"Ultimate" Walk-Off Grand Slam Home Runs
We witnessed one of the rarest occurrences in baseball the other, and MAN, was it exciting to watch!! Down by 3
Hafner's "Ultimate" Grand Slam!
Good guess. My old pitching database lists 173,516 wins by pitchers from 1876 to 2000. There will also be a few forfeits and several hundred tie games that don't show up in pitching wins or losses. So, up to 2009, there have been more than 190,000 games.)
I was surprised to learn that only 24 of those 190,000-plus games have ended with a three-run deficit erased by a grand-slam homer. This kind of walk-off grand-slam is more rare than a no-hitter, and almost as rare as a perfect game.
Here's the list ( a * means it came with two outs):
*September 10, 1881 Roger Connor, Trojans
September 24, 1925 Babe Ruth, Yankees
May 23, 1936 Sammy Byrd, Reds
July 8, 1950 Jack Phillips, Pirates
June 16, 1952 Bobby Thomson, Giants
July 15, 1952 Eddie Joost, Athletics
*September 11, 1955 Del Crandall, Braves
May 11, 1956 Danny Kravitz, Pirates
July 25, 1956 Roberto Clemente, Pirates
*August 31, 1963 Ellis Burton, Cubs
August 2, 1970 Tony Taylor, Phillies
*August 11, 1970 Carl Taylor, Cardinals
*April 22, 1973 Ron Lolich, Indians
*May 1, 1979 Roger Freed, Cardinals
*April 13, 1983 Bo Diaz, Phillies
*August 31, 1984 Buddy Bell, Rangers
*April 13, 1985 Phil Bradley, Mariners
*August 29, 1986 Dick Schofield, Angels
*June 21, 1988 Alan Trammell, Tigers
*May 17, 1996 Chris Hoiles, Orioles
*July 28, 2001 Brian Giles, Pirates
May 17, 2002 Jason Giambi, Yankees
*June 30, 2006 Adam Dunn, Reds
May 20, 2010 Brooks Conrad, Braves
July 7, 2011 Travis Hafner, Indians
A few points:
Connor's homer in 1881 was the first grand slam (of any kind) in National League history. Ruth's was the first such walk-off grand slam in American League history and the first in the majors in 44 years.
Four Pittsburgh Pirates have done it, but no Dodgers, Twins, White Sox, Red Sox, Blue Jays, Padres, etc.
Only three Hall of Famers have ever hit walk-off grand slams when down by three: Connor, Ruth, and Clemente. Mays, Aaron, Mantle, Gehrig, Williams, Musial - none of them ever managed the feat.
Phillips' homer in 1950 was the only pinch-hit grand slam (note - until Conrad did it in May of 2010), and Clemente's in 1956 was an inside-the-park blow. Ruth hit his in the 10th inning, and Giambi did it in the 14th.
When Babe Ruth died in 1948, only three men had belted such walk-off grand slams, and they were all connected to Ruth. One was Ruth himself; another was Roger Connor, the man whose career home run record Ruth broke in 1921. The third was Sammy Byrd, who did it for the Cincinnati Reds in 1936. Byrd played for the Yankees in the early 1930s and spent a lot of time pinch-running for the aging Ruth. The writers called Byrd "Babe Ruth's Legs."
The last American Leaguer (before 2002) to turn the trick was Baltimore's Chris Hoiles, who was born in Bowling Green, Ohio, in the hospital that stands less than a mile from my house. Hoiles hit his homer with a 3-2 count on him, by the way.
Ellis Burton hit one on my 8th birthday, and Buddy Bell hit one on my 29th birthday. Del Crandall of the Braves hit his on Sunday, September 11, 1955, the day I was baptized.
So, if you go to a game this summer and see a three-run deficit erased with a game-ending grand slam, consider yourself lucky. You will have seen something that happens only slightly more frequently than a perfect game. Only an unassisted triple play happens much less often in major league baseball.
Thoughts, fellow Fever Members?
Last edited by csh19792001; 07-09-2011 at 12:01 PM.