I wonder if Luis Gonzalez remembers this moment

I was watching the MLB Network‘s count down of the best moments of the 2000s. It was no surprise to me that the #1 moment was the Diamondback’s comeback win in the 9th inning of Game 7 of the 2001 World Series.

No matter what team you were rooting for, it was an unforgettable moment.

They showed the clip of Gonzalez leaping in the air.
Then the special cut to Gonzalez in the studio giving his memories of the moment.

What gem did they put into the special?
Gonzalez said “That’s something I’ll never forget.”

Um Luis… we figured that.
I think I can speak for everyone when I say that I was always confident that, barring any brain damage or lobotomy, you would have a pretty clear memory of that hit.

I can’t imagine ever sitting down with Luis and having him say to me “Hey Sully… do you remember the 2001 World Series?”

“Yeah, Luis. I remember it. You guys were playing the Yankees. It was post September 11th and everything.”

“I thought so. How did it end? For the life of me, I can’t remember.”

“Well Luis you were facing Mariano Rivera and blooped a single over Derek Jeter’s head to win one of the great all time moments in the history of baseball.”

“I did that?”

“Yes you did.”

“Man. I forgot all about that.”

If we have that conversation, then it is safe to say dementia has kicked in.
And if your memory is THAT bad, then let me remind you that you were going to give me $1.5 million.

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Every Post Season series that ended with a walk off hit

In my latest series of entries, I want to record how each and every post season series ended.
I am doing a blog post for each and every team, listing which pitchers clinched the final out.

And I did a post on some of the more unusual endings, such as a series being clinched with a wild pitch or a runner caught stealing.

I felt it was necessary to list all of the series winning hits.
Sure every baseball fan has thought about how cool it would be to get the hit to win the World Series or close out a playoff series. These 24 are the only ones who can claim to have done it.

To be fair, only 23 are walk off hits. One was a sacrifice fly, but I included that as well.
There are a few massive home runs and one bunt.

So here they are. I list the batter, the game, the pitcher, who scored and what the final score was.

Every Post Season series
that ended with a walk off hit

Larry Gardner
Game 8 1912 World Series

RBI Sacrifice Fly with one out in the bottom of the 10th.

Pitcher: Christy Mathewson
Scoring: Steve Yerkes

Final Score:

Earl McNeely
Game 7 1924 World Series

RBI double with 1 out in the bottom of the 12th inning.

Pitcher: Jack Bentley
Scoring: Muddy Ruel

Final Score:

Goose Goslin
Game 6 1935 World Series

RBI single with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th.

Pitcher: Larry French
Scoring: Mickey Cochrane

Final Score:

Billy Martin
Game 6 1953 World Series

RBI single with one out in the bottom of the 9th.

Pitcher: Clem Lebine
Scoring: Hank Bauer

Final Score:

Bill Mazeroski
Game 7 1960 World Series

Home run to lead off the bottom of the 9th.

Pitcher: Ralph Terry
Scoring: Bill Mazeroski

Final Score:

Ken Griffey
Game 3 1976 NLCS

RBI single with 1 out in the bottom of the 9th.

Pitcher: Tom Underwood
Scoring: Dave Concepcion

Final Score:

Chris Chambliss
Game 5 1976 ALCS

Leadoff home run in the bottom of the 9th.

Pitcher: Mark Littell
Scoring: Chris Chambliss

Final Score:

Bill Russell
Game 4 1978 NLCS

RBI single with 2 outs in the bottom of the 10th.

Pitcher: Tug McGraw
Scoring: Ron Cey

Final Score:

Gene Larkin
Game 7 1991 World Series

RBI single with 1 out in the bottom of the 10th.

Pitcher: Alejandro Pena
Scoring: Dan Gladden

Final Score:

Francisco Cabrera
Game 7 1992 NLCS

2 run single with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th.

