Whether it’s showboating, bat-licking or simply antagonizing the opposition, Yasiel Puig has been a polarizing player ever since he came from Cuba to the Dodgers in 2013.
But love him or loathe him, there’s never been any question he could hit, and on this day in béisbol, Sept. 15, 2018, Puig showed what kind of force he could be down the pennant stretch.
In a crucial game against the Cardinals, he banged out three home runs — a solo shot in the fourth inning, a three-run dinger in the fifth and another in the eighth — to power a 17-4 win that moved Los Angeles a half-game past the Rockies in the NL West.
Puig’s performance followed a two-homer game in a 3-0 victory over the Redbirds.
The Dodgers won the pennant but lost the World Series to Boston in five games. Puig, who hit 23 HR in 2018, was part of a seven-player trade that winter that sent him to the Cincinnati Reds.
Also on this day: In 2012, shortstop Jose Reyes of the Marlins is part of a dubious record — he’s charged with the 500,000th error in MLB history when he boots a ground ball in a game against the Reds.
In 2019, David Ortiz’s homer in Boston’s 4-1 win over the Angels is his 270th as a DH, breaking the record held by Frank Thomas.
And in 2003, Rafael Palmeiro is the second player with 35 homers and 100 ribbies in nine consecutive seasons. Hall of Famer Jimmy Foxx did it for the Philadelphia Athletics and Boston Red Sox from 1932 to 1940.
— Robert Dominguez
Robert Dominguez is co-author of “Bronx Bummers: The Unofficial History of the New York Yankees’ Bad Boys, Blunders and Brawls” and writer of the upcoming “El Salón: The Trials and Triumphs of Baseball’s Latino Hall of Famers.”
Photo: Derral Chen — Under Creative Commons License