#Shortstops: Tatis has a home in Cooperstown
But two decades earlier, his father accomplished the near-impossible: Slugging two grand slams in a single inning.
And an artifact from that moment is preserved in Cooperstown.
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Afterward, the opposing managers were both in awe of what they had just witnessed.
“It was spectacular; I get goose pimples just thinking about it,” said St. Louis manager Tony La Russa. “What have they got, 100 years of baseball, and this is the first time it's ever been done? Wow.
“(Tatis) had a great batting practice,” La Russa added. “Usually what that means is what it means – nothing. But he did have an outstanding BP.”
“That's a good job on his part,” Dodger manager Davey Johnson said of Tatis Sr. “He's an aggressive young hitter.”
Only once before had the Cardinals hit two grand slams in one game: Jim Bottomley and Chick Hafey did it in 1929. No Cardinal had ever hit two homers in one inning.
Los Angeles broadcaster Vin Scully, in his 50th season behind a microphone for the Dodgers, said, “When he came up the second time, I said, ‘I'm not even going to look in the record book because I can't believe anybody could have ever (hit two slams in an inning),’ and then damned if he didn't do it.
“What would it be comparable to? I don't know how you could compare it to anything. One inning is so preposterous,” added the 1982 Ford C. Frick Award honoree. “I guess it was kismet. If it had to happen, you knew it was going to happen with the Dodgers.”
After the game Michael Lerner, a California resident, gave Tatis the second home run ball. Lerner said he bought the ball from a kid in the stands for $80. In exchange, Tatis gave Lerner an autographed jersey and six autographed baseballs.
“I think that's what every baseball player is looking for – to be famous, to be in the Hall of Fame,” Tatis Sr. said. “You just want your name to get bigger and bigger every year. I think my name is going to be, like you say, (famous).”
Tatis Sr. soon sent to the Cooperstown shrine the batting helmet he wore when he made history.
The navy blue Cardinals batting helmet, size 7 ¼, with his uniform No. 23 on the rear and the top of the bill, can be seen in the Museum’s One for the Books exhibit.
The righty-swinging Tatis Sr., who also saw action in the outfield, first base, second base and shortstop, finished his career with a .265 batting average, a .344 OBP, 113 home runs, 448 RBI and 427 runs scored.
Bill Francis is the senior research and writing specialist at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum