MIAMI (AP) – Florida’s Jeremy Hermida became the first player in more than a century and only second ever to hit a grand slam in his first major league at-bat, connecting in the seventh inning off the St. Louis Cardinals’ Al Reyes on Wednesday night.

The outfielder, whose contract was purchased from Double-A Carolina earlier in the day, was just the third player to hit a slam in his first game. He batted for Brian Moehler with Florida trailing 10-0 and connected on the third pitch he saw in the big leagues.

He swung at a fastball, took a ball low, then homered over the right-field wall, a drive estimated at 373 feet. The 21-year-old moved briskly around the bases after the homer.

, yet after returning to the dugout and slapping hands with several delighted teammates, he did not acknowledge long, loud cheers from the sparse crowd that remained – missing the chance for his first career curtain call.

The only other player with a grand slam in first major league at-bat was William “Fristy Bill” Duggleby, who did it for Philadelphia at home against the New York Giants in the second inning on April 21, 1898, according to the Elias Sports Bureau. Elias was not able to determine whether Duggleby was a pinch hitter.

The only other major league to hit a slam in his first game was Bobby Bonds for San Francisco on June 25, 1968, Elias said. Bonds grounded out in the third inning at Candlestick Park, was hit by a Claude Osteen pitch in the fifth, then homered off reliever John Purdin of the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Only a few thousand people in the announced crowd of 20,656 remained to Hermida’s hit. The Marlins’ top pick in the 2002 amateur draft and the 11th pick overall, he remained in the game as Florida’s left fielder to start the eighth inning.

Florida pinch hit Jeff Conine for the left-handed hitting Hermida in the bottom of the eighth with two on when St. Louis brought in left-hander Ray King.

Hermida hit .293 with 18 home runs and 63 RBIs in 118 games with Double-A Carolina this season. He took the roster spot vacated by right-handed pitcher Chris Resop, who was optioned back to Carolina on Tuesday.

“I wish I wasn’t late on my first day of BP,” Hermida said before the game.

Hermida’s role, for now, is expected to be almost entirely as a reserve, either a pinch-hitter or pinch-runner.

“It gives us another left-handed hitter off the bench who can at least hit the seats,” Marlins manager Jack McKeon said. “And he’s a pretty good runner.”

Hermida, who has been slowed by a sore wrist – the result of an awkward slide about a week ago – stole 23 bases in 25 attempts for Carolina this season.

AP-ES-08-31-05 2242EDT


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