Mel Stottlemyre’s inside-the-park grand slamPosted: July 11, 2008
Some of the old timers out there might remember when Mel Stottlemyre hit an inside-the-park grand slam against the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium.
The date was July 20, 1965, and I recall listening to the call on the radio on the beach in Spring Lake, New Jersey. The grand slam, which came in the fifth inning, helped the Yankees to a 6-3 win over Boston that day as Stottlemyre recovered from his race around the bases to hurl a complete game.
“I remember a lot about it,” Stottlemyre said. “It was in the [Yankee] stadium, the ball was hit to left-center field, against Boston, a real hot day in July. The pitcher was Bill Monbouquette. Those things you don’t forget.”
What I did not realize until recently was exactly how rare an inside-the-park grand slam really is. For instance, Stottlemyre become the first pitcher to hit an inside-the-park grand slam since Deacon Phillippe did it for the Pirates in 1910. No pitcher has done it since.
Inside-the-park home runs were much more common in the first half of the century, when ballparks were bigger and there was less emphasis on hitting the ball over the fence. There have been 40 inside-the-park grand slams since 1950, eight since 1990, and none since October 3, 1999 when Randy Winn of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays hit one.
Some other interesting factoids:
- Roberto Clemente, one of the greatest outfielders in Baseball history, is also the only player in baseball history to have hit a walk-off inside-the-park grand slam
- Jimmy Sheckard completed a phenomenal feat in 1901, hitting inside-the-park grand slams in consecutive games on consecutive days with the Brooklyn Superbas (later the Brooklyn Dodgers).Sheckard is the only person in baseball history to accomplish that feat.
- Sheckhard’s teammate, Joe Kelly, also hit one in the first game of Sheckhard’s tandem.
- Hall of Fame shortstop Honus Wagner had five inside-the-park grand slams in his storied career, the most in baseball history.
- Tony Gwynn, Willie Mays, Lou Gehrig, Ty Cobb and Shoeless Joe Jackson are also on the list. Barry Bonds, Hank Aaron, Babe Ruth, Sammy Sosa and Ken Griffey Jr. are not.