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Greatest Cardinals Moment: Bottomley’s 12 RBIs vs Laga’s foul ball

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Jim Bottomley’s 12 RBI Game

Jim Bottomley is a bit of a forgotten name in Cardinal history, even though he was the team’s first MVP and one of the first fruits of the first farm system in baseball. Bottomley broke into the bigs in 1922 and stayed a Cardinal until 1932, when he was traded to the Reds. He bounced around for about five more years and wound up on the Browns to end his career, finishing up as the player-manager of the team.

While Bottomley is a big fixture in the early years of the club, the largest impact he made was on September 16, 1924. In a game against the Brooklyn Dodgers, Bottomley drove in 12 runs, a National League record that still stands today. Ironically, when it was tied, it was by another Cardinal, when Mark Whiten hit four homers to produce the same number of RBI.

Bottomley didn’t do it in quite as powerful a fashion, but he was pounding the ball all day long that September afternoon. His first time up, he had a two-run single with the bases loaded. In the second, he doubled in another run. In the fourth, he cleared the bases with a grand slam homer. Two innings later, a two-run blast. He had another two-run single in the seventh and capped the day with a run-scoring single in the ninth. All in all, Bottomley went 6-6 with two homers and, as noted, a dozen runs batted in.

Sunny Jim had had himself a day, one that has lasted for almost 100 years.

Mike Laga’s Foul Ball

When you think about the teams in the 1980s, you think of speed, not power. You think of Ozzie Smith, Willie McGee, Vince Coleman. Maybe your mind goes to Jack Clark or Tony Pena, John Tudor or Danny Cox.

But Mike Laga? A guy that had about 450 plate appearances in a nine-year career? What the heck is a guy like that doing on a list like this?

Baseball history and legends aren’t always about the stars. And while Laga’s feat didn’t impact a game, it still is a historic moment that no one ever duplicated and now nobody ever will.

On September 15, 1986, almost exactly 64 years to the day of Bottomley’s game, Laga was playing some first base, probably giving Clark a night off. He got a pitch and smashed it somewhere nobody ever had before or would since–out of Busch Stadium.

Now, to be fair, it was a foul ball that left the confines of Busch II, but still, it was a remarkable feat that is now legendary and, in truth, probably the only reason anyone remembers Mike Laga’s name.

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