This is not the Howie Kendrick most baseball fans know. He’s a guy with a long run as a mostly serviceable infielder, with one all-star season, and that in itself is impressive for how far it exceeds the average baseball life. But his history-making dinger completely redefined a 14-year career, turning him from Future Guy to Timeless Hero with one swing of the bat. On the video, the way that longball to center sucks the life out of Dodger Stadium—yet again crushing L.A.’s hopes at a title—is unreal. With as few Nats fans as were at that park, the cheers for the homer sound like they’re coming from a Saturday afternoon Little League game. Here’s a better view, from D.C., of what that grand slam meant:

“Probably the best moment of my career,” Kendrick said afterwards. “You can’t make this stuff up.”


No “probably” needed. That was the 135th postseason plate appearance of Kendrick’s life, and none of them came within miles of carrying that kind of impact. Whatever Kendrick does to finish off the final act of his career, he’s already delivered something to the Nationals that no other player, in four other heartbreaking tries since 2012, could manage to do. It’s Nats-Cardinals for the NL Pennant, and somehow, because playoff baseball is chaos, that’s all because of Howie Kendrick.