Remembering Mets History (1999): NLCS Game #5- Robin Ventura's Walk Off Grand Slam Single

Sunday October 17th, 1999: NLCS Game #5- Shea Stadium, New York. After the Mets had salvaged a win in Game #4 there was some hope & reason to believe. The mighty Atlanta Braves had taken the first three games but now if the Mets could win this one, they were right back in it. 

That they did in dramatic & classic fashion. It is a game that goes down forever as a Mets classic.

The game began at 4:09 PM in the late afternoon & would last five hours, forty-six minutes into
the night just at about 10;00 PM in the rain. 

Bobby Valentine would use 23 total players in the game, fourteen position players & nine pitchers for the Mets. Bobby Cox would use 22 players, sixteen position players & six pitchers for the Braves.

The game began with pitchers' Masato Yoshi (12-8 / 4.40 ERA / 105 Ks) on the mound against Greg Maddox (19-9 / 3.57 ERA / 136 Ks) in front of 55,723 fans at Shea.

In the 1st inning, the Mets struck first; Rickey Henderson led off the game with a base hit. After Edgardo Alfonzo lined out to center, John Olerud really got the crowd going. Olerud hit a two run HR putting the Mets up 2-0. 

Trivia: It was Olerud's third HR of the post season, his second in two games. Olerud had now driven eleven runs in the 1999 post season.

Greg Maddox gave up a base hit to Mike Piazza but settled down after that, retiring Robin Ventura & Melvin Mora. 

In the 2nd Maddox gave up a leadoff double to Darryl Hamilton but stranded him at third base. 

Masato Yoshi held the Braves scoreless until the top of 4th inning. Bret Boone doubled & scored on Chipper Jones' double to left field. Brian Jordan tied the game with a base hit scoring Larry from second base.

Bobby Valentine yanked Yoshi & brought in the veteran; Orel Hershiser (13-12 / 4.58 ERA/ 89 Ks). Hershiser known as "the Bull dog" gave the Mets an outstanding middle relief performance.

Hershiser had entered the game with two runners on & no one out, he struck out the side to end the threat. In the 5th inning, with two men on he struck out Brian Jordan to end that inning as well. 

In the 6th, a Met error, an intentional walk & another walk loaded the bases. Hershiser then struck out Greg Maddox & Mike Piazza nailed Ryan Klesko trying to steal home as he was running on the pitch.

 Although he walked three batters, Hershiser held the Braves scoreless over 3.1 innings allowing just one hit. Bull dog struck out five along the way, as he got the Mets to the 7th inning.

Greg Maddox would scatter a few more Mets hits, in the 6th inning two Braves errors by Ryan Klesko at first base & a base hit by Mike Piazza loaded the bases. But Maddox got Rey Ordonez to ground out, ending the inning.

 The four-time Cy Young Award-winning Maddox pitched through the 7th inning, he would allow two runs on seven hits, with a pair of walks & strike outs. He exited with a 2-2 tie.

In the 7th Hershiser got Gerald Williams to pop up. He then hit Boone & Bobby Valentine brought in Turk Wendell to pitch. He fanned Chipper Jones then walked Brian Jordan after pinch runner Otis Nixon stole second.

Valentine relieved Wendell with Pat Mahomes. Mahomes walked Brian Hunter but got Andru Jones to fly out to left ending the inning.

In the 8th inning Mahomes got Eddie Perez to ground out but then gave up a double to Walt Weiss. He struck out pinch hitter Jose Hernandez then intentionally walked Gerald Williams.

John Franco would come on & retired Keith Lockhart. The Mets were blanked by Terry Mullholland to get to the 10th inning. Armando Benitez took over the Mets pitching getting it to the 11th inning, still tied at 2-2. 

Mike Remlinger retired the Mets in the 10th & 11th innings. Kenny Rogers came on for the Mets & got two scoreless innings in himself, to get it to the 12th.

Octavio Dotel pitched two scoreless innings for the Mets but not without drama. 

In the 13th, Keith Lockhart singled & Chipper Jones doubled to right field. Melvin Mora now in right, grabbed the ball threw to Edgardo Alfonzo who threw home to nail Lockhart at the plate & end the inning. The drama continued in this epic nail bitter.

In the 15th inning, Dotel gave up what looked like the final fatal run. Walt Weiss singled & stole second base. With two outs, Keith Lockhart tripled to center field scoring Weiss & silencing the Shea crowd. 

By now the rain was falling on a damp cool autumn evening in New York. This epic game was more than five hours old & all its excitement came down to the Mets being down 3-2 in the 15th inning. The Braves pitcher was Kevin Mcglinchy.

Shawon Dunston led off with a base hit & boldly, stole second base, bringing life to the crowd once again. Pinch hitter: Matt Franco then drew a walk. 

Edgardo Alfonzo sacrificed the runners over & the Mets were in business. John Olerud was intentionally walked to get to Todd Pratt. 

Pratt was now in the game having replaced Mike Piazza behind the plate. It was all up to Kevin Mcglinchy for the Braves, as Bobby Cox had pretty much run out of options. 

Mcglinchy walked Todd Pratt bringing in the tying run. Shea was reborn & went wild.

Robin Ventura came to the plate, Ventura on a bad knee was struggling in the series. He had gone 0-16 prior to his 11th inning single. 

But this time he was destined to be a hero, he took a 2-1 fast ball & drove it just over the classic 371-foot marker in right center field. It was a HR, a grand slam walk off game winning HR, in the post season. It was awesome.

Luckily Roger Cedeno scored from third base quickly, because the runner on first base; Todd Pratt was so excited at the blast, he hugged Robin Ventura, scooping him up in the air. 

He was ecstatic but because of that action, Ventura's blast would go down in the books as a walk off single & the Mets had a 4-3 win.

Quotes- Robin Ventura: "Maybe tonight when you guys go home, I'll run the bases" "It's no big deal, as long as I touched first base we won, so that's fine with me. We just play for another day. It seems like we've been saying that for a month now".

Darryl Hamilton said it best for the players on the bench describing this one: "It was getting crazy; it was getting to the point where your stomach was coming out of your guts".


Popular posts from this blog

Remembering Bobby Ojeda's Tragic Boating Accident (1993)

Remembering Vixen Founder / Guitarist; Jan Kuehnemund (1961-2013)

Fictional Mets Infielder Chico Escuela ( of SNL) Visits Mets Spring Training (1979)

Remembering Mets History: (1977) The Felix Millan / Ed Ott Brawl In Pittsburgh

The 1970's Oakland A's Ball Girls- (MLB's First)