By Antonio B. Vargas
The San Diego Padres set a record by hitting a grand slam in four consecutive games, something no team has ever done in the 144 years of professional baseball.
The hitting streak started on Monday when 21 year-old Fernando Tatis, Jr hit his first-ever grand slam, followed by Wil Myers’ grand slam on Tuesday, and Manny Machado’s four run homer on Wednesday.
The Padres joined only three other teams in history to have hit three consecutive grand slams; the Chicago White Sox in 2006, the Detroit Tigers in 1993, and the National League’s Cleveland Spiders in 1895.
Then came Thursday night’s fifth inning grand slam by Eric Hosmer, making the Padres the only team in history to ever hit four consecutive slammers. Ever. And against the same team, the Texas Rangers.
A grand slam, of course, is a home run hit with bases loaded, making it a four-run play. Grand slams are pretty rare on their own, with only an average of about 100 being hit in Major League Baseball in each of the last five years. In 2017 when a record 6,105 home runs were hit during the season, only 133 were grand slams, representing 2.2% of all home runs hit that year.
It wasn’t until 2011 that any team hit three grand slams in one game when the New York Yankees outscored the Oakland As 22 to 9.
Alex Rodriguez holds the record for most career grand slams at 25, Donald Mattingly had the most in one season with six, and only one player in history has hit two grand slams in one inning; Fernando Tatis, Sr. in 1999. Yes, the father of San Diego’s Fernando Tatis, Jr., who started off this week’s record-breaking string of slammers.
One ironic note to this week’s record: Tatis’ grand slam on Monday was controversial because he hit it on a 3-0 count while sitting on a 10-3 lead in the game, breaking the unwritten rule of baseball that frowns upon swinging at what is most likely a fourth ball for a walk while leading late in a game. But Tatis swung at a good pitch and ended up starting the chain of events that led to a historic series for the Padres.
The Padres will host the Houston Astros on Friday for the start of a three game home stand through the weekend.