I just watched Felix Hernandez hit a grand slam off Johan Santana. Sometimes, words fail even me.
After the requisite amount of shock from the announcers poured forth, someone mentioned it was the first home run hit by an American League pitcher since Steve Dunning hit one out in 1971. (That's "Stunning" Steve Dunning to anyone who has ever read the wonderful Seasons in Hell by Mike Shropshire.)
Keith Hernandez quickly chimed in about taking Dunning deep one time in old Jarry Park early in his career. The inning ended before Mex could expound upon this moment in history further, but the beauty of the Internet is that you can get the particulars of this momentous occasion with or without additional commentary from Hernandez.
Let's get in the time machine and set it for September 6, 1976. The Cardinals and the Expos square off in a late season battle of NL East also-rans in front of 6,500 Montreal die-hards. Dunning is nursing a 1-0 lead into the sixth, and gets the light-hitting Don Kessinger to bounce into a 1-6-3 groundout. (Hey, I just go by what Baseball Reference says. With no one on base, I can't imagine why the shortstop was involved. Maybe the ball bounced off Stunning's glove?)
Enter the young Hernandez, completing his first season starting at first for the Cardinals. The resulting blast tied the score in a game the Expos ultimately won in the bottom of the ninth inning. It was the last start of Dunning's career; he pitched out of the Montreal bullpen for the rest of the month and made six relief appearances for Oakland before calling it a career in 1977.
Did Keith Hernandez's solo home run in Montreal effectively end Steve Dunning's career? I wish Gary Cohen had thought to ask this after the commerical break ...
R: "Manuel, you better cut out that cheap crap."
M: "Cheap crap? We're playing clean, hard baseball."
R: "You call spiking a 22-year-old boy..."
M: Spiking? The umpire called it safe! My team plays by the book!"
R: "All right, pus-head ... "
M: "You got any crying to do - cry to the umpire! Get back to your dugout! Maybe your team could use your help ... but I doubt it! ... All right, Carlos! You guys play by the book!"