Bote joins rare list of ultimate pinch-hit slams
When Cubs infielder David Bote sent Wrigley Field into a frenzy by launching a pinch-hit, walk-off grand slam with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning for a 4-3 victory over the Nationals on Sunday night, he put himself into a very rare category.
Prior to the 442-foot blast to center field, only six pinch-hitters on record dating back to 1925 had hit an "ultimate grand slam," a walk-off shot with the bases loaded and his club down by three runs. And Bote's pinch-hit ultimate slam was only the third on record to come when his team was down to its final out.
Here's a look at the six pinch-hit ultimate slams that preceded Bote's on Sunday:
Brian Bogusevic, Astros: Aug. 16, 2011 vs. Cubs
The Cubs, coincidentally, were victims of the most recent pinch-hit ultimate slam -- and it came at the hands of a former pitcher. The Astros drafted Bogusevic as a southpaw pitcher with the 24th overall pick in the 2005 MLB Draft before he converted to an outfielder in the fall of 2008. Three years later, Bogusevic shocked Cubs reliever Carlos Marmol with a blast to left-center that created pandemonium at Minute Maid Park. Bogusevic would put on a Cubs uniform two years after his most memorable tater.
Brooks Conrad, Braves: May 20, 2010 vs. Reds
Conrad's opposite-field shot off Cincinnati's Francisco Cordero could have gone either way; the ball bounced off Laynce Nix's glove and into the left-field stands for a dramatic walk-off at Turner Field. Conrad stood at first base for a moment, unsure whether the ball was caught or gone. Once it became clear, it was straight bedlam in Atlanta. Conrad's blast capped off a seven-run, ninth-inning comeback for the Braves.
Roger Freed, Cardinals: May 1, 1979 vs. Astros
Freed would log just 29 more plate appearances after this night to finish out his big league career, but the sparse crowd of 6,349 at Busch Stadium probably never forgot the blast Freed launched off Houston's Joe Sambito to walk it off in the bottom of the 11th. It was the penultimate homer of Freed's eight years in the Majors.
"This is the biggest, most pleasing experience anyone could have in a lifetime," said Freed. "Something like this really makes me feel like a part of the ballclub -- like I'm an asset to the team. You get to feeling like dead weight when you're not contributing in some way."
Carl Taylor, Cardinals: Aug. 11, 1970 vs. Padres
With a run in to cut their deficit against San Diego to three, the Cardinals found themselves down to their final out as Taylor pinch-hit for reliever Harry Parker with the bases loaded at Busch Stadium. Facing Padres reliever Ron Herbel, Taylor belted a walk-off grand slam that ended up being the 10th and last homer of his career, and it came off the pitcher against whom he hit the first homer of his career during the prior season.
Jack Phillips, Pirates: July 8, 1950 vs. Cardinals
With the Pirates trailing the Cardinals, 6-3, in the bottom of the ninth inning at Forbes Field, Phillips stepped to the plate in place of reliever Murry Dickson. Phillips entered the game with three career homers to his name, but made his fourth count in a big way by sending a Harry Brecheen pitch over the left-center-field wall for a walk-off slam. Phillips was in the starting lineup the following day against St. Louis, and went deep again, this one a solo homer in the sixth inning. The two-day home run "binge" represented 22 percent of his career homer output (9).
Samuel Byrd, Reds: May 23, 1936 vs. Pirates
Byrd hit two home runs in 59 games for the Reds in 1936, but his pinch-hit, walk-off grand slam against the Pirates' Cy Blanton with Cincinnati trailing, 3-0, in the bottom of the ninth inning was the most famous of the 38 he hit over an eight-year Major League career. Until Bote's slam on Sunday night, this had been the last instance of a walk-off grand slam with a team trailing by a 3-0 score. Byrd pinch-hit for reliever Don Brennan, and drove a Blanton offering over the left-field wall to lift the Reds to victory.