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This date in Cardinals History, January 1

Former Cardinals third baseman Fernando Tatis was born on New Years Day in 1975.

He came to the Cardinals in a 1998 trade with the Texas Rangers that included Darren Oliver for Royce Clayton and Todd Stottlemyre. It looked like a steal when Tatis initially hit for power and average while playing flashy defense at the hot corner.

In 1999, his first full season in St. Louis, Tatis hit .298 with 34 homers and 107 RBIs and it looked like a star was born. On April 23 he put his name in the record book by becoming the first player in major league history to hit two grand slam homers in the same inning against the Dodgers. Both shots came off the same pitcher, Chan Ho Park, a feat which seems unlikely to ever happen again.

Tatis suffered through injuries in 2000 that limited him to a .253 average with 18 homers and 64 ribbies in 96 games played. The Cardinals accused Tatis of failing to keep himself in shape after signing his first multi-year contract and shipped him to Montreal in 2001 for starting pitcher Dustin Hermanson and colorful reliever Steve Kline.

blog post photo

Tatis is congratulated by Mark McGwire and Eric Davis after hitting a homer for the Cardinals.

Tatis struggled in Montreal after becoming pull happy and was out of baseball by 2004. He made several attempts at a comeback including tries with Tampa Bay, Baltimore, the L.A. Dodgers and the Mets.

He finally made it back to the big leagues in May 2008 as a utility player after learning to play the outfield in the minors in 2007. He is currently a free agent.