In baseball, a grand slam is a home run hit with all three bases occupied by baserunners ("bases loaded"), thereby scoring four runs—the most possible in one play. According to The Dickson Baseball Dictionary, the term originated in the card game of contract bridge, in which a grand slam involves taking all the possible tricks. The word slam, by itself, usually is connected with a loud sound, particularly of a door being closed with excess force; thus, slamming the door on one's opponent(s), in addition to of course the bat slamming the ball into a home run. The most recent grand slam was hit on February 3, 2017, by Mexican José Luis Valle during the Caribbean Series held in Culiacán, Sinaloa, against Venezuela.
Roger Connor is believed to have been the first major league player to hit a grand slam, on September 10, 1881, for the Troy Trojans. Although Charlie Gould hit one for the Boston Red Stockings (now the Atlanta Braves) in the National Association (NA) on September 5, 1871, the NA is not recognized by MLB as a major league.
Alex Rodriguez has 25 career grand slams, the most by any player in Major League Baseball history, passing Lou Gehrig's 23 on September 20, 2013. Meanwhile, Don Mattingly set the one-season record with six grand slams in 1987 – remarkably, the only grand slams of his major league career. Travis Hafner tied Mattingly's Major League record in 2006, while in 2009, Albert Pujols tied the one-season National League record of five grand slams set by Ernie Banks in 1955.
Several grand slams, the first being Connor's in 1881, consisted of a player hitting a walk-off grand slam for a one-run victory; some baseball observers call this an "ultimate grand slam". Ryan Howard was the most recent to do so in a 6-5 victory by the Philadelphia Phillies over the Houston Astros on August 7, 2014. Roberto Clemente is the only player to have hit a walk-off inside-the-park grand slam in a one-run victory; the Pittsburgh Pirates defeated the Chicago Cubs 9–8 on July 25, 1956 at Forbes Field, a park known for its spacious outfield.
During the 2005 major league season, grand slams accounted for 132 of the 5017 home runs hit (2.6%). On June 13–14, 2006, the Minnesota Twins hit grand slams in consecutive games against the Boston Red Sox, including a walk-off grand slam by Jason Kubel in the 12th inning on June 13.
In 2006, the Chicago White Sox hit grand slams in three consecutive games against the Houston Astros (June 23–25). Scott Podsednik hit the only grand slam of his career in the series opener. Joe Crede followed up with a slam of his own on Saturday, and Tadahito Iguchi hit a game tying grand slam in the bottom of the ninth with two outs in the series finale. (This followed a three run blast by Iguchi in the bottom of the eighth.) The White Sox became the first team to accomplish this since the Detroit Tigers in 1993. On the other hand, the 2007 Kansas City Royals surrendered grand slams in three straight games; two against the Baltimore Orioles (April 13–14) and one against the Tigers (April 16).
Also in 2006, Travis Hafner of the Cleveland Indians set a major league record by hitting five grand slams prior to the All-Star break, on his way to tying Mattingly for one season (his sixth was on August 13.) On July 16, Carlos Beltrán and Cliff Floyd of the New York Mets hit grand slams during an 11-run sixth inning against the Chicago Cubs, marking the eighth time two grand slams were hit in a team's at-bat (the fourth time in National League history).
Four players hit a grand slam in their first Major League at-bat: Bill Duggleby (1898), Jeremy Hermida (2005), Kevin Kouzmanoff (2006), and Daniel Nava (2011). Kouzmanoff, Nava, and Duggleby hit theirs on the first pitch; Hermida's grand slam was in a pinch-hit at bat.
Tony Cloninger is the only pitcher to hit two grand slams in one game, for the Atlanta Braves in a 1966 contest against the San Francisco Giants.
Félix Hernández of the Seattle Mariners became the first American League pitcher since the designated hitter rule went into effect in 1973 to hit a grand slam when he did so on June 23, 2008, off New York Mets ace Johan Santana in an interleague game.
The only major leaguer to hit two grand slams in one inning is Fernando Tatís of the St. Louis Cardinals, on April 23, 1999 at Dodger Stadium, with both grand slams coming off Los Angeles' Chan Ho Park in the third inning. Tatis was only the second National League player to hit two grand slams in one game, joining Cloninger. Park was only the second pitcher in major league history to give up two grand slams in one inning; Bill Phillips of the Pittsburgh Pirates did it on August 16, 1890, one to Tom Burns and one to Malachi Kittridge, but Park was the first to give up both to the same batter. Tatis had never hit a grand slam before in his career. Bill Mueller is the only player to hit grand slams from both sides of the plate in the same game, when he hit 2 on July 29, 2003 for the Boston Red Sox vs. the Texas Rangers. Robin Ventura is the only player to hit a grand slam in both games of a doubleheader, when he did so on May 20, 1999 for the New York Mets against the Milwaukee Brewers.
In Japan's professional league, the feat of multiple grand slams in a single inning by a team has been accomplished three times; most recently on April 1, 2007 by José Fernández and Takeshi Yamasaki of the Tohoku Rakuten Golden Eagles. The Daiei Hawks accomplished the feat in 1999.
On August 25, 2011, the New York Yankees, hosting the Oakland A's, became the first team in MLB history to hit three grand slams in one game. Robinson Canó, Russell Martin and Curtis Granderson took pitchers Rich Harden, Fautino de los Santos, and Bruce Billings deep, with each grand slam being hit in a different inning. Coming back from a 7−1 deficit, the second grand slam gave the Yankees their first lead of the game; they went on to win 22–9.
On July 13, 2014, Buster Posey and batterymate Madison Bumgarner of the San Francisco Giants hit grand slams against the Arizona Diamondbacks. It marked the first time in Major League Baseball history that batterymates hit grand slams in the same game.
"Get out the rye bread and mustard, Grandma, it is grand salami time!"- used by longtime Seattle Mariners lead commentator Dave Niehaus from the 1995 season until his death in November 2010. Currently used by Niehaus' longtime partner Rick Rizzs.
Career grand slam leaders
Players in bold are currently active (as of September 27, 2016).
1 – National League record
a – American League
n – National League