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Hat Trick: Baseball Hitting Terminology

Golden Sombrero Hat trickA hat trick is a baseball term that you dread hearing.  Like its hockey counterpart, the term involves the number three; that’s where the similarities end.  Three goals make up a hat trick in hockey.  Three strikeouts by the same hitter make up a hat trick in baseball.  The next time you see “Hat Trick” listed on the SportsCenter side bar for upcoming stories, make sure you know which sport it’s referring to before getting too excited.

Any game in which a player doesn’t get on base is a bad game at the plate.  If the batter struck out a few times in the process, then it is a really bad game.  If there were three strikeouts, the batter “achieved” a hat trick.  It is a taboo subject that isn’t mentioned by the hitter’s team usually.  One of the things players hate hearing about is the possibility of a hat trick or how it already happened.

If a player does accumulate the hat trick before the game is over, he may get more at-bats.  This can be a dreadful scenario for a guy who already has his confidence shot down the drain.  In the (un)likely event of a 4th strikeout, there is a term specifically for the 4-strikeout hitter: the Golden Sombrero.  Gold and sombreros by themselves are great, but together they are a huge disappointment for a baseball player.

After 4 strikeouts, it is unlikely a player will get another chance to hit in a game.  If he does, there are other terms for 5 and 6 strikeouts in a game such as titanium and platinum sombreros, but those are very uncommon.  The Golden Sombrero is heard more often than not, but the Hat Trick is the most common and a prerequisite for the others.

The great thing about baseball is that almost everybody has struck out 3 times in a game before.  A player can have the hat trick one game then have a walk-off home run the next.  It’s simply a part of the game that happens to the best of hitters.  When it does happen, steer clear of whoever it was striking out, because they might be making contact after all, only in the dugout instead of on the field.


  1. this is hilarious

  2. I’ve always wanted to see a team have generally sombrero in the dugout. Might as well make people laugh at the hat your team makes you wear than laughing at the accomplishment.

  3. Steven Bassett says:

    The old timers call 3 strikeouts a “Silver” sombrero. Baseball purest would never use another sports terminology as in “hat trick”.

    • Travis Coverston says:

      Not all baseball purists are old timers. There are multiple generations who have only known the term hat trick.

      • Steven Bassett says:

        Then how can you call someone a “purist” if that someone doesn’t study the history of a given subject?

        • Travis Coverston says:

          Your comment suggests that a Silver Sombrero is the only acceptable term for a player striking out 3 times. I have never heard that term used but it makes sense given that striking out 4 times is a Golden Sombrero. Hat Trick is a very commonly used term that has become the norm.

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