Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams…and Bo Bichette? It sounds odd, but that’s the company Bichette is keeping so far in his career
The Toronto Blue Jays, 0-10 with runners in scoring position so far against the New York Yankees, needed a saviour, and who better than a smooth-swinging shortstop who’s quickly playing his way alongside baseball’s legendary names.
Bo Bichette, already with a home run and a single Wednesday in Dunedin, came to the plate leading off the bottom of the ninth inning to face Yankees’ reliever Chad Green, the game tied 4-4. On Green’s fourth pitch, a curveball, Bichette hit a 385-foot fly over the wall in right-centre to send the Blue Jays to a 5-4 win.
Bichette has been a fixture in the Blue Jays lineup for so long now that it’s easy to forget this was only his 87th career game, barely half a season’s worth. But what a start he’s had.
His two home runs on Wednesday gave him 14 games with multiple extra-base hits in his career, tying Joe DiMaggio for most in MLB history. Only DiMaggio, Ted Williams, Jose Abreu, and Yordan Alvarez had more extra-base hits through 87 games than Bichette’s 52; DiMaggio and Williams are baseball immortals, while Abreu is an AL MVP.
With his 3-5 performance, Bichette also extended his hitting streak to 11 consecutive games dating back to April 3. “I feel pretty good. Just try to slow things down. You know, worked out today,” he told Sportsnet after his walk-off home run. “Just trusting our ability. Just pressing a little bit earlier…myself and some other guys. But just knowing how good we are I think slowed the game down a little bit.”
Bichette is now hitting .327 through 12 games this season; his 1.011 OPS is second among shortstops behind the Dodgers’ Corey Seager. His three hits give him 114 for his career, 13 more than any other player in Blue Jays franchise history after 87 games (Alex Rios had 101). He was the fastest in franchise history to 100 career hits by seven games, reaching the milestone in only his 78th game. He’s the first Blue Jays player with four multi-homer games this far into his career and already has two this year.
Nearly 6,000 players have debuted in the big league since 1995. Among them, only Ichiro Suzuki and Hunter Pence had more hits than Bichette through their first 87 games. He’s already cementing his place in baseball history, and he’s still just 23 years old.
Bichette still has a long way to go before he matches the career of the Hall of Famers and MVPs he’s now alongside; DiMaggio finished his career with 145 multi-extra base hit games. But he’s off to an incredible start, and he’s still young enough and inexperienced enough to get even better.