Today in Tribe History: June 15, 1980
Bob Toth | On 15, Jun 2016
Cleveland outfielder Jorge Orta joins the short lift of Major Leaguers to get six hits in a nine-inning ball game as the Indians thump the Minnesota Twins, 14-5.
Orta became just the 24th American League player and 45th player in MLB history to record the six-hit feat and was the first to do so since Rennie Stennett had seven knocks for Pittsburgh on September 16, 1975 (the first and only player to get seven hits in regulation). The Indians outfielder was the sixth Clevelander to accomplish the hitting achievement, joining Zaza Harvey (1902), Frank Brower (1923), George Burns (1924), Bruce Campbell (1936), and Jim Fridley (1952). Like each of his predecessors for the city, he completed his with a perfect 6-for-6 effort at the plate.
The first-year Indians outfielder, an All-Star in 1975 during the middle of his eight seasons with the Chicago White Sox, hit second and jumped on Minnesota’s Darrell Jackson for a single in the first. He would scored three batters later on a three-run home run from Toby Harrah to give the Indians a 3-2 lead. Orta added a single in the second and his two-out double in the fourth set up an RBI-double from Mike Hargrove to make it a 5-2 game.
With the score 7-3, he led off the bottom of the sixth with a single off of Fernando Arroyo and later scored on a bases loaded RBI-single from Harrah. Orta led off the seventh with his fifth hit, a single off of Mike Kinnunen, and scored on Harrah’s fourth hit and seventh RBI of the game. Up third in the eighth, Orta made it a six-hit game with a two-out single, but he would be stranded at third after Hargrove’s third double of the day.
“I never get six hits before,” Orta was quoted in The Plain Dealer on June 16, 1980. “There’s not much I can say about it. Lately, I just been swinging, hitting the ball and the ball has been going for a hit. That’s all.”
The historic game from Orta, who had signed a five-year, $1.5 million deal with the Indians prior to the season, pushed his batting average up 22 points to .339 on the season and put him on a 12-for-24 pace with seven RBI over the week. He made the All-Star season the next month, but remained an Indian only through the 1981 season. He was dealt that December with Jack Fimple and Larry White to the Los Angeles Dodgers for Jack Perconte and Rick Sutcliffe.
Orta’s teammate in Kansas City and future Indians player Kevin Seitzer would become the next player to get six hits in a game on August 2, 1987, less than two months after Orta’s final big league game with the Royals. Omar Vizquel is the only other Indians player to get six hits in a nine-inning game, doing so in seven at bats on August 31, 2004.