Hermida makes history in first at-bat

Hermida makes history in first at-bat

MIAMI -- Move over, Bill Duggleby. You now share a piece of Major League history with Marlins rookie Jeremy Hermida.

It didn't take Hermida long to showcase his power at the big league level.

The prize prospect delivered a pinch-hit grand slam off Al Reyes in the seventh inning in his first Major League at-bat. The blast forever links Hermida to Duggleby, who accomplished the same feat 107 years ago.

On April 21, 1898, Duggleby connected on a slam for the Philadelphia Phillies in a 13-4 win over the New York Giants. Nicknamed "Frosty Bill" because he clashed with teammates, Duggleby was a 24-year-old pitcher who collected the victory that day.

"I don't remember that," joked 74-year-old Marlins manager Jack McKeon of Duggleby's blast. "Where was I then?"

McKeon has 998 managerial victories in the big leagues, and he quipped: "I had only won eight games then."

Hermida's historic moment added some levity and excitement in a 10-5 loss on a night the Marlins fell one game behind the Phillies in the Wild Card race.

But the drive into the right-field seats shows why so many talent evaluators consider Hermida a future star outfielder.

His teammates joked in the dugout that the rest of Hermida's career can go in one direction ... down.

"Now he needs 800 more at-bats to be the greatest hitter in history," joked closer Todd Jones, who helped have the ball retrieved.

The guys in the bullpen played a prank on Hermida that they couldn't get the ball back. He plans on giving it to his father, who was not at the game, but plans to be on hand Friday when the Marlins face the Mets.

Hermida is the 21st player in MLB history to hit a pinch-hit home run in his first at-bat. Mike Jacobs of the Mets also delivered a pinch-hit homer in his first at-bat on Aug. 21.

The last time it happened in the American League was Andy Phillips of the Yankees, on Sept. 26, 2004.

It was the fifth pinch-hit grand slam in Marlins history, and second this season. Carlos Delgado delivered one on July 7 against the Brewers.

The only other Marlin to homer in his first big-league at-bat is Mitch Lyden on June 16, 1993.

Hermida's home run also was the first by a Marlin other than Delgado or Miguel Cabrera since Alex Gonzalez hit one on Aug. 5 at Cincinnati.

A 21-year-old sensation at Double-A Carolina, Hermida was brought up on Wednesday, and he entered a lopsided contest with the Cardinals ahead, 10-0.

With the bases loaded, the Cardinals made a pitching change, bringing in Reyes, who replaced Brad Thompson.

After swinging through Reyes' first pitch, Hermida took a ball. Then on a 1-1 pitch, he ripped a laser shot 373 feet to right field for the Marlins' fifth grand slam of the season.

"No kidding? Wow," Cardinals manager Tony La Russa said upon learning Hermida made history. "He hit it against a guy that hasn't been giving up anything. You check what Al has been doing. Nobody's been getting anything off him."

Hermida was the Marlins' first-round pick in 2002. The Marietta, Ga., native had not played in 10 days because of a bone bruise in his left wrist. On Aug. 26, he had an MRI that revealed no significant damage.

In Double-A, he went deep 18 times, including his first ever grand slam in pro ball.

He took batting practice about 3 p.m. ET on Wednesday and once he felt no pain, he was activated.

After homering, Hermida felt no pain.

"It feels all right," he said. "It feels pretty good. After that first swing, I felt it a little bit. But it's pretty much impossible to feel something in your first at-bat with all the adrenaline going. If I had something broken, I don't think I would have felt something."

Joe Frisaro is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.