Yesterday Madison Bumgarner hit his second grand slam of the year. That was pretty major, as he became the first pitcher to hit two grand slams in the same season since 1966. That year Tony Cloninger hit two while playing with the Braves. Although Cloninger’s feat was even more impressive: he did it twice in one game.
But that’s not where the history ends. Buster Posey hit a grand slam too. And, according to Elias and many other folks in the business of seeing if weird stuff had ever happened before, it was confirmed: Posey and Bumgarner became first battery to hit a grand slam in the same game in major league history.
One hundred and forty plus years of big league history and we’re still notching firsts. Which, OK, some first are merely functions of us slicing up numbers ever more finely to create feats which aren’t immediately and apparently notable. But grand slams are pretty big things, and a pitcher and catcher doing it in the same game is something even a person might have pointed out as neat a century ago. And here we are, in 2014, and it just happened for the first time.
For a few days, it looked like Aaron Judge was finally hitting his stride in the postseason. He was still striking out at a regular clip, piling more and more strikeouts atop the 16 he racked up in the Division Series, but he was mashing, too. He engineered a three-run homer during Game 3 of the Championship Series, followed by another blast and game-tying double in Game 4. His one-out double helped pad a five-run lead in Game 5, while his 425-footer off of Brad Peacock barely made a dent during a 7-1 loss in Game 6. And then Lance McCullers‘ curveball found and fooled him, as it did five of the 14 batters it met in Game 7:
The strikeout was Judge’s first of the evening and 27th since the start of the playoffs. No other major league batter has racked up that many strikeouts in a single postseason, though Alfonso Soriano’s 26-strikeout record in 2003 comes the closest. Within that record, Judge also collected three golden sombreros (four strikeouts in a single game), narrowly avoiding the dreaded platinum sombrero (five strikeouts in a single game).
It’s an unfortunate footnote to a spectacular year for the rookie outfielder, who decimated the competition with 52 home runs and 8.2 fWAR during the regular season and was a pivotal part of the Yankees’ playoff run. Thankfully, the image of McCullers’ curveball darting just under Judge’s bat won’t be the image that sticks with us for years to come. Instead, it’ll look something like this: