With the United States set to begin their World Baseball Classic against Great Britain on Saturday, it’s hard not to remember the David Wright Grand Slam that powered the United States over Italy during the 2013 World Baseball Classic.
Going in to the 2013 World Baseball Classic, international baseball glory seemed just out of reach for the United States of America. The first two World Baseball Classics saw Japan winning, with the United States failing to finish in the top three on both occasions, despite rosters full of MLB superstars.
Difficult Start to the WBC
During the 2013 World Baseball Classic, the United States quickly found their backs against the wall after an opening game loss against Mexico. Despite being one of the heavy favorites, the United States, with an MLB-loaded roster, suddenly found themselves fighting for survival against an Italy team that won both of their first two games. With a second loss in as many games, the United States would likely have been sent home.
Early on, the United States found themselves behind early as Italy jumped out to a quick 2-0 lead. The United States would cut the lead in half in the 4th inning and plate the tying run earlier in the 5th inning. After a Joe Mauer walk loaded the bases with two outs, the stage was set for a new Captain America to be born.
The David Wright Grand Slam
With the count 1-2, Italian reliever Matt Torra tried to get Wright to chase a down and in breaking ball. Instead, the ball caught too much of the plate and Wright turned on the pitch sending it over the left field wall at Chase Field. As the mostly American crowd went nuts, Wright rounded the bases giving the USA a 6-2 lead.
The United States wouldn’t relinquish that lead and the team was able to keep their World Baseball Classic hopes alive.
The Rest of the Way
Unfortunately for Team USA, the David Wright Grand Slam ended up being the team’s highlight of the 2013 World Baseball Classic. Despite a roster full of MLB MVPs, including Jimmy Rollins, Ryan Braun and Giancarlo Stanton, the team would be sent home in the quarterfinals at the hands of the eventual champions, the Dominican Republic.
While the David Wright Grand Slam wasn’t enough to elevate the United States to glory at the World Baseball Classic, it did help to further cement the legacy of the New York Mets longtime third baseman.
For his heroics during that World Baseball Classic game, David Wright earned the nickname Captain America and quickly became one of the most popular players in baseball. A few years later and despite a plethora of debilitating back injuries, David Wright found himself back on the national stage as his New York Mets made a surprising run to a World Series loss.
Meanwhile, the United States would have to wait until the 2017 World Baseball Classic before finding glory, this time winning the entire tournament for the first time.
The Impact of the David Wright Grand Slam
While he may have never found gold, the David Wright Grand Slam became one of the most famous American baseball moments in recent memory and helped baseball fans appreciate the New York Mets third baseman. This year, another talented team USA will look for their next folk hero to lead the team to international baseball glory.
Where does the David Wright Grand Slam rank for you in terms of most impactful Grand Slams in baseball? Can the United States of America repeat as World Baseball Classic champions?
Let us know your thoughts on it and this year’s World Baseball Classic in the comments below!
Main image credit Embed from Getty Images