Everidge scores a perfect 10
Oakland prospect reaches double digits in RBIs to win MiLBY
Tommy Everidge may not have looked stylish while driving in 10 runs back on May 26, but his career effort earned him the MiLBY Award for Best Double-A Single-Game Performance.
Everidge went 4-for-5 with three homers en route to reaching double digits in RBIs for the first time in his career, leading the Midland RockHounds to a 17-5 rout of the Tulsa Drillers.
"It's kind of cool," Everidge said when he told won the MiLBY. "I didn't know they had awards for that, so that makes it even better.
"I'd call it surreal, it was like, 'What just happened?' It was kind of crazy, but I knew it was cool."
Thinking back to that May evening, Everidge said he was hungry to get back on the field.
"I remember I didn't play the day before, and I remember being a little (upset) going into the game," he said. "I was pretty itching to play but wasn't expecting anything spectacular."
Everidge had another trick up his sleeve, or rather, under his nose. And under his jersey.
"We were just bored and kind of getting into that first part of the season, so we grew some mustaches and we didn't wear our undershirts," Everidge said of the luck-changing Midland fashion plan. "Or we'd wear our ugly orange BP tops. That day, I only wore one batting glove and it kind of transferred into a big day."
The Sonoma State product smashed a three-run homer in the fourth inning, singled and scored in the fifth, belted a grand slam in the sixth and launched a three-run shot in the seventh. He easily surpassed his previous career high of five RBIs, set with Class A Advanced Stockton on May 13, 2006.
"I knew if I got some good pitches to swing at, I'd be capable of getting some hits," Everidge said after the game. "But I wasn't expecting anything like this."
The 10-RBI effort was the first by a Texas Leaguer since Arkansas' Tyrone Horne accomplished the feat on July 27, 1998. Everidge also became the seventh player in league history to plate at least 10 runs in a game.
"I was a little surprised they kept giving me pitches to hit, especially as the game went on," Everidge said. "I hit for the cycle in 2005, but that's probably the closest thing to that day. [The cycle] just seemed more like pure luck -- [in May] I just felt locked in."
When Tulsa sent infielder Duke Sardinha to the mound to face Everidge in the ninth, he saw a chance for homer No. 4.
"He threw me a slider, and since he's a position player it was a little slower than what I'm used to," said Everidge. "I got out in front of it and just lifted a shallow fly ball to left. I had to go for it in the situation, though."
Looking back, Everidge agreed the day was key to his breakout season.
"It definitely was a big confidence boost," he said. "It kind of takes having a decent year at that point to, 'Hey, I have a chance to do something to help push me forward.'"
But who inspired the powerstache? More than a few Minor Leaguers followed Yankees slugger Jason Giambi in facial fashion in '08.
"We had it before he did," Everidge said of Giambi, the Bombers's first baseman who inspired "Giambi Mustache Day" at Yankee Stadium on July 9. "We were thinking he stole it from us."
The more-hair, less-clothing approach continued to work perfectly for the 25-year-old first baseman. Everidge finished his fifth professional campaign batting .279 with 22 homers and a Texas League-leading 115 RBIs. He fell just four homers shy of matching his career best, set in 2007 with the RockHounds.
He finished fourth in the league in hits (145), fifth in runs (89), fourth in doubles (34) and third in homers.
"I was really excited. My goal was to get 100 RBIs and I ended with 115, so it was awesome," he said. "I was definitely happy. I set some goals every year, so to reach it makes you feel better about yourself. The 10 RBIs definitely helped."
The Santa Rosa, Calif., native was Oakland's 10th-round pick in 2004 and debuted that summer with Class A Short-Season Vancouver. He spent 2005 with Class A Kane County, drove in 83 runs for Stockton in 2006 and batted .266 with 26 homers and 94 RBIs between Stockton and Midland last year.
Currently in Puerto Rico for winter ball, Everidge said he's ready to move up in 2009.
"I don't know what they want from me, but my goal is just to be ready," he said. "If I get the chance, in Triple-A or camp, I need to take advantage of it and do what I can do. I'm just hoping for a big year and see what happens."
And so the big question entering another potential breakout 2009 season: will the mustache reappear?
"I'd rather it not, but for some reason, if things are bad, I'll throw the 'stache out there see what it's worth," Everidge said. "Last season, the other guys ended it right away, but I had to keep going. I had it for another month-and-a-half -- I was rocking it."
Danny Wild is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.