Four-Pitcher Grand Slams: Results
|Joe Posnanski||Oct 15, 2013|
So, Brilliant Reader Ryan got us at least a partial answer for the question: Has anyone every hit a four-pitcher grand slam before? We don’t call them brilliant readers for nothing.
Ryan found seven instances when a player hit a grand slam where each of the four runs was credited to a different pitcher. That was the sort of slam that David Ortiz hit on Sunday -- the first of its kind in the postseason. Here are the seven Ryan found: * * *
On Oct. 2, 2004, Giants and the Dodgers, San Francisco lled 3-0 going into the ninth inning. With one out, Giants pitcher Dustin Hermanson walked Hee-Seop Choi with the bases already loaded to score a run. Choi, though, is the runner of record here.
Jason Christiansen came in and prompted a ground ball from Cesar Izturis. Unfortunately for the Giants, the grounder was booted by Cody Ransom. That scored a run and, for our purposes, put Izturis on base. So Choice and Izturis on base.
Matt Herges came in for the Giants and gave up a single to Jayson Werth -- you forgot that Werth played for the Dodgers, didn’t you? So that’s the third runner and the third pitcher.
Then Wayne Franklin came in to give up the slam to Steve Finley.
BUT, we need a ruling. I’m not sure this is truly a four-pitcher slam. Remember, the idea of a four-pitcher slam is that each of the four runs is credited to a different pitcher. But because Izturis reached on an error, that meant that his run WAS NOT charged to Christiansen (or anyone else). So, it’s not quite four pitchers, four runs. Like I say, we need a ruling.
* * *
Sept. 1, 2001 -- Diamondbacks-Padres. No ruling needed here. In the bottom of the eighth, with the Diamondbacks ahead 5-1, Arizona’s Miguel Batista gave up a run-scoring single to D’Angelo Jimenez. So that’s the first runner.
In came Eric Knott, who gave up a single to Ryan Klesko. That’s two.
In came Erik Sabel, and he walked Phil Nevin. That’s the bases loaded.
Then Byung-Hyun Kim -- how can you see THAT name without thinking of baseball disaster? -- came in and gave up the Four-Pitcher slam to Ray Lankford. The Padres went on to win the game.
* * *
May 6, 1988 -- Tigers and Mariners. How about some old-fashioned Tiger Talk here? Sweet Lou Whitaker led off the eighth inning with a single off Mike Moore. This was only a few days before Mariners’ skipper Dick Williams would get canned and end his fascinating career as a big league baseball manager. He apparently wanted to go out with some style.
So he pulled Moore and brought in Dennis Powel, who gave up a single to Luis Salazar.
Williams went back to the mound and called for Julio Solano. He walked Alan Trammell to load the bases.
And then -- a fun bonus. Williams brought in Bill Wilkinson to pitch to the next batter -- but it was NOT Wilkinson who gave up the four-pitcher slam. Wilkinson actually retired Larry Herndon. Then Williams brought in the FIFTH pitcher of the inning, the thriller, Michael Jackson. He faced pinch-hitter Pat Sheridan, who is best known for, that’s right, having a baseball card that in shoeboxes would replicate itself, not unlike that guy in The Matrix, so that when you went to bed you had a box full of Mike Schmidts and George Bretts and Roger Clemens cards but when you woke up the y were all Pat Sheridans.
Anyway, Sheridan crushed one, blammo, and that’s your four-pitcher slam.
* * *
Sept. 20, 1987 -- Reds vs. Giants, a classic managerial tussle between Pete Rose and Roger Craig.
Ninth inning, Reds trailing by two, San Francisco’s Don Robinson made a mess of things. He gave up a run on three hits, the last a single to Jeff Treadway. And he was yanked.
Kelly Downs came in. He walked Eric Davis. Who could blame him?
Craig Lefferts came in. After getting the second out of the inning, he walked Buddy Bell.
So Jon Perlman came in. He gave up four home runs in his short career, and only one grand slam. This was the one. He gave up the four-pitcher slam to Nick Esasky.
