Roderick Edwin Kanehl
Nickname: Hot Rod
Born: April 1, 1934 in Wichita, Kansas
Died: Dec. 14, 2004 in Palm Springs, Calif.
Debut: 1962 | Pos: 2B/OF
H: 6'1" | W: 180 | B: R | T: R
>> Visit the Rod Kanehl biography on Baseball Almanac for complete statistics.
Rod Kanehl, who hit the first grand slam for the New York Mets, died on Dec. 14, 2004. He was 70.
According to his obituary, Kanehl died several days after suffering a heart attack.
He hit .241 in his career with six home runs and 47 RBI. He played the majority of games at second base or in the outfield, but also appeared at third base, first base and shortstop.
He had spent eight seasons in the New York Yankees' farm system and was picked by the New York Mets in the minor league draft.
According to his obituary, Kanehl made the Mets after impressing manager Casey Stengel while he was in the Yankees' farm system a few years earlier.
He hit the first home run in Mets history on July 6, 1962 in a 10-2 win over St. Louis. He hit .248 for the Mets in 1962 with four home runs, 27 RBI and eight stolen bases.
A quote attributed to Kanehl, describes his view of baseball. "Baseball is a lot like life. The line drives are caught, the squibbles go for base hits. It's an unfair game."