The Philadelphia Phillies franchise record for grand slam home runs in one season is owned by the brother of a baseball legend.
As the world was winding down the final months of World War II, Vince DiMaggio was spending the summer setting that Phillies record. Older brother of legendary New York Yankee and Baseball Hall of Famer Joe DiMaggio, Vince was in the first of parts of two seasons with the Phils, and in the next-to-last year of a 10-year big league career.
Never teammates with his far more famous brother, Vince played his entire career in the National League. He began with the Boston Braves in 1937 where he started in center field for two years, then moved on to the Cincinnati Reds, who dealt him to the Pittsburgh Pirates early in the 1940 season.
With the Pirates, Vince would have his best seasons. In 1941 he had a career high 21 homers and 100 RBI, and he was an NL All-Star each of the next two seasons. The Phillies acquired him on March 31st, 1945 from the Bucs in exchange for a lefty pitcher named Al Gerheauser.
Vince started in center field for the Phillies in that 1945 season, and produced 19 homers and 84 RBI at age 32. It was four of those 19 long balls that have given the elder DiMaggio a lasting place in the Phillies franchise record books.
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That quartet of bombs each came with the bases loaded, giving Vince the club record for grand slams in a season. To that point in the Phillies history, the record had been three, set by Hall of Famer Chuck Klein in 1929 and equalled by him in 1932.
Howard holds the Phillies record for career grand slams with 13, and he teamed with Raul Ibanez on April 27th, 2009 to each hit a grand slam in the same game. That was the fourth time in club history that a pair of teammates had each hit one in the same game.
Those three from Howard in that 2009 season helped contribute to the club record of 11 grand slams in a season hit by that year’s team. Jayson Werth and Pedro Feliz each hit a pair that year, while Jimmy Rollins, Shane Victorino, and Matt Stairs joined Ibanez in each hitting one grand slam.
The Phillies have had a pinch-hitter bang out a grand slam on 21 occasions in club history, including one by DiMaggio during that 1945 season, and Stairs’ slam for the ’09 team. The most recent Phils pinch-hitter to hit a grand slam was the unlikely Hector Luna, who did it during the 2012 season.
A dozen Phillies pitchers have hit a grand slam in their history, including Hall of Famer Steve Carlton in 1984 and the man for whom he was traded, Rick Wise, back in 1971. The last Phillies pitcher to hit a grand slam was Robert Person in June of 2002.
There have been 10 grand slams hit by Phillies’ batters in extra-innings, the most recent from John Mayberry, Jr in the 2013 season. Only twice has there been an “Ultimate Slam” in club history, in which a Phils’ hitter won the game with a walkoff slam while the team was down by 3 runs: Tony Taylor in 1970 at Connie Mack Stadium, and Bo Diaz in 1983 at Veteran’s Stadium.