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The odds of hitting a grand slam - A Hunt and Peck

Baseball is hard.

Fernando Tatis #23

Earlier this week was the nineteenth anniversary of perhaps the most unlikely occurrence in baseball. On April 23, 1999 Fernando Tatis stepped up to the plate against the Dodger’s Chan Ho Park with the bases loaded. According the video, here were his stats with the bases loaded prior to that at bat:

With the Cardinals trailing 0-2, Tatis proceeded to crank a 2-0 Park fastball deep into the Los Angeles night where it landed in the leftfield corner. The Birdos scored their first four runs of the game.

With the help of an Eli Marrero homer, a few walks, a single, and a Dodger error, the Cardinals tacked on three more runs and loaded the bases for Fernando Tatis’ second plate appearance of that inning.

Why Chan Ho Park was still pitching is a subject that has been researched for over a decade. Most people point to the fact that the Dodgers bullpen was taxed, that the inning got out of hand too quickly. It is tough to say why, but that fateful decision to leave Park in the game to face Tatis gave baseball a moment it had never seen before and will likely never see again:

The odds of hitting a grand slam at all? In 2017 there were 182,595 plate appearances across baseball. Among those, 134 resulted in grand slams. And four of those were by Scooter Gennett! That is a grand slam ever 1362.6 plate appearances, unless it is Scooter Gennett, because then we are talking one every 124.3 plate appearances (in 2017).

Hitting a home run is difficult. Hitting more than one in a game is difficult-er. Hitting a grand slam is rare. Hitting more than one in a game? Only ten have done that in the history of baseball. In the same inning? There is only one: Fernando Tatis.

This Day In Dodgers History: Fernando Tatis Hits 2 Grand Slams In One Inning Off Chan Ho Park |

St. Louis Cardinals at Los Angeles Dodgers Box Score, April 23, 1999 |

It's been nearly two decades since Fernando Tatis hit two grand slams in one inning |

April 23, 1999: Fernando Tatis hits two grand slams in one inning | Society for American Baseball Research

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