On May 21, 2013, a player was hitless on eight bats, sparking a terrible night at the plate. For the minor league outfielder, it was the most useless offensive performance in organized baseball history.
You see, not only did he go hitless on those eight trips, but he struck out seven times. That septet of puffs left Dusty Robinson with the ignominious record for the majority in a single game but, with the tremendous increase in strikeouts in America’s current pastime format, it could well be broken this season.
Believe it or not, Robinson’s Stockdale Ports won that game, beating their California League rival at Lake Elsinore by a score of eleven to nine. It probably helped that Stockdale had the services of a shortstop named Addison Russell, who would win the league’s Rookie of the Year award that season.
Despite the record number of strikeouts that game suffered, Robinson himself was a key part of Ports’ offense that season. He led the club with twenty-one home runs and sixty-four RBIs, numbers even better than future Cubs star Russell.
Unfortunately, his inability to make constant contact is reflected in his batting average for that 2013 season, as Robinson finished that year with solo. 210. The 23-year-old was discharged by the organization that winter, and had to seek freelance baseball work.
He spent 2014 and 2015 with the Rockford Aviators of the Frontier League, and the following season he dressed for the Schaumberg Boomers in the same league. Robinson, after falling to a .106 batting average, was out of professional baseball last year.
Even in his early twenties, Robinson could resurface somewhere in the game. After all, Major League Baseball is currently in an era where no one blinks at the number of times a batter blows. One of its highest-paid stars, Giancarlo Stanton of the New York Yankees, struck out five times in a nine-inning game last month.
Stanton was just many of the reasons that April was the first month in baseball history in which the number of strikeouts was greater than the number of base hits. The month of May has shown the same trend so far, so no one will be surprised when Robinson’s record of seven strikeouts is broken at the Major League level.