December 7, 2013
Get It Now!Hardball Times Annual is now available. It's got 300 pages of articles, commentary and even a crossword puzzle. You can buy the Annual at Amazon, for your Kindle or on our own page (which helps us the most financially). However you buy it, enjoy!
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Sunday, 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.
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