Pitcher: Stan Belinda
Scoring: David Justice and Sid Bream

Final Score:

Joe Carter
Game 6 1993 World Series

3 run home run with 1 out in the bottom of the 9th.

Pitcher: Mitch Williams.
Scoring: Rickey Henderson, Paul Molitor and Joe Carter

Final Score:

Edgar Martinez
Game 5 1995 Division Series

2 run double with no outs in the bottom of the 11th.

Pitcher: Jack McDowell
Scoring: Joey Cora and Ken Griffey Jr.

Final Score:

Edgar Renteria
Game 7 1997 World Series

RBI single with 2 outs in the bottom of the 11th.

Pitcher: Charles Nagy
Scoring: Craig Counsell

Final Score:

Todd Pratt
Game 4 1999 Division Series

Solo home run in the bottom of the 10th with 1 out.

Pitcher: Matt Mantei
Scoring: Todd Pratt

Final Score:

Carlos Guillen
Game 3 2000 AL Division Series

RBI bunt single with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th.

Pitcher: Keith Foulke
Scoring: Rickey Henderson

Final Score:

Tony Womack
Game 5 2001 NL Division Series

RBI single with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th.

Pitcher: Steve Kline
Scoring: Danny Bautista

Final Score:

Luis Gonzalez
Game 7 2001 World Series

RBI single with 1 out in the bottom of the 9th.

Pitcher: Mariano Rivera
Scoring: Jay Bell

Final Score:

Kenny Lofton
Game 5 2002 NLCS

2 out RBI single.

Pitcher: Steve Kline
Scoring: David Bell

Final Score:

Aaron Boone
Game 7 2003 ALCS

Solo home run leading off the bottom of the 11th.

Pitcher: Tim Wakefield
Scoring: Aaron Boone

Final Score:

David Ortiz
Game 4 2004 AL Division Series

2 run home run with 2 outs in the bottom of the 10th.

Pitcher: Jarrod Washburn
Scoring: Pokey Reese and David Ortiz

Final Score:

Chris Burke
Game 4 2005 Division Series

Solo home run with 1 out in the bottom of the 18th.

Pitcher: Joey Devine
Scoring: Chris Burke

Final Score:

Magglio Ordonez
Game 4 2006 NLCS

3 run home run with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th

Pitcher: Huston Street
Scoring: Craig Monroe, Placido Polanco and Magglio Ordonez

Final Score:

Jed Lowrie
Game 4 2008 AL Division Series

RBI single with 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th.

Pitcher: Scot Shields
Scoring: Jason Bay

Final Score:

Nyjer Morgan
Game 5 2011 NL Division Series

RBI Single with 1 out in the bottom of the 10th.

Pitcher: J. J. Putz
Scoring: Carlos Gomez

Final Score:

Most of the players listed are solid big leaguers but not superstars.
Only Bill Mazeroski and Goose Goslin were Hall of Famers (and Mazeroski’s inclusion in Cooperstown is one of the most controversial votes ever.)

Rickey Henderson crossed the plate twice on a series ending hit, but never as a member of the A’s. Surely when you think of Rickey, you think of him as a Toronto Blue Jay or a Seattle Mariner.

So why did I do this list?
Well in case anyone out there in the vast internet land happens to wonder out loud “I wonder who got a walk off hit to end a post season series” they would land on this post from your pal Sully.

And I will update it the next time there is a walk off hit to end a post season series.

As of now, Nyjer Morgan’s hit against the Diamondbacks is the last one.

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Barry Bonds, Steroids and the Burden of Proof at a Barbecue

In the summer 2007, I was at my parents house for a barbecue. My dad was grilling up salmon and a swordfish, and something you should know about my dad: He cooks a terrific swordfish.

And while he was grilling, we did what we tend to do 365 days a year which is talk about baseball. My dad was, is and always will be a rabid San Francisco Giants fan and he was talking about Barry Bonds and his chase of Hank Aaron’s record.

