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Welcome to the big leagues, kid. No pressure, but the bases are loaded. What are you going to do? Only four times in MLB history, the answer has been “hit a grand slam.”
Kevin Kouzmanoff (Sept. 2, 2006) hit the very first pitch he saw — a fastball up in the zone from Rangers starter Edinson Volquez — into the grassy area beyond the center-field wall at Ameriquest Field. The rookie, who hit .379 combined at Double-A and Triple-A before he was called up to the big leagues, became the first player in MLB history to hit a grand slam on the first pitch he saw in the majors. Boston’s Daniel Nava (June 12, 2010) was a 27-year-old rookie wearing No. 60 on his back when he duplicated Kouzmanoff’s feat, smacking the first offering he saw from Joe Blanton into the bullpen beyond Fenway Park’s wall in right-center. He wouldn’t hit another MLB homer until May 14, 2012. Buckle up buttercup this CNA has anger issues and a serious dislike for stupid people shirt, hoodie
Jeremy Hermedia (Aug. 31, 2005) swung and missed at the first pitch he saw in the majors, also with the bases loaded, as a pinch-hitter in the seventh inning of a game his Marlins trailed, 10-0. He watched a pitch from the Cardinals’ Alberto Reyes sail out of the strike zone, then swung at the third offering. Hermida didn’t miss this one. Hermida’s grand slam ended a long, long drought; before his blast the only other debut at-bat grand slam was socked by Bill Duggleby, a pitcher with the Philadelphia Phillies on April 21, 1898. Duggleby had given up three runs in the first inning, but his second-inning grand slam apparently helped him on the mound, too, and the Phillies won that game, 13-4.
Those of us who love baseball love to say that the beauty of the sport is that any day you’re at the ballpark or watching a game on TV, you have a chance to see something that’s never happened before, in a sport that’s been played for more than a century.
Case in point: A random mid-August night at Yankee Stadium in 2016, in a game between the struggling Rays and the .500-ish Yankees. New York manager Joe Girardi wrote the names of two rookies into his lineup; Tyler Austin was batting seventh and Aaron Judge was batting eighth. Both were making their MLB debuts. Matt Andriese, having a solid season (2.90 ERA) to that point, was on the mound for the Rays. With two outs in the second inning of a 0-0 game, Austin fell behind in the count, 0-2. He took a couple outside the zone and then fouled off a potential Strike Three. Andriese went outside with the sixth pitch of the at-bat, and Austin smacked a line drive down the right-field line, just barely clearing the short fence a few feet above the 314 FT sign — a short-porch Yankee Stadium opposite-field special.