Baseball has been around a long time, so it’s increasingly difficult to do something that has never before been accomplished, especially when it involves something fairly basic, like hitting a home run. (Of course, that’s not counting feats involving modern technology; no one has ever taken a selfie while jogging around the base paths, but it has to be coming soon, right?)
So what the Giants’ Madison Bumgarner and Buster Posey accomplished today is pretty noteworthy. They became the first pitcher and catcher, respectively, from the same team to hit a grand slam in the same game. Grand slams are relatively rare, of course, as are pitchers hitting home runs of any sort. Add in the fact that catchers are also generally not among the best hitters around, and you can see why something like this has never happened before.
First came Posey’s grand slam, in the fifth inning, driving in Bumgarner, among others. Then the latter came up the very next inning with the bases loaded, and this happened:
(Before we go any further, a note on that video clip: I get that it has to do with Bumgarner’s own icky habits on the mound, but if I find myself at a game, sitting behind someone with a jersey reading ‘Snotrocket,’ I probably try to move to a different seat. I don’t want to be around for a display of the sincerest form of flattery.)
“That’s pretty cool,” Bumgarner said after his Giants had topped the Diamondbacks, 8-4. “This game is full of strange statistics. It seems like there is a first every day.”
‘Strange statistics,’ you say? How about this: Bumgarner also became the first pitcher in 48 years to hit two grand slams in one season (he had swatted one on April 11). However, the previous guy — Atlanta’s Tony Cloninger, in 1966 — accomplished his feat in one game. Crazy! Then there’s this:
Giants: 1st team with exactly 8 runs on 2 grand slams since May 2, 1995 (Red Sox — grand slams by John Valentin and Mo Vaughn)
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) July 13, 2014
It is also probably worth mentioning that, according to mlb.com, Bumgarner leads all qualifying pitchers in average, home runs, RBIs and runs scored. So if any pitcher was ready to, um, rocket his way into history with his bat, it was him.