5,000 days since Fernando Tatis’ big inningby Chris Jaffe
December 30, 2012
5,000 days ago, Fernando Tatis had the greatest day in his career—and he did it all in one inning. It’s the greatest inning any hitter ever had.
It was April 23, 1999, and heading into the top of the third inning, Tatis and his Cardinals teammates trailed the home team Dodgers, 2-0. That lead wouldn’t last long.
Leading off the inning, the first three Cardinals batters reached on two singles and a HBP. With the bags loaded and nobody out, Tatis came to the plate against pitcher Chan Ho Park.
After taking the first two offerings for balls, Tatis unloaded on the third pitch—and belted a grand slam. Now St. Louis led, 4-2.
And the Cardinals kept pouring it on from there. The team hit another homer. There were back-to-back walks. The Dodgers made some fielding miscues. Oh, and St. Louis got a single in the mix. The Cards batted around—and then kept on batting.
Wouldn’t you know it, with two outs Tatis came to the plate again in the inning—and again the bases were loaded. You know how this one ends, right?
Yup, Tatis made history becoming the first and still only man in history to smash two grand slam home runs in one inning. As incredible as that achievement was, it wasn’t the most incredible achievement in one inning. You want to talk incredible? Talk about this: The same pitcher gave up both homers.
In this day of frequent mid-inning changes of pitchers, the Dodgers still had Chan Ho Park on the mound. Hey—he hadn’t allowed any runs in the first two innings. And thanks to the team’s defensive miscues, only five runs would be earned this inning. But there were 11 runs scored in all—and Park allowed all of them.
After Tatis’ second slam, Dodgers manager Davey Johnson finally yanked Park. Not much happened the rest of the way, and the Cardinals won easily, 12-5. Tatis came up two more times, and struck out in each appearance.
Tatis ended his career with eight slams, but the ones people remember came against the Cardinals 5,000 days ago.
Aside from that, many other baseball events today celebrate their anniversary or “day-versary.” Here they are, with the better ones in bold if you’d rather just skim.
2,000 days since Ichiro Suzuki hits the first All-Star Game inside the park home run. The NL wins, though, 5-4—with the game ending with the bases loaded.
4,000 days since Bud Selig says that Washington, D.C., is a “prime candidate” for relocation if a team decides to move.
4,000 days since the Yankees sign free agent David Wells, who returns to the team made him famous.
4,000 days since the Brewers sign free agent infielder Eric Young.
6,000 days since Orel Hershiser has his worst ever Game Score: 5. His line: 5.1 IP, 11 H, 10 R, 10 ER, 4 BB, and 3 K.
6,000 days since Joe Carter becomes the third person to hit one to the upper level of Toronto’s Skydome when he uncorks a 483-footer.
6,000 days since Paul Molitor gets his 100th career triple. Oh, and he gets No. 101 in the same game, too. Not bad for a man less than a month from his 40th birthday.
8,000 days since the Hall of Fame board of directors unanimously votes to exclude Pete Rose from eligibility.
9,000 days since Hall of Fame skipper Dick Williams manages his 3,000th game. His record: 1,563-1,436.
9,000 days since fireballer Mark Langston fans 16 in a 4-2 win over the Blue Jays.
10,000 days since Geoff Zahn, pitcher, plays in his last game.
15,000 days since the Reds trade pitcher Milt Wilcox to the Indians.
15,000 days since the birth of Cuban pitcher Jose Contreras.
25,000 days since Browns pitcher Nelson Potter becomes the first pitcher to be ejected for throwing spitballs. Mind you, the pitch had been outlawed over 25 years before.
40,000 days since Babe Herman is born.
40,000 days since George Davis plays his first game for the Giants, in violation of off-season AL/NL peace agreement.
50,000 days since great NL manager Pat Moran is born.
1906 Henry Porter, 19th century pitcher who led the 1888 Ameican Association in losses with 37, dies at age 48.
1907 The Mills Commission falsely reports that Abner Doubleday invented baseball. This is the reason Cooperstown has the Hall of Fame.
1925 The Phillies trade Jimmy Ring to the Giants.
1926 The Chicago Tribune reports that the Tigers threw a four-game series to the White Sox in 1917 to help them win the pennant.
1935 Hall of Fame starting pitcher Sandy Koufax is born.
1943 Phillies trade Babe Dahlgren to the Pirates.
1945 Tom Murphy, starting pitcher converted in mid-career to relief work, is born.
1958 The Dodgers release Hall of Fame shortstop Pee Wee Reese.
1970 The Giants trade infielder Ron Hunt to the Expos.
1976 Controversial catcher A.J. Pierzynski is born.
1977 Grant Balfour, reliever, is born.
1995 The Yankees sign free agent pitcher Kenny Rogers.
History instructor by day, statnerd by night, Chris Jaffe leads one of the most exciting double lives imaginable; with the exception of every other double life possible to imagine. Despite his lack of comic-book-hero-worthiness, Chris enjoys farting around with this stuff. His new book, Evaluating Baseball's Managers is available for order. Chris welcomes responses to his articles via e-mail. Oh, and now he's on twitter.