KANSAS CITY: Lonnie Chisenhall’s historic bat is headed to Cooperstown and he won’t risk dinging it any further, even though his favorite Mizuno might still have some magic left.
In Monday night’s road victory over the Texas Rangers, Chisenhall became the first player to go 5 for 5 with three homers and nine RBI since the latter became a statistic in 1920. He joined three other major leaguers who had at least five hits, nine RBI and three homers in a game. The last was Boston’s Fred Lynn in 1975.
The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum contacted Chisenhall before the Indians faced the Kansas City Royals on Tuesday night. The 25-year-old infielder had already put aside his equipment, which he said he hopes to display in his house in “a big shrine.”
But he said he’d gladly surrender the bat so he could “give it to the game.” He hopes some day he can take his sons Cutter and Cannon to see it.
“Never in my career did I think the hall of fame would call and ask me for anything,” Chisenhall said. “Things just keep getting better and better. I can’t imagine things going up from here.”
Chisenhall said he’s been to the hall in Cooperstown, N.Y., once as a minor leaguer.
“To have any piece of equipment that I own or have worn or used, it’s a huge honor, it’s a huge accomplishment,” he said. “It’s a great thing for me, my family. Everybody’s so excited.”
Indians manager Terry Francona understands what Chisenhall feels like. He said the hall has his fleece jacket from the 2007 World Series victory while he was with the Red Sox.
“I’m sure Lonnie got a huge kick out of that,” Francona said.
The hall’s call did create a dilemma for Chisenhall. He had only two of his favorite models of bat with him on the 10-day road trip that started in Arlington, Texas, and ends in Boston. Now he has one. He hopes more can be shipped for the four-game series against the Red Sox that opens Thursday. Until then, he’s borrowing from Michael Brantley.
“They seem to be working OK for him this year,” Chisenhall said.
Chisenhall said he didn’t want to risk hitting with the record-setter against the Royals.
“For sure not,” he said. “I wouldn’t want to break it or put any extra marks on it or anything like that. It means too much to me.”
Teammates were thrilled for Chisenhall. He went into Tuesday batting .385, the highest in the majors among players with at least 175 plate appearances, and his 1.044 on-base plus slugging was second behind the Rockies’ Troy Tulowitzki (1.119).
“He’s played incredible. He’s really carried us,” designated hitter Jason Giambi said.
Asked if Chisenhall is having a breakout season, Giambi said: “I hope this is the player he is. I don’t want to call it luck. It’s a combination of a lot of hard work and he finally let go and started playing the game and not worrying about things he can’t control — whether it’s play first, play third, DH, hit ninth, hit fourth. Just play the game and have a good time. He’s having a great time.”