On May 21, 2013, a player went hitless in eight bats, making for a terrible night at the plate. For the Minor league outfielder, it was the most futile offensive performance in the history of organized baseball.
You see, not only did he go without a hit in those eight trips, but he struck out seven times. That septet of whiffs left Dusty Robinson with the ignominious record for most in a single game but, with the tremendous increase in strike outs in the current format of America’s pastime, it could very well be broken this season.
Believe it or not, Robinson’s Stockdale Ports won that game, beating their California League rival in Lake Elsinore by the score of eleven to nine. It most likely helped that Stockdale had the services of a shortstop named Addison Russell, who would go on to win the league Rookie of the Year award that season.
In spite of the record number of strikeouts he suffered that game, Robinson himself was a key part of the Ports offense that season. He led the club with twenty one home runs and sixty four runs batted in, numbers even better than those of future Cubs star Russell.
Unfortunately, his inability to make consistent contact is reflected in his batting average for that 2013 season, as Robinson finished that year hitting just .210. The 23 year old was released by the organization during that winter, and had to seek a job in independent ball.
He spent 2014 and 2015 with the Rockford Aviators of the Frontier League, and the following season he suited up for the Schaumberg Boomers in the same league. Robinson, after sinking to a .106 batting average, was out of professional baseball last year.
Still only in his twenties, Robinson could resurface somewhere in the game. After all, Major League Baseball is currently in an era where no one blinks an eye at how many times a batter whiffs. One of its highest paid stars, Giancarlo Stanton of the New York Yankees, just last month struck out five times in a nine inning game.
Stanton was just many of the reasons why April was the first month in the history of baseball in which the number of strikeouts was higher than the number of base hits. The month of May has so far shown the same trend, so no one will be surprised when Robinson’s record of seven strikeouts gets broken at the Big League level.