Despite the fact that just about every stat in baseball is recorded and then rigorously analyzed, every fan of the game still likes to argue about what play, record, or accomplishment is the hardest in baseball to achieve. The number of players who have accomplished a specific feat is a pretty good measure of how hard something is to do.
Here are the top five baseball feats that have happened only once in the history of the game:
5. Walkoff Inside-the-Park Grand Slam
Roberto Clemente accomplished this feat at Forbes Field on July 25, 1956, when he stepped to the plate with the Pirates trailing the Cubs by three runs in the bottom of the ninth with the bases loaded. A home run would have been dramatic, but Clemente lined the first pitch from Jim Brosnan into left center and got a break when the ball bounced off a light tower and into center field. He beat the throw home to win the game.
4. Natural Cycle Completed with Grand Slam
Hitting a natural cycle (single, double, triple, home run in order) has happened only 13 times in MLB history, making it rarer than an unassisted triple play. But only Tony Lazzeri of the 1932 Yankees capped his natural with a grand slam. The June 3 game against the Philadelphia Athletics was a slugfest, with the Yanks finally putting the A's away with six runs in the top of the ninth to seal a 20-13 victory. Lazzeri's accomplishment was somewhat overshadowed because in the same game Lou Gehrig hit four home runs.
3. Unassisted Triple Play in the World Series
Many feel the unassisted triple play is the rarest play, having only been accomplished by 15 players. Like many of these rare feats, it takes a special setup to make it happen -- no outs, two runners on in a force situation, and both running with the pitch. Add a World Series game to the mix and you've described the situation in Game 5 of the 1920 World Series. Indians second baseman Bill Wambsganss caught the Dodgers hitter Clarence Mitchell's line drive, stepped on second, and tagged the runner coming from first.
2. Grand Slam on First Pitch of Major League At-Bat
Like most of these feats, this is one not every major leaguer has a chance to achieve. And those that do find themselves in the situation have just one shot. One pitch, and that's it. Just hours after being called up from the Indians' Triple-A club on September 2, 2006, Kevin Kouzmanoff was put in to pinch hit for Travis Hafner with the bases loaded. Obviously, his nerves didn't affect his swing as he took Rangers pitcher Edinson Volquez's first pitch deep. After the game, he reported, "I don't really remember running around the bases."
1. Two Grand Slams in the Same Inning
Hitting two grand slams in the same game has only been done by 13 players. But Cardinals 3B Fernando Tatis' two grand salamis came in the same inning against the Dodgers on April 23, 1999. The same feat earned Tatis the record for most RBIs in an inning (8).