Anytime Derek Jeter comes up with the bases loaded his career stats in that situation are shown. For a guy who is cruising to the Hall of Fame you would think, maybe by accident, he would have half a dozen grand slams. But the fact is he has hit just one. I was there.
The date was June 18th 2005. It was Military Appreciation Day and the Chicago Cubs were in town. A warm Saturday afternoon, I was there with my buddy Mike and his New York Mets Joe McEwing jersey. Don't ask. We were sitting 20 or so rows back in the upper deck of left field. We had an awesome view of an F-14 and F-16 do a fly over just before the first pitch.
Going into the bottom of the sixth the Yankees were up 3-1. Jorge Posada led off with a walk. Bernie Williams singled into center field. Tino Martinez struck out. Then a rookie by the name of Robinson Cano walked to load the bases for the Captain. I looked at Mike and said: "what a great time to hit his first grand slam."
Mike's response was classic when he said: "if he hits a grand slam I will leave the Stadium and wait for it to end outside!"
After three pitches the count was two balls and one strike. In came a fastball and Jeter hit a long line drive toward the 399 ft sign in left center field. It was not nearly as far as the old Yankee Stadium's gap of 465 feet. But it still kept the name "Death Valley." And this ball kept going. I followed the ball as it traveled over the fence. Home run. Grand slam! I wanted to throw my hat onto the field but I was much too far to reach. A packed house of 55,300+ went crazy. Think about it. It was a 3-1 nail biter and he made it a 7-1 laugher.
Almost halfway through his 10th full season Jeter picked a clutch time to hit his first grand slam. Already five and a half seasons have passed since then and no more grand slams have come for him. Maybe 2011 will see #2 for #2. Who knows? My money is on 3,000 career hits by June 18th 2011.