Cheap Seats

Cardinals of Yore: Fernando Tatis

Happy birthday to the only guy in major league history to hit two grand slams in one inning off the same pitcher.

Fernando Tatis, who was born on New Year's Day in 1975, accomplished the feat on April 23, 1999 against at Dodgers stadium in Los Angeles. Both hits came against LA starter Chan Ho Park who was hung out to dry in a Cardinals blowout.

Drafted by the Rangers organization and arrived in St. Louis in 1998 as part of a trade that sent Royce Clayton and Todd Stottlemyre to Texas and also fetched Darren Oliver (who earlier this week signed a contract to pitch at the age of 41 with Toronto) in return.

Tatis initially looked like he would be a world beater. He hit .298 with 34 homers and 107 RBIs for the 1999 Birds while stealing 21 bases and playing a pretty nifty third base. The Cardinals rewarded Tatis with a lucrative contract and he seemed to take things for granted after that. He showed up noticably heavier at spring training in 2000 and decied that he was going to pull every pitch he saw which caused his batting average to plummet to .254 and his strikeouts to pile up. At the end of the season he was gone.

The switch-hitting infielder was shipped along with Britt Rheams to Montreal in exchange for Dustin Hermanson and Steve Klein.

By 2003 Tatis was a part-time player and for the next three seasons he couldn't find a major league job. But in 2006 Tatis re-emerged -- in fighting shape -- with the Orioles where he served as a valuable utility player. He finished his career with the Mets in the same role from 2008-10.