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Latinx Heritage Month

On this day in Latinx history: Yankee Alex Rodriguez sets MLB grand slam record

A-Rod launches his 24th career grand slam to pass Lou Gehrig

Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez connected on a 2-1 fastball in the bottom of the seventh inning against the San Francisco Giants on Sept. 20, 2013, sending it into the bleachers for his 24th career grand slam to surpass Yankee great Lou Gehrig’s major league record.

Rodriguez’s 654th career home run, a right-field blast off former Yankees pitcher George Kontos, broke a 1-1 tie and wound up winning the game.

With the 5-1 victory, the Yankees remained a threat in the American League wild-card race with eight games remaining. The Cleveland Indians led New York by three games for the second AL wild-card spot. The Yankees were 3½ games behind the Tampa Bay Rays, who beat the Baltimore Orioles in 18 innings that same night.

“You know, that means I’m getting old,” Rodriguez, then 38, told ESPN. “It’s hard to think about things like that right now. We’re really on a sprint to the end here, and every win is huge for us.”

Said Yankees manager Joe Girardi: “It’s an unbelievable accomplishment, and it’s a big one for us. To be able to have that many opportunities means you’ve been around a long time, but to be able to come through that many times means you’ve been a powerful hitter for a long time, and that’s what he’s been.”

Rodriguez, who is Dominican-American, had been limited to designated hitting stints because of hamstring and calf injuries. He had one hit in 25 at-bats leading up to the grand slam.

On June 12, 2012, in Atlanta, Rodriguez tied Gehrig with 23 career grand slams. Gehrig, who died at 37 of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), hit his final grand slam on Aug. 20, 1938, during his last full season in New York.

“I’m a huge fan of Lou Gehrig, everything he’s done, going back to his college days in New York,” Rodriguez told ESPN. “He’s kind of the gold standard for a Yankee. It’s a special moment. I’ll think about it someday.”

Rhiannon Walker is an associate editor at The Undefeated. She is a drinker of Sassy Cow Creamery chocolate milk, an owner of an extensive Disney VHS collection, and she might have a heart attack if Frank Ocean doesn't drop his second album.