Guy Hecker

Hecker is the only pitcher ever to win a ML batting title. A hard thrower (when the regulation pitching distance was 50 feet), he often played first base or outfield for his mediocre Louisville team when he wasn’t pitching. Appearing in only 84 of the Colonels’ 136 games in 1886, he hit .342 to top Pete Browning by .002 and lead the league. In a game against Baltimore that year, he went 6-for-7, a record for pitchers; his seven runs scored in that game is still a record for any player. Three of his hits that day were inside-the-park home runs; this was the first three-homer game by a pitcher and the only three-homer game for any player in the American Association‘s ten-year existence as a major league. Hecker also won 27 games for sixth-place Louisville that year, but by then he was on the downgrade, each year slipping farther from his phenomenal 52-20 season of 1884, when he completed 72 games in 73 starts, pitched 670.2 innings, had 385 strikeouts, and compiled an estimated ERA of 1.80, all league-leading statistics.