting average was good for the seventh-best in the American League, and he certainly boosted it during a 16-3 thrashing of the Washington Senators.
Steinbacher entered the game stuck in a 2-for-21 slump, and after spending his first 50 games batting third, Jimmie Dykes tried to shake him (and his team) out of the collective malaise by moving him up one spot in the order.
It seemed to work, as Steinbacher went 6-for-6 with five singles and a double, exceeding the White Sox's entire hit total from the game before. Fittingly, he overshadowed the performance by the guy whose team record he matched.
Radcliff, who drove in six RBI during Steinbacher's big day, became the first Sox to collect six hits two years earlier in a 21-14 victory in the second game of a doubleheader against the Philadelphia Athletics.
His inclusion on this list isn't surprising, as Radcliff was a terrific contact hitter who hit .311 and averaged just 20 strikeouts a season. He got a late start to his career, establishing himself as a big-league regular at the age of 29 in 1935.
One year later, he was an All-Star. Radcliff hit .335/.381/.447 as the White Sox's leadoff man in 1936, and he sits in fourth place on the White Sox's single-season leaderboard in hits (207) and runs (120).
He padded both totals against Connie Mack's pitiful A's, going 6-for-7 with four runs scored and four RBI. The effort raised his average to .383, displacing Lou Gehrig as the league leader while putting him 19 points ahead of teammate Luke Appling in the race for the batting crown. Appling would win out, as that was the year he hit .388, while Radcliff tailed off over the final two months. But Appling never got six hits in one game, so, there's that.
For those of you who like old-timey baseball writing, the Chicago Daily Tribune's recap from the next day is full of it:
The midget White Sox fly chaser blossomed forth as the league's choicest hitter for the time being by exploding six hits in seven attempts in the second battle, after being held to one safety in five appearances during the initial struggle. [...]
Radcliff's lone single in the first battle didn't figure in the run production. But he doubled and scored in the second inning of this affair. He rolled into a forecout in the fourth, but in the fifth singled as part of a wild seven run blast that put the Sox ahead for keeps. In the sixth he singled again, driving in two runs. He singled in the eighth to drive in another. And in the ninth he touched off his second two bagger which helped in the scoring of four more. All this happened against four Mack pitchers, none of whom deserves mention.