July 27 is a special day in baseball
On this day last year, Josh Willingham made Major League history by blasting two grand slams and tallying eight RBI in the Nationals’ 14-6 win over the Brewers at Miller Park. Willingham became just the 13th player in MLB history, and just the third NL player ever, to hit a pair of bases-loaded homers in a single game.
Interestingly enough, Willingham was not the first player to accomplish the feat on July 27. Rudy York of Boston hit a pair of grand slams on July 27, 1946, as his Red Sox beat the St. Louis Browns 13-6.
In fact, looking back through the years, July 27th holds claim to several odd events in baseball history:
1918: Brooklyn starting hurler Henry Heitman makes his Major League debut against the St. Louis Cardinals, but after giving up four hits to the first four batters he faced, he was yanked from the game. The 21-year-old right hander never pitched again in the Majors, completing one of the shortest careers in the Big Leagues ever.
1930: Cincinnati’s Ken Ash earned his last Major League victory with just one pitch. Ash came in as a reliever in the fifth inning with the bases loaded, no outs and the Cubs up by one run on his Reds. On his first pitch, he got Chicago’s Charlie Grimm to hit into a triple play, and although removed for a pinch hitter in the bottom of the inning, Ash was credited in the 6-5 win.
1947: Jake Jones of Boston hit a triple that traveled just 60 feet in the Red Sox’s 4-3 victory over the Browns at Fenway Park. Hall of Fame umpire Cal Hubbard awarded Jones the three bases when St. Louis pitcher Fred Sanford, threw his glove at the roller traveling outside the third base line to prevent it from potentially rolling fair.
1966: The Wisconsin Supreme Court overruled a lower court decision that required the Braves to return to Milwaukee, holding that the state did not have the jurisdiction to keep the Braves from moving to Atlanta.
1998: In a sport where records are made to be broken, Tyrone Horne completed a feat that had never been accomplished before and has yet to be touched again–hitting for a home run cycle in a professional baseball game. His two-run homer in the first inning, grand slam in the second, solo shot in the fifth and three-run blast in the sixth propelled his Double-A Arkansas Travelers to a 13-4 victory at San Antonio.
1. Martin Prado – 2B
2. Jason Heyward – RF
3. Chipper Jones – 3B
4. Brian McCann – C
5. Eric Hinske – LF
6. Troy Glaus – 1B
7. Alex Gonzalez – SS
8. Melky Cabrera – CF
9. Tommy Hanson – SP (8-6, 4.12 ERA)
* Atlanta dropped two of three games in their weekend series at the Marlins, marking its first series loss to an NL team since it lost two of three at Philadelphia over two months ago (May 7-9).
1. Nyjer Morgan – CF
2. Cristian Guzman – 2B
3. Ryan Zimmerman – 3B
4. Adam Dunn – 1B
5. Josh Willingham – LF
6. Roger Bernadina – RF
7. Ivan Rodriguez – C
8. Ian Desmond – SS
9. Stephen Strasburg – SP (5-2, 2.32 ERA)
* Washington is the only club to sport three teammates ranked among the NL’s top 15 in OPS, thanks to Ryan Zimmerman (8th, .903), Adam Dunn (4th, .935) and Josh Willingham (15th, .880). In the AL, only Boston can match this claim, thanks to their trio of Kevin Youkilis, Adrian Beltre and David Ortiz.
* Nyjer Morgan has been successful on eight of his last nine stolen-base attempts. His eight swipes this month are tied for the Major League lead with the A’s Coco Crisp, the Mets’ Angel Pagan and the Diamondback’s Chris Young.