Cardinals Clubhouse - Record Setters

Keith McDonald


Not many batters in ML history have stepped to the plate with this lifetime record: 2 ABs, 2 HRs. But one Cardinal has done it. Was it Stan Musial? Rogers Hornsby? Jim Bottomley? Albert Pujols? No, it's Keith McDonald.

  • Sunday, July 2, 2000
    The Cardinals purchase McDonald's contract from AAA Memphis. They need someone to replace C Eli Marrero, who tore ligaments in his left thumb, and serve as a backup to Mike Matheny.
    Chosen by the Cardinals in the 24th round of the 1994 amateur draft after playing college ball at Pepperdine and Utah, Keith had not distinguished himself in seven minor league seasons. He was hitting just .246 with one HR and 17 RBI for Memphis when the call came. He had never hit more than seven four-baggers in a season. In fact, no one was more shocked by the callup than McDonald himself.

  • Tuesday, July 4, 2000
    Reds @ Cardinals before an Independence Day audience of 46,022
    Tony La Russa sends McDonald up to pinch hit for SS Edgar Renteria in the bottom of the 8th of a 13-3 blowout.
    The righthanded-hitting McDonald smacks a 2-2 pitch from righthander Andy Larkin into the LCF bleachers in his first ML AB.
    The crowd roars for a curtain call, but LaRussa, not wanting to show up the opponent, tells the rookie to stay in the dugout.
    The victory is the Cards' 16th in their last 21 games to extend their NL Central lead over Cincinnati to nine games.
  • Wednesday, July 5, 2000
    Keith sees no action in the Cards' 4-3 victory over the Reds.

  • Thursday, July 6, 2000
    McDonald starts behind the plate, catching lefty Rick Ankiel.
    The backstop leads off the bottom of the 2nd with a HR off RHP Osvaldo Fernandez on a 1-0 pitch to become the first (and so far, the only) NL player to smash roundtrippers in his first two plate appearances. Bob Nieman of the St. Louis Browns accomplished the feat September 14 against the Red Sox in Boston.
    Keith draws a walk in the 3rd to break his HR streak.
    He grounds out in the 5th to end his on-base streak at three although he does drive in his third run on the play.
    He strikes out swinging to end the bottom of the 7th as the Cardinals drop the finale of the three-game series 12-6.
    After the game, McDonald tells the press, I'm really extremely excited that I got the opportunity to be here. So far, I've let things take care of themselves. However, he adds, It would have been a lot better if we'd have won.

McDonald watches his second HR soar.

The Associated Press article on the July 6 game stated, "... the St. Louis Cardinals might have found another Big Mac."

  • The reference, of course, was to Mark McGwire, the Cardinals 1B who had set the all-time HR record in 1998.
  • Alas, twas not to be. After two weeks, McDonald was returned to Memphis and replaced by 33-year-old Rick Wilkins, a ML journeyman.
  • In his six games with St. Louis, McDonald had three hits in seven ABs with five RBIs and three runs scored. All three hits were roundtrippers as he smacked another in a 15-7 drubbing of the White Sox July 15 when he pinchhit for Matheny against lefthanded reliever Jesus Pena in the 9th. Keith joined five other post-1900 players whose first three ML hits were homers.
  • McDonald appeared in only two more big league contests, both with the Redbirds in September 2001. He went hitless in two ABs.
  • He left the St. Louis organization after the 2002 season and spent four more years in the minor league systems of the Cubs, Pirates, Rangers, and Yankees.
  • In his 13 years in the minors, Keith smacked 78 HRs in 984 ABs.
  • Fast forward to July 2012 when Yasmani Grandal of the Padres became the seventh player with HRs as his first three ML hits. Coincidentally, Grandal is also a catcher.

Later that July of 2000, another Cardinal hit a HR in his first ML AB.

  • On the 18th, LF Chris Richard rocketed the first pitch he saw in the majors over the fence at the Metrodome in an 8-3 victory over the Twins.
  • Chris went on to have a better ML career than McDonald but not with the Cardinals.
  • After going 2-for-16 in six games in 2000, he was traded July 29 with another player to Baltimore for P Mike Timlin and cash.
  • Richard finished his big league career with 280 games for the Cards, Orioles, Rockies, and Rays. He hit a total of 34 HRs and batted .255.

Chris Richard gives Placido Polanco a high five after
hitting a HR on the first pitch of his ML career.