The Wednesday afternoon game between the Cleveland Indians and Minnesota Twins produced a modern-era major-league first when the Twins’ Bob Allison and Harmon Killebrew blasted first-inning grand slams in the 14-3 blowout victory.1 The same team hitting two grand slams in one inning has been matched only four times since Allison and Killebrew accomplished the rare feat.2
The Indians and Twins were both contending for the American League pennant. The third-place Indians, losers of 7 or their last 8 games, were clinging to third place with a record of 48-41, 4½ games behind the first-place New York Yankees. The fourth-place Twins were only a game behind Cleveland with a record of 48-43.
Right-handed swingman Barry Latman took the mound for the Indians. The 6-foot-3-inch Latman was making his ninth start of the season and had a record of 4-5 with a 3.52 earned-run average. He was opposed by former Indian Dick Stigman. The Twins’ left-hander, who appeared in 25 games in relief, was making his first start of the season and entered the game with a record of 3-2 and a 3.09 ERA. The start was particularly special for Stigman: His father, John Stigman, was in attendance. It was the first time his father was seeing him pitch in the majors.3
A crowd of 15,829 turned out at Metroplitan Stadium despite the threat of showers. The temperature approached 80 degrees as Stigman started the game by striking out the first three Indians batters, Willie Tasby, Tito Francona, and Chuck Essegian. Latman would not be as fortunate.
The Twins quickly got things going in the bottom half of the inning when center fielder Bill Tuttle drew a leadoff walk. Vic Power followed with a single to left and both advanced on Latman’s errant pickoff throw to first base. Tuttle scored when Rich Rollins sliced a single to short right, Power advancing to third. Killebrew walked to load the bases. Allison, the Twins right fielder, cleared the bases with a home run to left field. It was Allison’s 11th home run of the season and the fifth grand slam of his career. Catcher Earl Battey pulled his sixth home run of the year into the left-field stands to make the score 6-0, and Latman was chased before he retired a single batter.
Indians manager Mel McGaha called on right-hander Jim Perry in an attempt to restore order and get out of the first inning. Bernie Allen greeted Perry with a single to left, then Zoilo Versalles flied out to right for the first out of the inning. Allen went to second when Stigman grounded out to Bubba Phillips at third. It appeared that Perry and the Indians would be able to get out of the inning when Tuttle drew his second walk of the inning and Power singled to right to drive in Allen, increasing the Twins advantage to 7-0. Rollins walked on four pitches and the bases were loaded again. Killebrew hit the Twins’ third home run of the inning when he “lambasted his third career grand slam to the fifth row from the top of the leftfield bleachers.”4 The inning came to a merciful end when Allison popped out to shortstop Woodie Held in short left field.
The Twins sent 14 batters to the plate and scored 11 runs on seven hits and four walks in the historic inning. The 11-run inning was a Twins record and nearly a franchise record: The Washington Senators scored 12 runs in the eighth inning of a 19-4 victory over the St. Louis Browns on July 10, 1926.5
Staked to an 11-run lead, Stigman cruised through the next four innings, giving up three harmless singles. Meanwhile, the Twins added another run in the bottom of third when Killebrew smacked his second home run of the game. It was Killebrew’s 24th homer of the season. The red-hot Killebrew, in the midst of what would be an 11-game hitting streak, was 12-for-26 (.462) with 7 home runs and 22 runs batted in over his last seven games.6
The Indians got on the board in the top of the sixth. With one out, Francona was hit by a pitch. After a fly out to left by Essegian, catcher Johnny Romano hit a two-run homer to make the score 12-2.
The Twins added two runs in the bottom of the seventh. Battey led off with a single to center and moved to third when Allen also singled to center. Versalles, the only Twin who didn’t get a hit in the game, grounded to Held at short, Battey holding at third and Allen moving to second. The right-handed-batting Stigman drove in Battey with a sacrifice fly to right, which also advanced Allen to third. Allen scored the Twins’ 14th and final run of the game when Tuttle doubled to left.
