August 13, 2006 – Travis Hafner Hits a Record Sixth Grand-Slam
The Tribe was wrapping up a weekend series with the Royals with a Sunday afternoon tilt between Jeremy Sowers and the Royals’ Luke Hudson.
Sowers gave up two quick hits, but then retired the Royals on a pop-out by Mike Sweeney and a line-drive to third baseman Andy Marte who caught the liner and tagged out David DeJesus as he was diving back to the bag.
The Indians put the game way out of reach early on. Hudson loaded the bases immediately. He issued a walk to Grady Sizemore. Jason Michaels singled. Then he walked Travis Hafner. Victor Martinez followed with a two run single into right. Shin Soo Choo plated another pair with a single into left field.
Ryan Garko singled. Jhonny Perralta reached on an error, and Joe Inglett singled to load the bases once more. Hudson worked into a full count against Andy Marte before walking in a run. Grady Sizemore scored Perralta with another single. Hudson finally recorded an out when he got Jason Michaels to strike out swinging in his second at bat of the inning.
Travis Hafner stepped in and launched a no-doubt line drive grand slam home run into the bullpen in right field.
Victor Martinez got his second hit on the inning with a double to left, and finally Todd Wellmeyer replaced Hudson on the mound. Wellmeyer promptly retired Choo and Garko to end the eight hit eleven run inning.
Ryan Garko and Franklin Gutierrez added solo home runs in the fouth and eighth, respectively while Jeremy Sowers and the bullpen cruised to the 13-0 victory.
Hafner’s grand slam was his sixth of the season. The only other player to hit six slams in a season is Don Mattingly in 1987. Interestingly, Mattingly never hit another grand slam after 1987. Hafner is by far the fastest to achieve the feat–since Mattingly did not hit #5 or #6 until late in September.
Unfortunately, Hafner did not get to write his own line in the history book, he was hit by a pitch in Game 133 and missed the entire month of September with a broken hand.
Hafner ended the season with a .659 slugging percentage and 1.097 OPS. He hit a total of 42 homers and drove in 117 in his best hitting campaign. While belting six grand slams is a personal achievement and a testament to Pronk’s clutch hitting, it also indicates that the top of the order got on base a lot.
Honorable Mention: August 24, 1945 – Bob Feller Returns from Navy, Strikes out 12 Tigers
As with many of the baseball greats of the 1940s, a significant chunk of Feller’s career was given up to service in World War II. After three years in the Navy, mostly aboard the USS Alabama, Feller returned to the Indians mid-season in 1945.
His first game back was against the Tigers on a Friday night in Municipal Stadium. Over 46,000 fans came out to welcome Feller home and see him throw a complete-game four hitter. He struck out twelve Tigers in the 4-2 win.