With one epic swing of his bat, Alex Rodriguez grand slammed his way into the record books with a line drive over the left-field fence in the eighth inning of the New York Yankees 6-4 win over the Atlanta Braves at Turner Field on Tuesday.
With the Bronx Bombers trailing by 4-0 with one out in the eighth, on a full-count pitch from Braves’ reliever Jonny Venters, A-Rod lifted his tenth homer of the season, and the 23rd grand slam of his career to tie the late-great Hall of Famer Lou Gehrig for first place on the career list. For Rodriguez and the Yankees, the slam represented more than a milestone. It erased seven frustrating innings and sparked the dramatic come-from-behind victory that was capped by Nick Swisher’s two-run homer to give the Yanks six-runs in the inning. “It means a lot,” the Yankees’ third baseman explained. “It’s very special. This game is very, very difficult. If you’re not going to enjoy these great moments, then it’s not any fun. Lou Gehrig is not only one of the all-time greats, but he’s one of ours. He’s a Yankee.”
Gehrig, the Iron Horse, set the record and belted his 23rd grand slam on August 20, 1938 in the first inning of the Yankees matchup with the Philadelphia Athletics in Philly. Buck Ross threw the pitch. “It’s incredible, absolutely incredible,” said Yankee manager Joe Girardi. “It’s hard to fathom what Alex has been able to do in his career. To be mentioned with Lou Gehrig is pretty special.”
Nearly 75 years after Gehrig’s last grand slam, Rodriguez now has 29 RBIs on the season and 639 career homers, for fifth on the all-time list and 21 shy of the great Hall of Famer, Willie Mays Jr. He needs to cross home plate 30 more times to knock Gehrig out of the all-time top 10 list of runs scored. Gehrig tallied 1,888 and Rodriguez has 1,859 scored runs. To celebrate A-Rod adding another record to his Hall of Fame career, Life + Times takes a look back at his most storied milestones.