Baseball fans, set the WABAC Machine 20 years into the past, May 27, 1992, as the Oakland Athletics host the Cleveland Indians on a pleasant Wednesday afternoon at the Coliseum. I’ll let you know at the end of this post what made this game special, but first, let’s indulge in the nostalgia of recapping the action of a long-ago game.
Just under 25,000 fans turned up to watch the first-place A’s under manager Tony LaRussa. Mike Hargrove led the Indians, who were already 14 games under .500. The A’s had one future Hall-of-Famer in Rickey Henderson, and another should-be-future Hall-of-Famer in Mark McGwire. The pitching matchup featured Dave Stewart against Scott Scudder.
Baseball-reference.com (and Retrosheet) allow us to examine old games, using a bit of imagination to make it even cooler. So I can tell you that after the A’s took a 1-0 lead in the first inning, Albert Belle led off the second with an infield hit. Hard Hittin’ Mark Whiten then lined a shot into right-center, and Belle took off. Unfortunately for him, Dann Howitt ran the ball down and doubled Belle off at first.
In the third inning, Rickey walked to lead it off and then stole second. He hurt himself, though, and missed the next couple of weeks. Randy Ready came in to pinch run (something to tell the grandkids), and later scored to make it 2-0, Oakland.
But Dave Stewart was a victim of the long ball that afternoon. In the fifth, Paul Sorrento hit a 2-run homer to tie the game. And in the 7th, both Belle and (again) Sorrento homered to put Cleveland in the lead, 4-2.
The A’s got the potential tying run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth, but Steve Olin got Lance Blankenship to ground into a double play to end the game.
So, outside of the trip down nostalgia lane, and the mention of a couple of big A’s stars, what makes this game so important? Well, I’m hoping she’ll give details in the comments section, but my sister and I were at this game, and she got a foul ball! And she had to work for it … during the mad scramble, one lady (I want to call her an “old” lady, but she was probably younger than I am now) pulled Chris’ ears!
Chris is tough, though. Unlike Rickey, she didn’t need to go on the DL.