ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- Wednesday night, Magneuris Sierra tied a franchise record. The rookie picked up his seventh hit in seven games, tying the best-ever streak to begin a Cardinal career.*
He’s notched eleven hits, all singles, and has an average of .367 over the course of the streak, making the most of his speed to turn light contact into heavy headaches for opposing pitchers.
According to the organization, three other men have begun their career with at least one hit in each of their first seven games.
Sierra joins Terry Pendleton, Enos Slaughter and Bo Hart at the seven-game-plateau and may have a chance to hold the record alone this weekend.
It’s interesting company to keep, complete with a Hall of Famer, an MVP and batting title winner, and a Double-A Cinderella story who is now an IT company employee in Memphis, Tennessee.
So how does Mags the Mighty stack up to his new peers?
Undeniably the most impressive name on this list, Slaughter would be a perfect goal for Sierra to shoot for.
A 10-time All Star, Slaughter won four World Series titles, two with St. Louis (1942, 1946). His image is emblazoned on the outfield wall at Busch along with other Cardinal greats whose numbers are retired.
He hit .300 for his career, and at different times led the league in hits, doubles, triples (twice) and RBIs. In 1946, he played in 156 games (most in the league) and drove in 130 RBIs. He accrued a career OPS+ of 124 even though he gave up three years of his prime to fight in WWII. He earned his spot in Cooperstown.
How he started:
When Slaughter was a spry 21-year-old, he debuted for the Cards on April 19, 1938. He announced himself to the MLB with a three-hit day including a double. The next game, a day later, he went for three hits again, this time with a homer and three RBIs.
In total, his seven-game streak saw him rack up 13 hits with three doubles and a homer. He drove in seven runs and posted a .382 average with a 1.012 OPS. Pretty good.
Pendleton played the first seven years of his 15-year career in St. Louis, winning two Gold Gloves, but fizzling toward the end of his time with the Cards. His first year playing for Atlanta, 1991, he won the MVP. The next year he won a Gold Glove and was an All-Star, but finished second in MVP voting.
He would end up playing in five World Series, but never getting a ring. Pendleton was up and down, but still managed to hit .270 for his career, a respectable mark for any major leaguer.
How he started:
Pendleton was 24 for two days when he debuted, and went 3-for-5 his first day on the job. He’d finish the seven game run with 12 hits, two doubles and two RBIs. His average? .414. His OPS? .934.
Where were you when Bo Hart burst on the scene? Hitting .249 for Double-A New Haven, Hart leapt all the way to the majors to replace an injured Fernando Vina (and subsequently Miguel Cairo). What followed was one of the most improbable runs in baseball history.
How he started:
He debuted with a double and a triple on April 19, 2002. The next game it was a double and a single. Then, a triple and two singles. Bo Hart was a relentless machine. He was making high-flying plays in the field at second base and hitting anything in the same zip code as home plate.
He was Rogers Hornsby reincarnated, if only for a moment.
When the dust settled after seven games, Hart had 18 hits, including two doubles, two triples and a homer. He was hitting .515 and had an OPS a whisper under 1.300.
Hart would actually hit well over .300 during his first 40 games and finish the year at .277, but the league eventually figured out his weaknesses.
He bounced around the minors for a time, but left the game in 2008. He now works for an IT staffing company in Memphis Tennessee and announces Memphis Redbirds games. But for a brief run in 2002, Bo Hart was the most fearsome hitter in baseball.
Despite the Cardinals’ official list of franchise record holders, ESPN announced on Twitter there is actually one man who stands alone: Homer Smoot.
Magneuris Sierra: Hit in each of 1st 7 MLB games. Only Cardinals player in modern era w/longer streak to begin a career: Homer Smoot in 1902 pic.twitter.com/TAV6qekYMj— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 18, 2017
There are no game logs from contests played around the turn of the century when he played, so details on Homer Smoot (undeniably a premium baseball name) and his eight-game debut hit streak are scarce. But here’s what we do know:
In 1902, Homer Smoot (it gets better every time) got his MLB shot with the Cardinals. Born just 13 years after the conclusion of the Civil War, he was 24 years old when he became the 2,345th player in baseball history. Perhaps he celebrated with a shave, as the razor was invented just one year earlier. Maybe the Cardinals kept him cool pregame with the newfangled “air conditioner,” invented that same year.
Though he was born in Galestown, Maryland, he certainly didn’t fly to Missouri. The airplane was still a year away from existing when Smoot debuted.
The rookie would (allegedly) hit safely in eight straight games to start his career, but ultimately last only four years. Reasons for his decline range from bad luck, to declining eyesight to muscular rheumatism. He finished his career hitting .290 with 15 homers, which was prolific power in that era (Hammerin’ Homer Smoot had four of the Cardinals’ eight homers in 1903).
He finished with four homers again in 1905 (same year the Theory of Relativity was conceived) and finished his short career with Cincinnati in 1906. Perhaps he soothed the sting of an early retirement with a fresh bowl of Corn Flakes, which was the hot new food item on the market that year.