Mike Stanton now has something in common with Hall of Famer Tony Perez.
Stanton belted his first MLB homer on Friday night, and it was a grand slam off Tampa Bay’s Matt Garza.
Perez, a special assistant in the Marlins organization, belted 339 home runs in his career. Like Stanton, Perez’s first home run was a grand slam.
“April 13, 1965 off Denny Lemaster,” Perez said Saturday, remembering the day as if it were yesterday.
Then a 22-year-old, Perez connected at Crosley Field in Cincinnati.
“I never got the ball,” Perez said. “It went to center field, and there was an expressway out there.”
Stanton’s blast came at age 20, and it was in his ninth game. Perez’s slam came in the second game of the 1965 season. A crowd of 4,236 was on hand to see the Reds play the Milwaukee Brewers.
Perez was hitting sixth and playing first base. Among his teammates then were Pete Rose, who played second base, and Frank Robinson was in right field.
The Brewers lineup that day included Joe Torre, Eddie Mathews, Felipe Alou and Sandy Alomar.
Stanton is the sixth Marlin in team history to hit a grand slam for his first MLB homer.
“He’s never going to forget that,” Perez said. “It was his first hit at home. All he has to do is keep playing. He will get better.”
— Joe Frisaro