Nine to know: Postseason grand slams

The rain that haunted the Yankees all season (they led the majors with nine postponed games) proved to be their friend Friday night when the game in New York between the AL East champs and the AL Central champ Detroit Tigers was suspended and forced to resume Saturday night. It’s my belief that the Tigers needed to win each game started by Justin Verlander, and hoped to win each game started by Doug Fister in order to advance to the World Championship.

Their needs and hope took a double hit when the game resumed on Saturday night as the Yankees’ Robinson Cano hit a grand slam and drove in six runs and Ivan Nova shut down the Tiger offense as New York beat the Tigers, 9-3. The result is far more detrimental to Detroit because they lost, in essence, games from their top two starters in this one game.

They key blow by Cano came in the Yankee six-run 6th. The 50th postseason grand slam came on the 50th anniversary of Roger Maris’ record-breaking 61st home run at the old Yankee Stadium on the final day of the 1961 season. A record that many of us feel has never been broken.

Trivia question: Only one hitter has hit two postseason grannies and only two pitchers have surrendered two grannies, who are they? (answer below).

Here’s Nine to Know about postseason slams:

  1. It was the 11th postseason grand slam in Yankee history, a major league record. The Braves with six, hold the NL record.
  2. Elmer Smith of the Cleveland Indians hit the first postseason slam off of Brooklyn’s Burleigh Grimes on 10/10/1920.
  3. The first non-World Series postseason grand slam was hit by Orioles pitcher Mike Cuellar off of Indians hurler Jim Perry (Gaylord‘s brother) in the 1970 ALCS.
  4. Cano’s shot was the seventh slam hit in ALDS history. There have been 11 slams hit in NLDS history with the last one hit by the Phils’ Shane Victorino off the Brewers’ CC Sabathia in 2008.
  5. There have been six slams in the ALCS with the last one hit by Boston’s D.L. Drew off of the Indians’ Fausto Carmona in 2007. There have been seven grannies slammed in the NLCS with the last being hit by Aramis Ramirez of the Cubs off of Dontrelle Willis of the Marlins in 2003.
  6. There have been only 18 grand slams in World Series history, the last one was hit by Paul Konerko of the White Sox off of Chad Qualls of the 2005 Houston Astros.
  7. Of the 11 Yankee slams, oddly four were hit by second basemen starting with Tony Lazzeri (1936), Gil McDougald (1951), Bobby Richardson (1960), and now Cano.
  8. Cano has 144 regular season homers and seven slams. He is a lifetime .321 hitter in 159 regular season bases loaded plate appearances. In 140 bases loaded at bats, he has an amazing 129 RBI. He now has seven postseason homers.
  9. After the first slam was hit by Smith, it wasn’t until 1936 when Lazzeri hit his was there a second, and it wasn’t until 1951 when McDougald hit his was there a third. There were four World Series slams hit in the 1950’s, five in the 1960’s, one in the 1970’s, four in the 1980’s, two in the 1990’s, and Konerko’s blast is the only one hit since 1998.

Trivia answer: Jim Thome is the only person who has hit two postseason slams. Both were as member of the Indians, the first in the 1998 ALCS, the second in the 199 ALDS. Greg Maddux, pitching for the Cubs in 1989 gave up a gopher granny in NLCS, and he gave up another one in 1996 in the NLCS pitching for the Braves.

Rod Beck is the only pitcher to surrendered slams in each league giving up his first in the 1998 NLDS for the Cubs, and then his second in the following year in the ALCS for the Red Sox.