Note: Note this page is for 2000s infielder Fernando Tatis; for his son who made his debut in 2019, click here.
Fernando Tatis Jr.
- Bats Right, Throws Right
- Height 6' 1", Weight 175 lb.
- Debut July 26, 1997
- Final Game July 4, 2010
- Born January 1, 1975 in San Pedro de Macoris, San Pedro de Macoris, D.R.
Fernando Tatis is the only player in major league history to hit two grand slams in one inning. He hit them as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals on April 23, 1999 while facing Chan-Ho Park. The 8 RBI is also a record for an inning.
Tatis was signed as an amateur free agent in 1992 by the Texas Rangers.
At age 18, he was with the DSL Rangers of the Dominican Summer League at the rookie level, hitting .273/~.364/.369. At age 19, he was in another rookie league, with the GCL Rangers, hitting .330/.405/.481. He was sixth in the Gulf Coast League in average, led third basemen in fielding (.925) and made the league All-Star team. At age 20, he was with the Single A Charleston RiverDogs of the South Atlantic League, hitting .303/~.364/.495, again finishing sixth in average. Baseball America rated him as the #6 prospect in the Rangers system. At age 21, he was with the high-A Charlotte Hornets in the Florida State League, hitting .286/~.351/.474, and came up to Triple A for 4 at-bats with the Oklahoma City 89ers, getting 2 hits. After the year, he moved up to #2 on the list of Texas prospects, behind only Danny Kolb.
At age 22, he was with the Tulsa Drillers in the Double A Texas League, hitting .314/~.391/.576 with 24 home runs. Tatis was two homers behind league leader Dan Collier. He split All-Star honors among TL third basemen with Mike Kinkade and was labeled the league's top prospect. That earned him a shot with the Texas Rangers. Playing at third base for the Rangers in 1997 in 60 games, he hit .256/.297/.404 with 8 home runs. The 1997 Rangers featured Ivan Rodriguez, Will Clark and Juan Gonzalez, finishing with a record of 77-85.
The next year, 1998, at age 23, Tatis was hitting .270/.303/.361 with 17 doubles in 95 games for the Rangers, before he was traded. The trade came on July 31st as he was sent to the St. Louis Cardinals along with Darren Oliver and Mark Little in return for Royce Clayton and Todd Stottlemyre. With the Cardinals for 55 games, he hit .287/.367/.505 with 8 home runs. Tony LaRussa managed the Cardinals, and Mark McGwire hit 70 home runs that year.
In 1999, Tatis came forth with 34 home runs, second on the team to McGwire's 65, and Tatis put up numbers of .298/.404/.553. He was also second in the league in hit-by-pitch. The team, though, finished under .500. This was the year when he had his unforgettable game against the Los Angeles Dodgers. In 2000, Tatis hit 18 home runs in 96 games, but then was hobbled with a groin injury. Tatis was traded after the season to the Montreal Expos with Britt Reames for Dustin Hermanson and Steve Kline.
Tatis didn't play well (or much) for Montreal due to injuries, but it is where he became a million-dollar player, earning nearly $14 million in his 3 years there. In 2001, at the age of 26, he appeared in 41 games, hitting .255/.339/.359 with 2 home runs, a major disappointment. The next year, he was able to appear in 114 games, hitting .228/.303/.399 with 15 home runs. In 2003, he hit .194/.281/.263 in 53 games. All in all, he was considered a complete bust and his career was apparently over at age 28.
However, he managed to come back to the majors after being gone since 2003. What prompted his comeback was the need to raise money for a church-building project he was involved with in his native country. In his first two games back in the big leagues with the Baltimore Orioles in July 2006, he went 2 for 5. In all, he played 28 games in the majors that year, hitting .250 with 2 homers and 8 RBIs. He came back after having hit .298 in 90 games with the AAA Ottawa Lynx in the International League. After spending all of 2007 in the minors with the New Orleans Zephyrs, he found a job as a back-up at several positions with the New York Mets in 2008 and surprised everyone by hitting very well, putting up a line of .297/.369/.484 in 92 games. Tatis was 0 for 4 with two strikeouts and a RBI as a late addition to the Dominican national team for the 2009 World Baseball Classic, backing up David Ortiz at first base. He was back with the Mets in 2009, getting even more playing time as the team was beset with a rash of injuries, opening up playing time at first base and in the outfield. He played 125 games, hitting .282 with 8 homers and 48 RBIs. He made his final major league appearances in 2010 for the Mets, at the age of 35, as he played 41 games. Used almost exclusively as a pinch-hitter, he had 65 at-bats and hit .185.
His father Fernando Tatis Sr. played for a decade in the minors; the two had no contact from the time Fernando Jr. was 4 until he was 22. His son, who goes by Fernando Tatis Jr., was a top international signing by the Chicago White Sox at age 16 in 2015 before being traded to the San Diego Padres less than a year later and making his major league debut in 2019, a few months after his 20th birthday.
- 20-Home Run Seasons: 1 (1999)
- 30-Home Run Seasons: 1 (1999)
- 100 Runs Scored Seasons: 1 (1999)
- 100 RBI Seasons: 1 (1999)