Having a grand old time

Last night, Alex Rodriguez hit his 23rd career grand slam on paper tying Lou Gehrig for the lead for the most grannies all-time. Those of us who look at the present and the past of baseball know that the PED era needs its own category of records, so while I take note of the achievement, A-Rod’s accomplishment should be taken with a shaker of salt. Nevertheless, this shouldn’t stop us from having some fun with grand slams.

Here’s your Nine to Know (with data since 1948):

  1. There have been 5175 grannies hit since 1948 and which team has hit the most? The Boston Red Sox with 286. The fewest have been hit by the Diamondbacks who have only 53. Guess who have the second most…. If you said “the New York Yankees,” you’re wrong! The Yanks have hit 254, but the Indians have hit 257.
  2. Which team has given up the most slams? That would be the Tigers surrendering 272 with a huge lead over the runners-up, the White Sox and Orioles who have given up 220 each. I would imagine that the Orioles would have owned second had the great Jim Palmer been human. The Hall of Famer allowed no slams in 213 bases filled plate appearances. The fewest have been offered up by, you guessed it, the Arizona Diamondbacks who have allowed 54.
  3. The anti-Palmers were pitcher (singers?) Kenny Rogers who allowed 11 slams and Michael Jackson who gave up 10. Nolan Ryan gave up 10 as well in 509 plate appearances (don’t forget Ryan walked a lot of batters).
  4. The most grand slams hit in a season was in 2000 when 176 were hit. As an aside, in the expansion year of 1961 when Roger Maris and Mickey Mantle chased Babe Ruth’s individual season home run record, 77 grannies were hit, 99 fewer than in 2000.
  5. There were 100+ slams each year from 1995 to 2010 with a low of 119 in in 1997. Over those 16 years, there were an average of 132 grand slams hit per year. Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez each hit 21 grand slams during that period to lead the era; hmm.
  6. Prior to 1995, 100+ grand slams had been hit in a season only once, in 1987 there were exactly one hundred grannies.  Last season, there 98 grand slams, the same number as hit in 1998, the second most up to 1995.
  7. Pitchers have hit 62 grand slams led by Denny Neagle, Camilio Pascual, Tony Cloninger, Rick Wise, Dizzy Trout, and Bob Gibson who each hit two.
  8. Tony Cloninger deserves a line for himself. He only hit 11 homers in his career with two slams, but those two slams were hit in the same game when he created premature fireworks on July 3, 1966 in San Francisco when his Braves won 17-3.
  9. Speaking guys who deserve a line for himself: Fernando Tatis had 113 career homers. He hit eight career grand slams. He also had eight two-homer games. He had one two-grand slam game. But there’s more! On April 23, 1999 at Dodger Stadium, the Cardinals came up in the top of the 3rd inning trailing 2-0. Following two singles and an HBP, Tatis slammed Chan Ho Park. The Cards scored three more times and, with two out, the bases were once again loaded and remarkably Park was still on the mound when Tatis once again came to the plate and…oh, Fernando! Tatis hit his second slam of the inning giving the Cardinals an 11-2 lead and putting Tatis and Park in the record books. Tatis never homered off Park again, but did end up going 7-for-16, a .438 lifetime avg.