Sunday’s Den: The 13 best comebacks in major league (regular season) history (since 1940)

There isn’t enough laughter in the world these days, and today, there is even less; the great comic actor Fred Willard passed away Friday, at age 86.

The four-time Emmy nominee, who grew up in Ohio, spread joy through his talent for making people laugh. Boy, could he make me laugh.

In Roxanne, he was elected mayor of the town because his opponent died just before the election. His message to supporters: “I’d rather be with you people, than the finest people in all the world.”

“There was no man sweeter or funnier. We were so lucky to know Fred Willard and will miss his many visits,” Jimmy Kimmel

RIP sir. Thanks for the laughs. 

13) September 13, 1997: Mets 9, Expos 6 (11)— Expos led 6-0 in ninth inning behind Dustin Hermanson, who got 26 outs, but you need 27. Carl Everett tied the games with a 9th-inning grand slam, Bernard Gilkey walked it off with a 3-run homer.

Jason Isringhausen started on the mound for the Mets, one of his 52 starts in 724 career games.

12) August 22, 1947: Tigers 7, Senators 6— Washington led 6-0 in 9th inning, behind Walt Masterson, who got 25 outs. Eddie Yost led off for Washington; he was 3rd base coach for the ’69 Mets. Vic Wertz batted 3rd for Detroit; he hit the ball in the ’54 World Series that Willie Mays made that great catch on in the Polo Grounds.

This was first game of a twinbill, after teams also played a doubleheader the day before.

11) June 4, 1989: Blue Jays 13, @ Red Sox 11 (12)— Boston scored five in the first, led 10-0 after six innings, but Toronto scored four in the 8th inning, five more in the 9th, then won it in the 12th. Ernie Whitt and Junior Felix homered for Toronto.

Blue Jays were 23-31 at the time, but they scored 30 runs in this 3-game sweep in Fenway.

10) May 10, 2000: Cubs 9, Brewers 8 (11)— Milwaukee led 4-3 in 9th, then scored five runs in top of 9th, before the Cubs tied the game off the Brewers’ bullpen, scoring five unearned runs. Henry Rodriguez hit a 3-run pinch-hit homer in the 9th for the Cubs.

Cubs were 14-22 at the time, Milwaukee 12-22; they wasted two homers by Mark Loretta.

9) May 1, 1973: Giants 8, Pirates 7— Pittsburgh led 7-1 in ninth inning, then gave up seven runs in the bottom of the 9th; starter Bob Moose faced 32 hitters, got two outs in the 9th. Couple of relievers faced five hitters, got none of them out.

Willie Stargell had three hits, three RBI for the Pirates. Bobby Bonds batted leadoff for the Giants, who were 19-6 at the time, but wound up 88-74. Only 7,972 fans were at Candlestick Park that night, back when that stadium had artificial turf.

8) April 25, 1940— Senators 7, A’s 6— Only 3,000 fans attended this early season game in our nation’s capital; game was scoreless after four innings, Philly led 6-1 in the 9th, before Senators scored six times in the 9th for the walk-off win.

Baseball was stupid back then; George Caster started on the mound for Philly, faced 39 hitters; his reliever gave up the walk-off hit, the only batter he faced. Things are a little different now.

7) June 23, 1961— Phillies 12, @ Pirates 11— ’61 Phillies went 47-107, but they won this game after trailing 9-0 after five innings, snapping an 8-game losing skid. Hall of Fame pitcher Robin Roberts was KO’d in the 3rd inning; future manager Dallas Green gave up three hits, hit two batters in one ineffective inning in relief.

Roberto Clemente and future Bucs’ skipper Bill Virdon had three hits each for the Bucs, who won the 1960 World Series, but went 75-79 in ’61.

6) September 27, 2011— Arizona 7, Dodgers 6— If you bet the under in this game, stop reading; game was scoreless after six innings, 1-1 after nine, then the Dodgers scored five times in the top of the 10th inning. but Ryan Roberts hit a grand slam in the bottom of the 10th to send the crowd home happy.

This was the 2nd-to-last game of the regular season; Arizona went to the playoffs, LA didn’t. Micah Owings got the win, despite allowing the five Dodger runs in the 10th inning.

5) August 5, 2001— Indians 15, Mariners 14 (11)— I watched this game in a hotel bar in Canton, OH, near the Football Hall of Fame, where Jack Youngblood, Jackie Slater were inducted. Indians trailed 12-0 in the third inning, 14-2 in the 7th, but they scored four  times in 8th inning, five times in the 9th, then won it in extra innings.

This was the year Seattle went 116-46, an amazing season; their bullpen got 11 outs, gave up 10 runs in this game. Jim Home homered twice for Cleveland.

4) June 18, 1961— Red Sox 13, Senators 12— First game of a twinbill; Boston also walked off in the nightcap. Senators started the day 30-32, but went into a tailspin, finished 61-100- they led 7-5 after eight innings, scored five more in the top of the 9th to go up 12-5, then their bullpen imploded- the Red Sox’ last six hitters all reached base.

How times have changed; Red Sox drew only 850,589 fans at Fenway that season; they finished 76-86, a 6th-place team. Jim Pagliaroni hit a 9th inning grand slam for Boston in this game; seven years later, he caught Catfish Hunter’s perfect game in Oakland.

3) July 28, 2001— Pirates 9, Astros 8— First game of a doubleheader (Houston won the nightcap); Astros led 8-2 after eight innings behind 6.1 strong innings from Roy Oswalt, and three homers from Vinny Castilla, but Pittsburgh scored seven times in the 9th for the win. Brian Giles had three hits, four RBI for Pittsburgh.

From 1996-98, Castilla ht 126 homers in three years for Colorado- he hit 320 career homers.

2) August 21, 1990— Phillies 12, @ Dodgers 11— Homestanding Dodgers led 11-1 after five innings, 11-3 after eight innings, but Philly scored nine times in the 9th inning; John Kruk hit a 3-run homer for the Phils. Mike Scioscia had three hits, four RBI for LA.

Phillies lost eight of their next nine games after this one.

1) June 29, 1952— Cubs 9, @ Reds 8— First game of a doubleheader; Reds led 8-2 after eight innings, but Chicago scored seven runs in the 9th for the win. Dee Fondy had three hits, a homer and three RBI for the Cubs, who improved to 37-29 with thus win, but they finished only 77-77.

Cincy won the nightcap 9-1; they stumbled to a 69-85 record that year. 

Author: Armadillo Sports

I've been involved in sports my whole life, now just write about them. I like to travel, mostly to Las Vegas- they have gambling there.