Perry, scheduled to lead off the eighth inning for the Indians, was lifted in favor of pinch-hitter Gene Green. The right-handed journeyman outfielder-catcher rounded out the scoring with the Indians’ second home run. Stigman retired the next three batters to end the eighth.
Right-hander Bob Hartman pitched a 1-2-3 eighth for Cleveland. It was the last major-league appearance of his career before he was sent down to Triple-A Salt Lake City when the Indians recalled 19-year-old Sam McDowell.7 Stigman pitched a scoreless ninth to wrap up the Twins’ 14-3 victory. The time of the game was a surprising 2 hours and 18 minutes, given the marathon first inning.
After the game, reporters asked Allison and Killebrew – both of whom had started the 1962 season very slowly – about their historic grand slams. Allison said he was “just looking for a good pitch to hit,” adding, “The pitcher Barry Latman got behind on me and then threw a good fastball and I got hold of it.”8 Killebrew said, “I didn’t think we’d get the bases loaded again. I was just trying to hit the ball somewhere. I didn’t want to make the last out.”9
The grand slams by Allison and Killebrew overshadowed Stigman’s effort on the mound. The hurler from tiny Nimrod, Minnesota, went the distance, giving up three runs (all earned) on six hits and a walk. He struck out 11 and moved his record to 4-2. Commenting about how tired he felt, Stigman said, “In about the sixth inning, I was pretty tired, then I got my second wind. Right now, though, my eyes feel as if they’re in the back of my head. I’m not used to going nine innings.”10
Stigman’s effort prompted reporters to ask manager Sam Mele if he would remain in the starting rotation, to which the Twins skipper responded, “You’re darned tootin’ Stigman’s going to be moved into the starting rotation.”11 Mele cited three reasons why Stigman deserved the opportunity. “First, he pitched a whale of a ballgame. Second, he might be a run-producing pitcher. And, third he got a hit and drove in a run.”12
Stigman remained in the Twins’ starting rotation for the remainder of the season. In his 14 remaining starts he went 8-3 and finished the year with a record of 12-5. The Twins went 42-28 the remainder of the season, but were unable to run down the pennant-winning New York Yankees. The Twins finished in second place with a record of 91-71, five games behind New York. The Indians never regained their early-season form and finished in sixth place with a record of 80-82, 16 games off the pace.
In addition to the sources cited in the Notes, the author consulted Baseball-Reference.com and Retrosheet.org.
1 Contrary to the game account in the St. Paul Pioneer Press on July 19, 1962, this was not the first time in major-league history that two players from the same team hit a grand slam in the same inning. On August 16, 1890, Chicago Colts veteran third baseman Tom Burns and rookie catcher Malachi Kittridge each hit a grand slam in the bottom of the fifth inning in an 18-5 victory over the Pittsburgh Alleghenys.
2 The four other times the same team has hit two grand slams in one inning during the modern era:
St. Louis (Fernando Tatis, 2) vs Los Angeles, April 23, 1999, third inning.
Tatis is the only player in major-league history (as of 2019) to hit two grand slams in one inning.
3 “Stigman’s Starter Role Set – Mele,” St. Paul Pioneer Press, July 19, 1963: 17.
4 “Twins’ KO Punch Floors Indians,” St. Paul Pioneer Press, July 19, 1962: 17.
5 “Killer, Allison Silence Critics,” St. Paul Dispatch, July 19, 1962: 22.
6 Arno Goethel, “Killebrew, Allison Set Record for Grand Slams; Twins Win, 14-3: Stigman Goes Route in Win,” St. Paul Pioneer Press, July 19, 1963: 17.
7 Steven Schmitt, Bob Hartman, SABR BioProject.
8 “Killer, Allison Silence Critics.”
9 “Killer, Allison Silence Critics.”
10 “Stigman’s Starter Role Set – Mele.”
11 “Stigman’s Starter Role Set – Mele.”
12 “Stigman’s Starter Role Set – Mele.”