Publish date:

My One and Only

Thousands of at bats, but just a single grand slam
Author:

ROYCE CLAYTON
RED SOX SS
Career at bats: 7,373
Slam date: 5/12/00

"I REMEMBER a reporter saying to me, 'You've got 10 years in the majors and you've never hit a grand slam'—and about two days later I hit one," says Clayton, who was with the Rangers when he clubbed his long-awaited salami off of Angels lefty Scott Schoeneweis. Clayton, 37, who was let go by Toronto last month and as of Sunday was at Triple A for the Red Sox, hit his slam on a full count; it was the 62nd of his 110 career home runs. He says he's never come close to duplicating his feat and adds, "You know, a grand slam didn't feel any different than any other home run—there were just more people waiting for you when you got to home plate."

DEREK JETER
YANKEES SS
Career at bats: 7,309
Slam date: 6/18/05

WHEN JETER dug in against Cubs reliever Joe Borowski, he had the most bases-loaded at bats—135—of any active player without a granny. "I knew I'd never hit one," he says. "In New York fans say things while you're on deck, so it's on your mind. But in that at bat I just wanted a sacrifice fly." Jeter hit his fly ball, and it carried over the left-centerfield wall at Yankee Stadium. "Oh, man, I was happy," says Jeter. "Everyone said I was smiling as I went around the bases." After a curtain call Jeter was again showered in cheers when he came out the next inning. Says Jeter, "I got the ball and gave it to my parents. That was one souvenir I wanted."

MARK GRUDZIELANEK
ROYALS 2B
Career at bats: 6,513
Slam date: 6/1/01

NOT KNOWN for his pop—he has 86 career dongs—Grudzielanek was with the Dodgers when he jumped at his chance to unload the bases. "It was a first-pitch fastball," he says of the ball he hit off of Astros reliever Nelson Cruz. "I knew I had hit it pretty good. I knew it was high enough where it was a no-doubter." Grudzielanek does, however, doubt whether he'll ever give a repeat performance. The opportunities are scarce for the Royals No. 2 hitter. "I'm a top-of-the-order type of guy, I've probably had the bases loaded 50, 60 times [in my career]," he says, adding that he hasn't let his grand moment change him. "I don't go up there with the bases loaded thinking that I'm going to hit a grand slam."

The Pop Culture Grid

How do sports stars fit in?

High School Musical is ...

Favorite smell

Best nickname I ever had

Age I had my first kiss

Pairs of shoes you own

When I'm sad I usually ...

JASON CAMPBELL Redskins QB

A play?

Pine trees

Smooth

11

100

Sleep

JOE SAUNDERS Angels P

No idea

Cinnabons

Soggy, but that's not great

15

At least 50

Stay really quiet

BEN OBOMANU Seahawks WR

I've never heard of it

Bacon

Obi-Wan Kenobi (above)

14

15

Think. Just think.

JIMMY ROLLINS Phillies SS

Making a lot of money

Vanilla

J-Rocketfoot

First peck, 5th grade; first kiss, 7th grade

75

Lay in bed all day, watch videos

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MIKE CASSESE/REUTERS (CLAYTON)

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DAMIAN STROHMEYER (JETER)

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JAMIE SQUIRE/GETTY IMAGES (GRUDZIELANEK)

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CHUCK SOLOMON (JETER ACTION)

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AARON FAVILA/AP (MARCOS)

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PABLO MARTINEZ MONSIVAIS/AP (CAMPBELL)

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BUENA VISTA HOME ENTERTAINMENT/DISNEY (HIGH SCHOOL MUSICAL)

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ROBERT BECK (PINECONES)

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MARK J. REBILAS/US PRESSWIRE (SAUNDERS)

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MICKEY WELSH/MONTGOMERY ADVERTISER/AP (OBOMANU)

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STEVEN FREEMAN (BACON)

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LUCASFILM LTD./TWENTIETH CENTURY FOX FILM CORP./PHOTOFEST (OBI-WAN)

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BRAD MANGIN (ROLLINS)

TWO PHOTOS