Saturday, July 5, 2014

July 5. 1977: Mike Tyson's Grand Slam Propels The Birds To Victory

     On July 5, 1977, second baseman Mike Tyson led the Cardinals to a 7-3 victory over the Pirates in Pittsburgh with his first, and his last grand slam of his major league career. The big blast came in the fourth inning off of John Candelaria, and opened up a 5-0 lead. Al Oliver took a Bob Forsch pitch deep in the fifth that cut the lead to 5-3, before Ted Simmons blasted a two run shot in the eighth that put the Buccos away. None of the runs scored by the Pirates were charged to Forsch, as sloppy defense led to Oliver's opportunity do damage. Forsch made quick work of his opponents thereafter, before working around a jam in the ninth, and locking down a complete game winner. 

     Arriving on the scene as an everyday player in 1973, Tyson played with the Cardinals until 1979. He was not known for his bat or his glove, and the grand slam was probably a bigger surprise to him than to anyone in the house. He joked about it after the game saying that he never hit one before, not even in little league. During his stretch with the Birds, Tyson averaged .244, and hit just 22 home runs. His best power numbers coming during that '77 campaign when parked seven in the seats. He was traded to the sCrUBS in 1979, and spent two years in the Windy City before his career came to a close. Out of those 22 home runs that Tyson hit with the Birds on Bat across his chest, the grand slam in Pittsburgh has to stand above the rest. 

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