With his 41st home run of the season, a two-run shot off Phillies right-hander Jim Lonborg in the third inning of an August 17th game at Veterans Stadium, Dodgers slugger Reggie Smith became the first player in either league to collect one hundred RBI during the SP78 season. It was the second time Smith has achieved that coveted plateau in his career; he last reached the mark in 1974, hitting an even 100 as a member of the Cardinals. He’s also the SP78 single-game record holder for runs batted in, having collected ten in the first game of a doubleheader against the Cubs at Wrigley Field on July 16th.
No other National League player is even close to one hundred (George Foster of the Reds is in second place with 86), and with a league-leading 41 home runs and a robust .366 average, Smith is a serious contender for the Triple Crown award, with just under a month and a half remaining in the season. It would be the first Triple Crown in the major leagues since Boston outfielder Carl Yastrzemski won the award in 1967, and the first in the National League since Joe Medwick turned the trick for the Cardinals forty years earlier, in 1937.
What makes this particular RBI milestone even more amazing is that Smith has missed three weeks of the season due to injury; if he stays healthy, he’ll still have a whopping 42 games remaining in the LA schedule to add to his total. At his current pace of one RBI per game, he’d finish the 1978 campaign with 142 (and at one HR hit every 2.4 games, he’d break Roger Maris’ home run record of 61 by one). The question now is, will he remain healthy?
Said Smith in the locker room after the game in Philadelphia, “Oh yeah…I’m done with all this injury crap.”