The pitcher who threw out the first pitch for the Atlanta Braves and the only one to hit two grand slams in one game died Tuesday in Denver, North Carolina. Tony Cloninger was 77.
Cloninger played as the opening day starter for the Braves on April 12, 1966, and threw out the first pitch in that game. He threw all 13 innings in that game in a 3-2 loss to Pittsburgh.
Later in the season, in a game at San Francisco on July 3, 1966, Cloninger became the National league player and only pitcher in history to hit two grand slam home runs in one game, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
In that game, he drove in nine runs as the Braves defeated the Giants 17-3 at Candlestick Park. That RBI total still stands as the Braves single-game record.
Beginning in 1992, Cloninger also served as a New York Yankees coach, eight as the bullpen coach nd one as the pitching coach under manager Joe Torre, according to ESPN. He earned four World Series rings with the Yankees.
In his tenure as a pitcher, he went 113-97 during his 12 seasons in the big leagues, mostly with the Braves. The right-hander hit 11 career home runs in 1966, the year that he launched himself into the record books with his grand slam.
Please send your thoughts and prayers toward his family. Share your memories of him on our Facebook page. In recent news, see the photos of Trump walking with grandchild across the White House lawn.