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.
The big presidential pardon news today concerns the commutation of Chelsea Manning’s sentence. We’ll leave that aside. For our purposes, know that someone in the world of baseball was pardoned: Willie McCovey.
Yes, Hall of Famer Willie McCovey, who in 1995 pleaded guilty to income tax fraud related to the non-reporting of income received from memorabilia and autograph shows. Duke Snider pleaded guilty alongside McCovey. They were given two years probation and fines of $5,000. Snider died in 2011. McCovey still works with the San Francisco Giants as a senior advisor and goodwill ambassador.
President Obama’s release of McCovey’s pardon was pretty succinct. But it’s enough to scrub the record of one of the greatest sluggers of all time.
Rangers reliever Jake Diekman will have surgery on January 25 to help alleviate ulcerative colitis, an inflammatory bowel disease. As a result, the lefty will miss at least half of the 2017 regular season, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports. Diekman was diagnosed with the illness when he was 11 years old. He has brought awareness to the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation of America with a “Gut It Out” campaign.
Diekman, who turns 30 years old on Saturday, finished the 2016 campaign with a 3.40 ERA and a 59/26 K/BB ratio in 53 innings. He came to the Rangers from the Phillies in the Cole Hamels trade on July 31, 2015.
The Rangers and Diekman avoided arbitration last Friday, agreeing to a $2.55 million salary for the 2017 season.