With his third grand slam of the season on Saturday, Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts has catapulted himself into some elite company. At the unofficial halfway mark, Bogaerts is now one away from the club’s all-time single season record set by none other than Babe Ruth in 1919.
Bogaerts is the 10th Red Sox slugger ever with three slams in one season:
- Xander Bogaerts, 2018
- Mike Napoli, 2013
- Manny Ramírez, 2005
- Mo Vaughn, 1995
- Rico Petrocelli, 1972
- Carl Yastrzemski, 1969
- Dick Stuart, 1964
- Vic Wertz, 1960
- Ted Williams, 1955
- Jimmie Foxx, 1938 and 1940
Of these, only the Babe, Ramírez, Stuart, and now Bogaerts have managed all three slams before the end of July.
Bogaert’s grand slam walked-off the Red Sox for an exciting win over the Blue Jays in the 10th inning. It was the young shortstop’s fifth career walk-off hit, but his first with a home run.
Bogaerts is the first since Rico Brogna connected for a walk-off grand slam on August 14, 2000 against the Rays. The last Sox slam to walk off in extra innings was by Jim Rice on the Fourth of July 1984.
Ten times in club history the Red Sox have managed two grand slams in a game, most than any other team in major league history. The most recent of those games was May 22, 2008 with Mike Lowell and J.D. Drew connected for one apiece at Fenway against the Royals.
Just four Boston batters have managed one of the rarest of the slams, two in one game: Jim Tabor (1939), Rudy York (1946), and of more recent memory, Nomar Garciaparra (1999) and Bill Mueller (2003).
This year’s Red Sox club now has nine grand slams, tied with Cincinnati for the most in baseball so far in 2018. It’s the sixth time in club history that Boston has managed nine slams in a season (also 2013, 2001, 1987, 1950 and 1941).
Club Record In Sight
The 2018 crew is now two slams from the club record for the most in a single season. It was 2005 when the Red Sox connected for 11 grand slams, with three by Ramírez, two by David Ortiz, and one each from Edgar Renteria, Jay Payton, Doug Mirabelli, Trot Nixon, John Olerud, and Jason Varitek.
Is a club new record in sight this season? It certainly seems plausible.
The prerequisite for a slam, of course, is a bases loaded situation and in that, the Sox are among the major league leaders this season. Boston has loaded the bases 103 times over 98 games. The Sox are one of five MLB teams that have managed to load the bases 100 or more times in 2018 (also the Reds, 146; Cubs, 120; Yankees, 106; and Nationals, 106).
Then there’s the matter of converting from the bases loaded to four quick runs. Here again, the Red Sox have been highly successful, turning the trick nine times for an 8.7% conversion rate. Of all 30 major league teams this season, only the Indians have a better such rate, converting eight times on 86 total opportunities (9.3%).
Past history never guarantees future performance. Still, it’s fun to speculate.
Assuming the Red Sox continue to play as they have, fans can expect more than 60 bases loaded situations over the remaining 64 games of the regular season. Their current 8.7% conversion rate would yield something like 5½ more grand slams. Half the conversion rate (or half the number of opportunities) would likely still be enough to tie the franchise mark. Halving both rates, of course, would not.
No matter what, as long as the prodigious Red Sox offense remains in high gear, Boston fans are poised to enjoy the fireworks well into October.
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