Turn Back the Clock Tuesday: Fernando Tatis

In 1999, Fernando Tatis did something that no player had ever done Photo: Fernando Tatis is greeted my Mark McGwire at the plate/AP

LOS ANGELES, April 23, 2013 — Today is Turn Back The Clock Tuesday as we journey back to the year 1999. The date, April 23; The Los Angeles Dodgers are playing the St. Louis Cardinals at Dodger Stadium.

Chan Ho Park is on the mound for the Dodgers in the top of the third inning. He has a two run lead with which to work. Through the first two innings, Park has given up two hits and a walk, while striking out two and giving up zero runs.

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What happenes next had never happened up until this point and has not happened since.

Darren Bragg leads off the inning with a single to right field. The next batter, Edgar Renteria, is hit by one of Chan Ho Park’s pitches. Big Mark McGwire comes to the plate next and singles to shallow right, loading the bases. Chan Ho must have feel like he has dodged a bullet.

Fernando Tatis is the next batter. Tatis has never hit more than 11 homeruns in his previous three seasons, but has four homeruns already this April. Park starts him off with two balls. Fernando Tatis takes a swing at the third pitch he sees and puts it in the left field pavilion of Dodger Stadium. It is the first grand slam of Tatis’ career.

The Dodgers are now down, 4-2, but definitely not out of it by any means. However, there are still no outs in the top of the third inning. The next batter is J.D. Drew and he grounds out to first. Eli Marrero is up next and hits homerun into left field. Things are not looking good for Park and the Dodgers now trail the Cardinals, 5-2.

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Placido Polanco follows Marrero and draws a four pitch walk from Chan Ho Park. The next batter, Joe McEwing takes Park to a full count before finally also drawing a walk. The Cardinals now have runners on first and second base with Jose Jimenez coming up.

Chan Ho Park/AP

Jose Jimenez lays down a bunt and all three runners end up safe. The bases are now loaded for Darren Bragg, who led off the inning with a single. Bragg grounds to first, but reaches base on a throwing error by Dodger first baseman Eric Karros. Placido Polanco scored on the play and the bases are still loaded with Edgar Renteria coming up.

Renteria singles to right, scoring Joe McEwing and, again, leaves the bases loaded and the Cardinals lead, 7-2. Mark McGwire, who hit 70 home runs the year before, is the next batter. Davey Johnson decides to let Chan Ho Park stay in to pitch to McGwire and it pays off as McGwire flies out to right.

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For the second time in the third inning, and with the bases loaded, Fernando Tatis comes to the plate. Tatis gets to a full count and then it happens. He hits another home run off Chan Ho Park, in the third inning, with the bases loaded. Needless to say, Davey Johnson has seen enough and pulls Chan Ho in favor of Carlos Perez out of the bullpen.

The Cardinals went on to win the game by a score of 12-5. Fernando Tatis became the first player in major league history to hit two grand slams in the same inning and off the same pitcher. Chan Ho Park became the only pitcher to give up two grand slams in one inning. That it was also to the same player is just record book gravy.

Fernando Tatis went on to hit 34 home runs that season, including another grand slam. In total, Tatis hit eight grand slams over the course of his career, which last 11 seasons and 14 years. Chan Ho Park pitched in the majors for 17 years for seven different teams, including two stints with the Los Angeles Dodgers. Park gave up a total of six grand slams in his 17 year career.

Kevin J. Wells writes about Major League Baseball and punk rock music.  Follow him on Twitter @WellsOnBaseball


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Kevin J Wells

Kevin J. Wells was born and raised in the Los Angeles area in a town called Montrose.  He currently plays guitar for and is a founding member of the Los Angeles punk rock band Emmer Effer.  He has worked in a number of different career fields including Behavioral Therapy, Commodities, Insurance, and most recently a food cart in Portland, OR. Kevin has been both a sports and entertainment columnist and editor for The Washington Times Communities since January 2013.

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