Now I am no Bonds hater (I’ve defended him on the blog several times) but I made a comment about steroids. I would call his steroid use the elephant in the room, but at that point I think Barry was BIGGER than an elephant.

My dad seemed annoyed by me (I think it was the first time ever that I did something that annoyed him) and he asked “Do you know that he did? Can you prove that he did? Unless you have proof that he did anything, how can you say that he did?”

I reminded my dad that we were not in a court of law.

We were at a barbecue.

The burden of proof at a barbecue is much lower than in a court of law. It SHOULD be greater in a court of law.

The lawyers found that he obstructed justice (not David) but that’s it. It’s hard to prove perjury without a positive test nor a witness. And of course Bonds threw in the phrase “did not knowingly take” into his defense.

Being stupid isn’t illegal. And ironically acting stupid was how Barry showed he was smarter than the other juicers.

How did the prosecutors intend to win this?
By holding up his 1987 Topps card and comparing it to his 2007 Topps card?

A doctor was called to the stands to testify that Bonds’ body had changed. Wow, really? Do you know who else can make that statement? Anyone with eyes who saw Bonds play from 1986 to 2007!

They brought out recordings with a mistress to show he had rage, that must be about the steroids. I’ve never had a mistress but I can imagine even without steroids, they can lead to some tense filled moments.

When word of what was going on in the trial I thought “Man, the government is letting him walk… just like every other pitcher since 2000!”

He will be punished for obstruction of justice but his knowingly taking steroids will not be proven.

Meanwhile I can still say “I think he knowingly did steroids.”

And I can say it about other players too.

I can say “I think Jeff Bagwell used something.” I have no problems saying that and will sleep soundly. The burden of proof for thinking something and speculating is pretty low.

But it isn’t baseless. Bagwell was a skinny player with limited power in the Red Sox farm system. He wasn’t sent off to the Astros in the Larry Andersen trade because Lou Gorman was stupid. He was behind Scott Cooper and Mo Vaughn on the depth chart of Red Sox prospects.

He arrived in Houston, packs on 30 some odd pounds while being buddies with the late Ken Caminiti, who we know did steroids because he said so.

Then he became an elite slugger putting up Hall of Fame worthy numbers only to have his body collapse right around the time testing started.

I can say “I think Luis Gonzalez did something.”

The guy never hit more than 15 home runs before his 30th birthday, then suddenly in his 30s he exploded into an elite slugger, crushing 57 home runs at age 33… all with newly found python like arms.

Can I prove it in a court of law? No. But I can still think it and feel like I am not off base.

We are more alert about the warning signs. We’ve been burned overpraising players and ignoring the clues.

I heard a Bagwell apologist say “He had the best work ethic and he just hit the weight room.” Wasn’t that what we heard about Bonds? Clemens? McGwire? Canseco?

You don’t need to see every piece of evidence to connect the dots.

In 2009, I wrote a bunch of facts about David Ortiz. I just listed them and made no proclamation. But all of the facts when lined up pointed to his using Performance Enhancing Drugs.

A few months later it was announced that he was linked to them.

It wasn’t shocking.

If you left your cheating spouse and then your new love interest comes up with lipstick on their collar and smelling of cheap perfume, it isn’t out of line to say “Hey! I recognize the signs.”

I was at a party in New York during my single days and a friend of mine kept going to the bathroom over and over again. Each time she would come back, she would be jittery and incoherent. I am confident she was doing cocaine. Can I prove it in a court of law? No. But I still think I am right.

Voters for the Hall of Fame can and will use that lower bar for burden of proof as well. If you truly can’t vote for someone whose numbers have been artificially inflated to Hall of Fame levels, then vote the way your instincts tell you.

Or better yet, just ask Canseco who has been right on just about everything on this topic.

Don’t worry about proving something beyond the shadow of a doubt. A voter isn’t in a court of law.

They might as well be at a barbecue with my dad. And if you ARE at the barbecue, have a bite of the sword fish.

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