Alex Rodriguez is the all-time grand slam leader, but does it matter?

During the Giants-Yankees game on Friday night, Alex Rodriguez hit a seventh inning grand slam off of San Francisco reliever George Kontos. It was the 24th grand slam of A-Rod's career, breaking the record he shared with Lou Gehrig.

But really, does it matter?

Do you know who's third all-time on the grand slam list, with 21? It's noted PED abuser Manny Ramirez. In fourth with 19 is Hall of Famer (and noted accumulator) Eddie Murray. In fifth with 18 is another Hall of Famer, Willie McCovey. But tied with McCovey is Robin Ventura, who received exactly seven Hall of Fame votes during his lone year on the ballot in 2010. 17 grand slams is a popular number, and a pair of Hall of Famers have mashed that number: Ted Williams and Jimmie Foxx. But then again, so has the recently retired Carlos Lee, and no one would ever confuse him for an elite player.

Two of the best home run hitters ever, Babe Ruth and Hank Aaron, have 16 career grand slams. Dave Kingman does too. Ken Griffey Jr has 15, and so does Richie Sexson. 

I think you get my point. The all-time grand slam leaderboard isn't some sort of hallowed ground like the career home run leaderboard is in some people's minds. Willie Mays has eight career grand slams, the same amount as Garret Anderson, Jeromy Burnitz, Carl Everett, Chris Hoiles, Trot Nixon, Dean Palmer, and Fernando Tatis.

Barry Bonds, Reggie Jackson, Harmon Killebrew, and Willie Stargell all have 11, just as many as Gary Gaetti, Lee May, Danny Tartabull, and Devon White.

Mickey Mantle, Sammy Sosa, and Jim Thome have nine, as do Tony Batista, Walker Cooper, Alvin Davis, Paul Sorrento, and Todd Zeile.

Mel Ott, Mike Schmidt, and Carl Yastrzemski all have seven. Good for them! Good for Mike Blowers, Marlon Byrd, Joe Crede, Pedro Feliz, Travis Fryman, Pete Incavigla, John Jaha, Phil Nevin, and David Segui, who all have seven too.

Miguel Cabrera is the best damn hitter in baseball, and he has four grand slams, or fewer than active superstars like Yuniesky Betancourt, John Buck, Mark DeRosa, Alexei Ramirez, Brian Roberts, and Juan Uribe. Three of the best players in the National League, Andrew McCutchen, Buster Posey, and Joey Votto, have combined to hit as many grand slams as Kurt Abbott, Shane Andrews, Alan Ashby, Rich Aurila, Michael Barrett, Sean Berry, and so on and so forth.

The grand slam is an impactful hit, there's no questioning that. But Rodriguez holding the all-time record isn't some sort of black mark against the game. No one is immediately going to think of Rodriguez as the grand slam king like they think of Pete Rose as the hit king, or Aaron (to those that refuse to acknowledge the existence of Barry Bonds) as the home run king, or Nolan Ryan as the strikeout king. It's a cute little thing that happened, and that's it. The fabric of baseball isn't being destroyed because A-Rod has more grand slams than anyone else does.

Great players hit grand slams. So do good players, and mediocre players, and flat out bad players (hi, Yuni!). Hitting a grand slam is just as dependent on luck as it is skill. The fact that Rodriguez has had the good fortune to come up in enough situations to hit a grand slam and enough skill to actually do it as a testament to how wild baseball can be at times. It's a thing that happened, and it really doesn't have much of an impact on me personally aside from "hey, that's cool". 

About Joe Lucia

I'm the managing editor of Awful Announcing and the news editor of The Comeback. I also made The Outside Corner a thing for six seasons.

Quantcast