: June 27, 2008
A Look at Pitchers Who Take Each Other Deep
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Dear Baseball Library: The other day Felix Hernandez of the Seattle Mariners made all the baseball highlight films when he hit a grand slam against Johan Santana of the New York Mets in Shea Stadium. I know was the first grand slam hit by an American League pitcher since Steve Dunning did it for the Cleveland Indians in 1971 and with pitchers hitting less these days, because of the DH and pitch counts, it certainly is a rare feat. It made me wonder whether there was ever a game in which pitchers hit home runs off each other? MiggyConroy49210
It's occurred 17 times, in the past 107 seasons. Frank Mountain of Worcester and Jim McCormick of Cleveland, one of the elite pitchers of his day, became the first duo to accomplish that feat when they homered against each other on August 19, 1882.
Pud Galvin (Pittsburgh Pirates) and John Clarkson (Chicago White Stockings) went deep against each other on May 7, 1887. Ten weeks later, Clarkson became the only pitcher to exchange home runs with a mound opponent twice in a season and a career when he and Pete Conway (Detroit Wolverines) homered against each other on July 26, 1887, although he wasn't a particularly good hitter.
On May 13, 1887, six days after the Galvin-Clarkson enounter, Stump Wiedman (Detroit) and Jimmy Ryan (Chicago) joined this unusual list. Ryan's name probably rates an asterisk. He was a full-time outfielder for the Chicago White Stockings, and his 11 homers that season would tie him for seventh place among the National League leaders. His start on May 13 was one of only three he made all season.
Other pitchers on this list include:
Mark Baldwin (Chicago) and John Healey (Indianapolis) in June 13, 1887.
Pink Hawley (St. Louis) and Ben Sanders (Louisville) on October 12, 1892.
Bill Hutchinson (Chicago) and Tom Parrott (Cincinnati Reds) on October 4, 1894.
Clark Griffith (Chicago) and Case Patten (Washington Senators) on August 20, 1901.
Milt Gaston (St. Louis Browns) and Ted Blankenship (Chicago White Sox) on April 18, 1927.
Ralph Branca (Brooklyn Dodgers) and Cliff Chambers (Pittsburgh Pirates) on June 8, 1950.
Pedro Ramos (Minnesota Twins) and Eli Grba (California Angels) on May 12, 1961.
Buster Narum (Washington Senators) and Earl Wilson (Boston Red Sox) on April 14, 1965. Wilson, by the way, was one of the top slugging pitchers in baseball history. From 1964 to 1968, the righthander hit 29 home runs in 444 at-bats. His 6.53 home run ratio was nearly 400 points above the major league average (2.55) for ALL players. Among all major league regulars (1,600 or more plate appearances), only two players--Willie Mays (6.77) and Wilie McCovey (6.71) posted higher home ratios during that period. Narum and Wilson are the last American League pitchers to homer against each other in a game.
On July 3, 1966, Tony Cloninger (Atlanta Braves) and Ray Sadecki (San Francisco Giants) each homered. Cloninger's home run against Sadecki, who was appearing in relief, was not only a grand slam, it was his second grand slam of the game. He had hit a bases loaded homer against reliever Bob Priddy in the first inning (the Braves had knocked out Giants starter Joe Gibbon). Cloninger remains the only pitcher in major league history to hit two grand slams in one game. He would hit three other homers that season.
Kevin Gross (Montreal Expos) and Fernando Valenzuela (Los Angeles Dodgers) joined this short list on May 14, 1990.
Kevin Foster (Chicago Cubs) and Marvin Freeman (Colorado Rockies) hit their homers on May 23, 1995. The last pitchers to homer against each other were Denny Stark (Colorado) and Kevin Millwood (Atlanta) on May 18, 2002.