Today's memory is not a happy one. It was exactly four years ago Thursday when first baseman Kendrys Morales (as Kendry Morales) hit a walk-off grand slam for the Angels and then broke his left ankle when he landed on home plate -- after a celebratory jump.
Here it is:
The injury ruined a good chunk of Morales' prime, unfortunately. He would miss the rest of the 2010 season and all of 2011 after several setbacks in his attempted return.
Before the injury, Morales looked primed to be one of the game's better sluggers. In 2009, he hit .306/.355/.569 (139 OPS+) with 34 homers and 108 RBI, finishing fifth in MVP voting. He was playing well in 2010, too.
Morales is still a quality offensive player, of course, having hit .277/.336/.449 (123 OPS+) with 23 homers and 80 RBI last season for the Mariners. One can't help but wonder how much different a path his career had taken if he didn't injure himself on that walk-off granny, though.
The 30-year-old Morales remains a free agent and could be an impact bat in the final few months of the season for a contender.
While we're here, might I recommend the home-plate slide becoming a thing on walk-off homers? Here's Yasiel Puig fashioning it:
I know the "old school" fans absolutely despise this -- because it's new and Puig did it -- but I would argue this doesn't show up the opposition any more than the jump onto home plate and ensuing teammate scrum (the losing team shouldn't even be watching the celebration anyway because the game is already over). It's also safer, but still fun. Baseball is supposed to be fun.