Raise your hand if you had Seby Zavala hitting making MLB history for his hitting on your White Sox bingo punch cards? The White Sox catcher got called up to the big leagues because of his game-calling and defense behind the plate. When he left Triple-A Charlottle he was hitting just .178. To begin his major league career he was 5-for-40.

But in Saturday’s wild 12-11 loss to the Cleveland Indians, he let his bat do the talking. Zavala hit his first major league home then added his second and third a few innings later. He became the first player in American League and National League history to hit his first three career homers in the same game. No White Sox catcher has ever hit three homers in a single game before until Zavala on July 31st.

Dallas Keuchel summed it up best with his postgame comments. “That was one of the best performances I’ve seen in a long time.”

His first big league bomb was no cheapy. In the third inning Indians starting pitcher Triston McKenzie served up a fastball down the heart of the plate. Zavala made him pay, clearing the ball over the center-field fence for a 411-foot solo home run. That marked his first career milestone of the night. Despite the distance, the ball traveled Zavala, initially thought he didn’t make good enough contact off the bat and missed a home run.

“But it just kept going and going,” he said after the game. “Luckily it went over. It was a good feeling seeing my teammates on top of the top spot in the dugout. It was fun I wish we could have won.”

His second came in the form of his first career grand slam one inning later. He turned on a fastball on McKenzie once again and sent a 377-foot drive to the left-field stands. That increased the White Sox lead to 6-1. Zavala’s efforts drew a curtain call from fans and the catcher happily obliged. But his offensive showcase was not finished. After a pitching meltdown, the White Sox found themselves trailing in the seventh inning. Zavala started a two-run rally with a 369-foot home run off of relief pitcher Bryan Shaw.

In total Zavala’s three home runs traveled a combined distance of 1,157 feet. His six RBIs are tied for the second-most by a White Sox hitter in the No. 9 spots in the order, trailing only Charles Johnson. Johnson had seven vs the Angels on September 2nd, 2000.

Zavala’s big day did more than just put his name in the footnotes of baseball history, it also provided him confidence. Since joining the White Sox in 2021 he was just 4-28. He nearly matched that hit total in one night.

“I always knew I could swing it. Been going through a rough patch for a couple of months,” Zavala said. I knew if I kept working something would click.

“I just got lucky today. I got some good pitches to handle, and I didn’t miss them. I guess that’s the only way to hit home runs: don’t miss ’em.”

Mitchell Kaminski
Mitchell studies sports communications at Bradley University and works for Braves Vision, an organization that works alongside ESPN broadcasting games and covering Bradley sports. Creator of Dorm Room Dispute podcast.