* * *
July 10, 1983, Detroit against Oakland, there must have been something about Sparky Anderson that inspired people to overmanage against him. This was a special four-pitcher slam. Chris Codiroli started the inning with a 3-0 lead, and he promptly walked Alan Trammel and gave up a single Lou Whitaker.
Codiroli was pulled for Tom Burgmeier, who gave up a run-scoring single to Lou Whitaker.
In came Dave Beard and the A’s had a chance to pick off Whitaker at second. But Oakland catcher committed an error that allowed Whitaker to go to third instead. Beard then walked John Wockenfuss.
What a great baseball name: John Wockenfuss.
Jeff Jones came in to pitch. If you type “Jeff Jones” into Wikipedia, it gives you 15 entries including the actor Jeffrey Jones (“I’d be happy to release Sloane. You produce a corpse and I’ll release Sloane”). a hip-hop musician, a cricketer, the old Virginia basketball coach and a fictional character from the TV series “Voyagers!” And then there’s the pitcher Jeff Jones who, you might know, is now the Tigers pitching coach.
He gave up the four-pitcher slam to Lance Parrish. It was also a walk-off slam.
* * *
August 6, 1982 -- one of my favorites here. Angels at Mariners. Sixth inning. Rene Lachemann was managing the Mariners -- ah, the Lachemann brothers. So 1980s. Angels trailed 4-3 entering the inning, and Seattle had Floyd Bannister on the mound. He gave up three straight singles and a sac fly. The last single was to shortstop Mick Kelleher. He’s one.
Larry Andersen came in to face Brian Downing. Walked him to load the bases. He’s two.
Mike Stanton came in to face Hall of Famer Rod Carew. This is not the Mike Stanton who would pitch in relief for 19 years and make an All-Star team for the Yankees in 2001. That might have made sense since that Mike Stanton is a lefty. But the Mike Stanton called in that day was a righty, and Carew faced him 13 times in his career, knocking seven hits. Sure, we’re having fun with small sample sizes. Carew singled to score a run. The bases remained loaded.
And then it gets weird. Stanton got the next out, and up came Reggie Jackson. Stanton would face Jackson 10 times in his career and get him out all 10 times including six strikeouts. Again, small sample sizes, but Lachemann bizarrely brought in Ed Vande Berg to face Reggie. Lefty-lefty, I guess.
Reggie Jackson struck out four times that day. But he did not strike out against Ed Vande Berg. He crushed a four-pitcher slam. Two batters later, Fred Lynn hit a two run homer off Vande Berg.
Lachemann lasted less than a year after that.
* * *
July 4, 1961 -- Independence Day, White Sox-Twins at old Metropolitan Stadium. Ninth inning, the Twins trailed by two runs against BIlly Pierce. You know there’s a viable argument to be made for Pierce as a Hall of Famer. He’s not at the top of my list, but he was a really outstanding pitcher for a long time, he has a better case than numerous people already in the Hall.
Anyway, he got an out and gave up a single to Bob Allison. That’s one.
In came Russ Kemmerer, who got the second out and gave up a single Earl Battey. That’s two.
In came Frank Baumann, and he walked Lenny Green. There’s the bases loaded.
And so Warren Hacker came to get the final out. Hacker had been a very good multi-use pitcher in 1952 with the Cubs, and he hung around for a while, and then in 1958 at age 33 he got shipped to the minors. But he stuck it out and after three years of toiling in Miami, Buffalo and Chattanooga he was called back to the big leagues and the crosstown Chicago team.
And the Twins’ pinch-hitter was Julio Becquer. He was a Cuban star -- he is in the Cuban Baseball Hall of Fame -- and he would often say that the greatest thrill of his life was when he came to America for the first time. Then on Independence Day, 1961, he hit a walk-off four-pitcher grand slam. It was the 11th home run of his career, and first grand slam. Twelve days later he would hit his 12th career home run off Gary “Ding Dong” Bell in Cleveland. That was the last big-league homer he would ever hit.