The Grand Slam Single
By Jay Horwitz
Todd Pratt told me with a laugh that the person most responsible for Robin Ventura’s famous grand slam home run turning into a grand slam single was Robin Ventura himself.
One of the most famous at-bats in Mets’ postseason history occurred 21 years ago today at Shea Stadium.
This was the scene. Pratt had just walked with the bases loaded to tie the score at three in the 15th inning of Game 5 of the NLCS vs. the Atlanta Braves.
Robin came to bat and crushed a line drive to right field. That was the problem according to Pratt.
“Honestly, I didn’t think it was a homer. I thought it was a double,” said Pratt, who was the first teammate to mob Robin as he rounded first base. “Most of Robin’s home runs are towering fly balls, not line drives.”
“When I saw Robin round first my natural instinct to go toward him because I knew we had won,” he continued. “I had no idea the ball went over the fence.”
Ventura, who saw the ball go over the fence, tried to motion Pratt and the rest of the Mets to stay away so he could complete his journey around the bases.
“As long as we won I was happy,” recalled Robin. “In a way it worked out for the best. If it turned into a normal grand slam, no one would have remembered. After all these years when I meet people all they want to talk about is the grand slam that turned into a single.”
The Mets went on to lose a hard fought Game 6 to Atlanta, 10–9 and were eliminated from the playoffs, four games to two.
Still, no one would ever forget the famous “Grand Slam Single.”