September 16, 1924 was “Sunny” Jim Bottomley’s sunniest day ever. The future Hall of Famer set a new MLB record with 12 RBI as the Cardinals destroyed Brooklyn at Ebbets Field, 17-3. The 24-year-old first baseman went 6-for-6, including a double and two home runs.
For the next 69 years, Bottomley remained alone on top with the record until another duplicated the performance. It was again a Cardinal. Mark Whiten joined him with a dozen RBI on September 7, 1993. The two still share the MLB record today.
Overshadowed by Rogers Hornsby early in his career, Bottomley was one of the most dominant hitters of his era. Four years after his 12-RBI feat, in 1928, he hit .325 with 31 home runs and 136 RBI, winning the National League Most Valuable Player Award.
Sunny Jim batted over .300 nine times in his 11 seasons with St. Louis and finished his career with a .310 lifetime batting average. The left-handed hitter drove in more than 100 runs six times with the Cardinals, and was one of the best defensive first basemen of his time.
Bottomley finished in the top three in the NL in batting average three times. He placed six times in the top six in slugging percentage. Four times he ranked in the top four in on-base plus slugging percentage.
Twice he led the league in doubles, extra-base hits, total bases and RBI plus once in home runs. He even once paced the National League in triples.
More important than stats was the fact that Bottomley was a winner. He helped lead the Cardinals to their first four World Series appearances – in 1926, 1928, 1930, and 1931 – including World Championships in 1926 and 1931.
This is a name that deserves to be on the left field wall at Busch Stadium.
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