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Albert Pujols hit a grand slam and entered the 600 home run club. Let's take a look at other grand slam moments in the past 20 years

Albert Pujols hit a grand slam and entered the 600 home run club. Let's take a look at other grand slam moments in the past 20 years

Albert Pujols hit a grand slam and entered the 600 home run club. Let's take a look at other memorable grand slam moments in the past 20 years.

It doesn’t get any better than this: With one swing of the bat, four runs cross home plate — the most possible on one play.

It can come on a fastball or a breaking pitch. It can clear the second deck or just barely go over the wall. It can come with two outs in the ninth with a team down three runs or it can break a game open.

Some are more special than others but each is entertaining. It is baseball’s equivalent of the two-point conversion after a touchdown; the grand slam.

On September 10, 1881, Roger Connor supposedly hit the first ever recorded grand slam for the Troy Trojans. 132 years later, Alex Rodriguez blasted an outside fastball from San Francisco Giants reliever George Kontos, passing Lou Gehrig on the all-time MLB grand slam leaderboard (24).

In between and after those two signature moments, plenty of meaningful grand slams have captivated baseball fans watching in person, on television or listing on radio. On Saturday night at Angels Stadium in Anaheim, California, quite possibly the most memorable regular-season grand slam in major league history was hit by a generational, sure-fire first ballot hall of famer.

After hitting career home runs No. 498 and 499 two days earlier, Albert Pujols connected on a 1-2 pitch from Minnesota Twins ace Ervin Santana in the fourth and watched as the ball landed just inside the foul pole down the left-field line for a grand slam and career home run No. 600

It doesn’t get any better than that folks.

Pujols became the first player to “PapaSlam” his way into the 600-home-run club and the ninth member of the exclusive fraternity.

 “King Albert” hit one of SEVEN grand slams Saturday, the most on a single day in MLB history. Along with Pujols, Kyle Schwarber of the Chicago Cubs, Matt Adams of the Atlanta Braves, Ian Desmond of the Colorado Rockies, Travis Shaw of the Milwaukee Brewers, Chris Taylor of the Los Angeles Dodgers and Mike Zunino of the Seattle Mariners all hit four-baggers.

Oh yah, and Edison Volquez needed just 98 pitches to no-hit the Arizona Diamondbacks. Just a normal day at the office — psyche!

In honor of Saturday’s grand slam fest, here are the 10 best grand slam moments of the last 20 years.

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No. 10: Batterymate Magic – July 13, 2014

On a Saturday afternoon at AT&T Park, San Francisco Giants ace Madison Bumgarner and catcher Buster Posey added an unthinkable triumph to their list of accomplishments as a battery.

Bumgarner and Posey each hit a grand slam against the Arizona Diamondbacks and became the first batterymen in MLB history to do that. If any pitcher-catcher duo was going to do it, Bumgarner and Posey would have been high on the list. The Giants left-hander arguably has more power than any pitcher and Posey is one of the game’s best offensive catchers.

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No. 9: King Felix stuns the Mets – June 23, 2008

No, he didn’t…yes, he did.

In his career, Seattle Mariners ace Felix Hernandez has been one of the best pitchers in baseball but his most memorable moment might have been with a bat.

American League pitchers get a chance to hit in interleague play but rarely do they produce, let alone hit a grand slam. Nine years ago, “King Felix” became the first American League pitcher to hit a grand slam since the designated hitter rule was adopted in 1973.

Hernandez’s salami was against your average pitcher – his blast against New York Mets ace Johan Santana. To date, it might be the most unlikely home run ever.

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No. 8: Bronx Bombers, Thrice – August 25, 2011

Plenty of teams have hit two grand slams in one game. But, the New York Yankees became the only team to hit three slams in a single game.

At Yankee Stadium, hosting the Oakland Athletics, Robinson Cano, Russell Martin and Curtis Granderson each went deep against Rich Harden, Fautino de losSantos and Bruce Billings respectively.

At one point, the Yankees were down 7-1 – they won 22-9.

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No. 7: Switch-hitter prowess – July 29, 2003

Switch hitters often have more power from the left side. Bill Mueller was not one of them. In 1,216 career games, the third baseman and second baseman hit 56 home runs from the right side and 29 from the left side.

Fourteen years ago, Mueller became the only player to hit a grand slam from both sides of the plate against the Texas Rangers. Relieve this unreal moment below.

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No. 6: Doubleheader Domination – May 20, 1999

Robin Ventura was an accomplished big-league player but the moment that sticks out to me came over the course of a team’s worst nightmare, depending on who you ask: a doubleheader.

Don’t tell that to the former Chicago White Sox skipper. Playing for the New York Mets, Ventura let his bat do the talking against the Milwaukee Brewers, becoming the only player to hit a grand slam in both games of a double header against the Milwaukee Brewers.

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No. 5: “The Ultimate Grand Slam” – August 7, 2014

In the history of the MLB, only 28 players have hit the “ultimate grand slam,” when a player hits a baseball out of the park with his team down by three runs in the final at-bat.

Recently retired slugger Ryan Howard was the last to do so, leading the Philadelphia Phillies to a 6-5 victory three years ago.

As a Diamondbacks fan, I remember Ryan Roberts walking off the Dodgers in 2011. Other than the 2001 World Series, that might have been my favorite moment as a fan.

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No. 4: The Rarest of Feats – April 23, 1999

1999 might have been the year of the grand slam.

Ventura set one record and Fernando Tatis one upped him. Playing for the St. Louis Cardinals, Tatis embarrassed Los Angeles starter Chan Ho Park when he hit two grand slams – in the third inning.

Tatis became the only player to hit two grand slams in the same inning.

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No. 3: The Grand Slam Leader – September 20, 2013

I talked about this in the opening paragraphs, but Alex Rodriguez is the current all-time individual grand slam leader with 25.

No. 24 passed Gehrig and Rodriguez hit the last grand slam of his career two years later, a go ahead bomb in the seventh off Minnesota Twins pitcher J.R. Graham to deep right-center at Yankee Stadium on August 18, 2015. The blast gave New York a 5-4 lead.

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No. 2: No. 600 – June 3, 2017

Pujols’ historic slam last night is not number one on my list but it will be remembered for a long, long time.

Here are some more nuggets about Pujols:

No. 600 was hit 100.5 mph off the bat at a launch angle of 42 degrees. According to Statcast, the milestone shot had just a 12 percent hit probability.

At 37 years and 139 days, Pujols is the fourth-youngest player to hit 600 homers. Sammy Sosa is the only other player born outside the United States to reach the plateau. Sosa and Pujols are Dominican.

Pujols also hit No. 499 and 500 in the same game.

Pujols 445 home runs with the Cardinals is second behind Stan Musial (475) in franchise history.

Pujols has 56 home runs against the Chicago Cubs, the most against any team.

The slugger hit eight home runs off Ryan Dempster, the most against any pitcher.

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No. 1: Playoff History

It bears repeating: not every grand slam is created equal. As win probability added enthusiasts know, different moments matter more than others.

In game 2 of the 2011 American League Championship Series, playing for Texas Rangers, Nelson “Nellie” Cruz hit the only walk off grand slam in a playoff game off Tigers pitcher Ryan Perry. The slam, hit down the left field line in the 11th inning, gave the Rangers a 7-3 win and more importantly, a 2-0 series lead.

The Rangers would beat Detroit in six games and win their second consecutive AL pennant before losing the World Series to David Freese and the Cardinals.


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