Sully Baseball Presents THE BEST TIE BREAKER PLAYOFFS OF THE 2000s

Sometimes 162 games isn’t enough to figure out which 8 teams are headed for the post season… and a tie breaker is needed.

Each of the last three seasons have included a tie breaking 163rd game… and all of them were tense 1 run affairs. And two of them were extra inning thrillers where the eventual winners were 3 outs from elimination.

It’s painful enough to be eliminated in the post season… but imagine the angst of the three teams that missed October ball by the thinnest of eyelashes!

Let’s remember the Best Tie Breaker Games of the 2000s…


The Tigers coughed up a 3 game lead with 4 to play, setting up an epic, wild, back and forth and controversial one game playoff.

Homers by Miguel Cabrera and Magglio Ordonez for Detroit and Jason Kubel and Orlando Cabrera sent the game into extra innings.

Detroit took the lead in the 10th, putting Minnesota three outs from elimination. But Don Kelly of the Tigers misplayed a flyball by Michael Cuddyer putting the tying run at third with nobody out. He would score the tying run but the winning run was thrown out at home by Don Kelly.

With the bases loaded in the 12, Bobby Keppel appeared to have hit Brandon Inge with a pitch. But the ump said the ball never hit him. The Tigers didn’t score in that inning and in the bottom of the 12th Alexi Casilla drove home Carlos Gomez with the Division Clincher.

Honorable Mention for One Game Playoff of the 2000s (American League)

Jim Thome’s 7th inning homer was the only scoring as John Danks threw 8 innings of 2 hit shutout ball, clinching the Central for the White Sox. Ken Griffey threw out Michael Cuddyer at home to end the 5th and kill the Twins best scoring chance.


The Padres looked like a formindable playoff team midway through September 2007 with a shot at home field advantage. The Rockies were an also ran playing out the string… then suddenly a surge by Colorado and a pair of losses at the end of the year put San Diego and Colorado in a most unlikely playoff for the Wild Card (Arizona would finish a mere 1 game ahead of both teams.)

Padres Cy Young candidate Jake Peavy would take the hill in Coors Field and fell behind early. But Adrian Gonzalez’s grand slam gave the Padres the lead.

This is Coors Field, so no lead is safe. The Rockies took the lead back in the 6th and the Padres tied it with two outs in the 8th.

Then the scoring stopped and the tension built up. The Rockies couldn’t bring home the playoff berth clinching run in the 9th, 10th, 11th or 12. The Padres left runners in scoring position in the 10th, 11th and 12th.

Finally Scott Hairston homered in the 13th, giving San Diego the a 2 run lead. Trevor Hoffman now had to shut the door.

Remember this is Coors.

Kaz Matsui doubled to lead off the 13th and Troy Tulowitzki doubled him home. Then Matt Holliday crushed a game tying triple to right. Jamey Carrol came up with runners on the corners and flew out to right.

Holliday tagged and came home. Did he tag the plate? We’ll never know but he was called safe and Colorado’s improbable playoff run continued while the Padres franchise hasn’t recovered.


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Eric Hinske and Don Baylor

Eric Hinske managed to see action this post season, thus making his potential inclusion in a trivia question concrete.

The trivia question that I posted at the beginning of the World Series was “Who is the only living person with a World Series ring as a player for both the Yankees and Red Sox?”

As of this writing, it remains Ramiro Mendoza all by his lonesome (who played in the 1998 and 1999 World Series for the Yankees and played in the 2004 post season with the Red Sox.)

Now Hinske rode the pine in the Minnesota series and was off of the ALCS roster, so I wondered if he didn’t PLAY in the postseason for this year’s Yankees, should he be included with Mendoza and Johnny Damon should the Yankees win.

The point is moot. He drew a walk last night and scored.

Now I hope he NEVER becomes part of that trivia question because I want the Phillies to somehow pull this one out.

But Hey! Hinske! You are already in the world of trivia… and I am not talking about how you struck out to end the 2008 World Series.

You just played in your third straight World Series with three different teams!

Hinske was a member of the 2007 World Champion Red Sox…
He was on the 2008 AL Champion Rays…
And now the 2009 Yankees.

Only one other person has done that before and it is no dishonor to be mentioned in his company!

Don Baylor, best known as an MVP for the Angels, played in the 1986 World Series for my beloved Red Sox…

Then he played in the 1987 World Series on the winning side with the Twins.

Then he was a pinch hitter and sometimes DH in the 1988 World Series.

Baylor was the emotional leader of the ’86 Red Sox, establishing a kangaroo court and turning the clubhouse from a 24 player, 24 cab unit to a team that came within one strike of immortality in New England.

Baylor’s contributed big time to the Twins stunning World Series run after being picked up from the Red Sox in August.

His pinch hit in Game 1 of the 1987 ALCS put the Twins up in the 8th and was the Game Winning RBI.

And in Game 6 of the 1987 World Series, with the Twins losing 5-2 in the 5th and facing elimination, Baylor hit a game tying homer off of John Tudor and the Twins would eventually win.

Baylor joined the A’s mainly to give them some veteran leadership (along with another former MVP Dave Parker.) He had a disappointing season. He did drive in the final run of the 1988 ALCS that helped sink his former Red Sox teammates. His last appearance in the big leagues was a pinch hitting appearance in Game 2 of the 1988 World Series where he struck out against Orel Hershiser.

For years he was the only person to appear in three straight World Series for three different franchises.

He has company now with Hinske.

Now let’s hope Hinske doesn’t join Mendoza as well.

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