The nicknames are sweet. The record is sweeter.
Jayson Werth joined the exclusive company of men named Kitty, Gavvy, Puddin' Head and Michael Jack last night when he tied a franchise record with eight RBIs in a 10-3 victory over the Toronto Blue Jays at Citizens Bank Park.
Werth hit a three-run home run to right field in the second inning, a grand slam to right field in the third, and a solo shot to left-center in the fifth to earn himself a couple of curtain calls.
"That was special tonight," Werth said. "I had never had a curtain call, and I had two. I'm grateful, and I'm very thankful. It was a special moment. I won't forget this night."
Werth is the first Phillie to hit three home runs in a game since Ryan Howard belted three in Game 1 of a doubleheader against the Atlanta Braves on Sept. 3, 2006. He is also one of just five players in the Phillies' 125-year history to have eight RBIs in a game. He joins Kitty Bransfield (July 11, 1910, at Pittsburgh), Gavvy Cravath (Aug. 8, 1915, at Cincinnati), Willie "Puddin' Head" Jones (Aug. 20, 1958, at St. Louis), and Mike Schmidt (April 17, 1976, at Chicago).
Bransfield hit .270 in his 12-year career from 1898 to 1911. Cravath was baseball's modern-day, single-season home-run champion with 24 in 1915 before Babe Ruth hit 29 in 1919. Jones helped the Whiz Kids win the National League pennant in 1950.
Schmidt? He's arguably the greatest player in Phillies history.
"It's great company," Werth said. "It's a great honor to be on that list with those guys. It was just one of those nights. I really don't know what to say."
Werth had a chance to break the record but fouled out to first baseman Lyle Overbay in his final at-bat in the seventh.
"It was on my mind probably," Werth said of a fourth home run. "I swung at some pitches I probably shouldn't have."
He needed four more RBIs to tie the major-league record, held by St. Louis' Jim Bottomley (Sept. 16, 1924) and St. Louis' Mark Whiten (Sept. 7, 1993).
Maybe some other time.
Werth, who had a hit in nine consecutive at-bats Aug. 26-27 last season to fall one short of the Phillies and National League records, is showing why the Phils signed him as a free agent after he missed the entire 2006 season with the Los Angeles Dodgers following surgery on his left wrist. He is hitting .288 with nine homers and 26 RBIs in 118 at-bats.
"It's a lot of fun to watch somebody who's that locked in," Howard said. "The grand slam was a thing of beauty. Beautiful. I was a cameraman in the Jayson Werth show. I had Camera 2 out on second base and watched the whole thing unfold. It was fun to watch."
It's also fun to experience.