erik lundegaard

A-Rod Sets Grand Slam Mark; World Yawns

Am I the only one who cares about the grand slam record? It seems so. Alex Rodriguez broke the mark, set by Lou Gehrig way back when, when he hit his 24th Friday night, and there's nary a buzz. Maybe if a better man had broken the mark, one not so universally reviled or tainted, it would've garnered more attention. As is, a blip.

But I think it's more than that. Here's how unimportant the mark is:

Baseball Reference --> Leaders --> .... Nada

Baseball Reference gives you Single Season/ Career/ Active/ Progressive/ Yearly League/ Year by Year Top 10s in these categories, among others:

  • Singles
  • Times on Base
  • Hit by Pitch
  • Double Plays Grounded Into
  • Outs Made

They'll also give you some of the newer stats: WAR (their version), RE24, WPA, REW.

But grand slams? Grand schlams.

Growing up, the grand slam mark meant something to me. Maybe because Lou Gehrig meant something to me, seeing as I was an overly sensitive kid and seeing as his was baseball's most melodramatic story. Or maybe it was because Gehrig was hanging out there all by himself with 23. The nearest guys? Jimmie Foxx and Ted Williams with 17. Willie McCovey would eventually hit 18 but not until 1977 or so. There was Gehrig and then everyone else.

And Babe Ruth batted in front of him! How about that? The guy in front of you was baseball's most famous base-clearer and yet you hit more grand slams than anyone. Of course, the guy in front of you also walked more than anyone else. That helped.

Obviously, to do this, you need to be on run-scoring teams for a long time and during a high-production era, and Gehrig was and was, and A-Rod was and was. So now the mark is his. 24. Junior's number.

It was even important. It put the Yankees ahead. They were tied with the Giants, 1-1 in the bottom of the 7th, and A-Rod jacked it with two outs. A single, a HBP and a walk and then gone. And then magic. You could almost call it heroic.

What's sad about all of this for people in Seattle? Three of the guys that scored in that historic grand slam for the Yankees were former Mariners: A-Rod, Ichiro, Brendan Ryan. More power to them. It's nice to know that somewhere, something historic is happening.

Alex Rodriguez's record-setting 24th career grand slam

Yankee mystique: Brendan, Ichiro, Alex.


Posted at 05:52 PM on Sat. Sep 21, 2013 in category Baseball  
Tags: , , , ,

COMMENTS

Tim wrote:

I think it's hard to weigh grand slams as a stat — obviously you can count them, they're quantifiable in that sense, but as an achievement, they're just home runs. If you listed records for most grand slams, would you then also have to list records for most two-run homers and solo shots? They might be impressive because they score four, but even within a game how big a deal are they really? Sometimes they mean the difference in tying or going ahead in a game, other times they're superfluous or inadequate and just mean more RBI for the batter. Robin Ventura, I think, hit one in the playoffs that went down as a single because the Mets only needed the one run (and he didn't circle the bases). So I think I'm on board with grand slams being buzzless.

Comment posted on Mon. Sep 23, 2013 at 12:12 AM

Erik wrote:

All good points. But it's still a fun record to me. Solo homers, two-run homers, three-run homers? They're all good. But the grand slam. Now we're talking. In these parts, some people even call it The Grand Salami. In these parts, we even name magazines after it.

Comment posted on Tue. Sep 24, 2013 at 06:22 AM

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