Saturday, March 22, 2008

By Geoff Bilau, Senior Editor

It is the biggest ninth inning comeback in Angels history, and shortstop Dick Schofield not only sparked it — he also ended it with one explosive swing of the bat.

With the Angels holding onto a 4.5 game lead over Texas for the division title, the Rangers had already applied some pressure with a 5-2 victory in Chicago earlier that Friday night.

The Angels, meanwhile, were getting trounced by the visiting Detroit Tigers, trailing 8-1 after five uninspiring innings. Heading into the bottom of the ninth, Detroit’s lead stood at 12-5 and it appeared the Angels division bump would soon shrink to 3.5 games.

The rally started innocently enough, with Schofield beating out an infield single to short off Tigers reliever Randy O’Neal, who was beginning his third inning of work. After Rick Burleson lined out, Wally Joyner drew a walk. When Brian Downing singled to load the bases, Detroit closer Guillermo “Willie” Hernandez, the 1984 MVP and Cy Young winner, began to warm in the bullpen — just in case.

Jack Howell doubled to right field, scoring Schofield and Joyner, and Tigers manager Sparky Anderson had seen enough. He called on Hernandez, even though Detroit still led 12-7.

Hernandez, however, would prove no more effective, promptly giving up consecutive RBI singles to George Hendrick and Bobby Grich, pulling the Angels within three runs. But when Gary Pettis grounded into a fielder’s choice at second, California was down to its final out. Up stepped Ruppert Jones, pinch hitting for Jerry Narron. Jones worked a walk from Hernandez, loading the bases for the man who started the rally: Schofield.

Incredibly, the Angels typically light-hitting shortstop — he of the 56 home runs in 1,368 career games — lofted a Hernandez splitter straight down the left field line; a ball that kept carrying … carrying … carrying … just fair over the short wall and just out of the reach of Dave Collins’ leaping attempt.

It was a grand slam — a walk-off grand slam, in fact, capping an eight-run ninth that ignited frenzy among those fans from the original 32,992 in attendance that actually remained.

The Angels would maintain their 4.5 game lead on the Rangers, who got no closer than five the rest of the season. It was the signature victory of the Angels’ 1986 division championship season and one that fans, even 22 years later, still recall fondly any time the team rallies in the ninth.
Love to hear what you think!


Listen to "A Fish Like This" Tribute song to Mike Trout's Greatness

AngelsWin Media

We Recommend

 photo 8fbce79f-4964-43ef-a13d-ff1832b5e9a4_zpsd3c2ece7.jpg
Click on the picture above to pick up a copy of Rob Goldman's latest on Angels' great, Nolan Ryan. A Must Read for every fan of the Angels! Website Store

 photo t_zps6af139fc.gif
Copyright © 2013 Los Angeles Angels Blog | is the unofficial website of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. Our comments and views do not express the views of the major league club or anyone affiliate with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. blog content, articles and opinions are provided "as is" and without warranties of any kind.  We disclaim warranties, express or implied, including warranties for a particular purpose, accuracy, completeness, availability, security, compatibility and non-infringement.  Blog material, articles and other information furnished or supplied by you to become the ownership of for use at our discretion.  Your use of AngelsWin content is at your own discretion and risk. We do not warrant that any content here be error free that access thereto will be uninterrupted or errors will be corrected. We do not warrant or make any representations regarding  the use of any content made available through  You hereby waive any claim against us with respect thereto. may contain the opinions and views of other members and users. We cannot endorse, guarantee, or be responsible for the accuracy, efficacy or veracity of any content generated by our members and other users. The content of is intended for educational and entertainment purposes only. Such content is not intended to, and does not, constitute legal, professional, medical or healthcare advice or diagnosis, and may not be used for such purposes. Reliance on any information appearing on is strictly at your own risk. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in, or accessible through, the without seeking the appropriate legal or other professional advice on the particular facts and circumstances at issue from a lawyer or professional licensed in the recipient's state, country or other appropriate licensing jurisdiction.