Wednesday, August 28, 2013
Jim Poole, 1994 Fleer #16
I know this courtesy of Baseball Nation's Larry Granillo, who recently tracked the wins and losses of home teams in documented cases of cats on the field. In short, the data is inconclusive: nine wins, eight losses for the home team. But the O's were one of those winners. On Monday night, September 23, 1991, they found themselves in a seesaw battle with the BoSox in the early innings. Baltimore starter Jose Mesa spotted the visitors a 2-0 lead in the first inning, courtesy of base hits from the first four batters. The Birds battled back in the bottom of the second to take a 3-2 lead, perhaps with a little help from a feline friend. They'd already tied the game on a pair of walks and a pair of singles, and Mike Devereaux stepped to the plate to face Mike Gardiner with runners on the corners and two outs. That's when the black cat of undetermined origins leapt over the railing near the visitors' dugout. Moments later, Devo hit a grounder to shortstop Luis Rivera. Rivera flubbed it, allowing the go-ahead run to score. When Boston loaded the bases with nobody out in the fourth inning, O's manager Johnny Oates summoned lefty Jim Poole from the bullpen to replace Mesa. Slugger Tom Brunansky bounced into a double play, but the Red Sox scored the tying run. That was all they would get. Oates stretched Poole for five innings of one-hit relief, and Devereaux added an RBI single in the bottom of the fourth to provide the winning margin. Gregg Olson shut the door in the ninth for his 30th save of the season, inducing a double-play grounder from Mo Vaughn after plunking Mike Greenwell. Though the Birds were bottom feeders in 1991, the 4-3 victory gave them a season series win against the Sawx for the first time since 1983.
After last night's 13-2 shellacking at the hands of the Red Sox, I wonder if the O's could track down that mysterious black cat's offspring.