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Issue Date: December 2006 Issue

Hitting a Grand Slam

On Aug. 12, Travis Hafner hit his sixth grand slam of the season at Jacobs Field off Kansas City Royals pitcher Luke Hudson, tying the Major League record that Don Mattingly has held since 1987. It was in the bottom of the first inning, with the Indians rallying to eventually score 11 runs in one inning.

The Editors

The first at-bat I walked. The second at-bat was a great opportunity to hit in. The bases were loaded. The crowd was really into it. It had the chance to be one of the key points in the game.

Obviously, I was pretty pumped up for the at-bat. I had an adrenaline rush as I walked up to the plate. As a hitter, that’s the kind of situation I wanted to be in.

Once I got in the batter’s box, it was just the competition of the pitcher and me: Make sure I have a good pitch to hit. Be patient. Put a good swing on the ball. Hit it hard.

I wiggled the bat around a little bit to get some rhythm.

It was a curveball. The first two pitches were fastballs, and once he got a strike I knew there was a good chance that he would throw an off-speed pitch.

I led with my hands and kept my head as still as possible so I could see the pitch as good as I could. My bottom hand did most of the work, pulled the bat to the ball. I had my whole body working together. My legs supplied the power and my upper body came through.

I didn’t see the ball come off the bat, but I could tell by the swing and the way it felt where it was going. From hitting so much over the years, I can feel the angle of the bat and know what it’s going to do.

I hit that one real good. I knew it was a home run when I hit it. I just tried to get around the bases without making too big a deal out of it. I didn’t want to do anything that would show up the pitcher.

The crowd was really into it. It was the greatest feeling. There’s nothing else that I do where I have 25,000 people cheering me on. And that’s about as good as it gets.

- as told to Kim Schneider

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