04 June 2010

for 30 year cardboard: my list of the top 10 major league baseball games i have attended

30 year cardboard issued a challenge recently - he wanted to know what the greatest sport moment was that we have watched.  i figured i would take it a step further and count down my top ten.  and then take it even further and use ten major league baseball games that i have attended in person.  hold on - it's gonna be quite a ride...

i have been to many games in 16 different cities and 17 different stadiums.  how many i'm not sure, but there are lots of games as a youngster that i vaguely remember, and others that i have a clear memory of.  i recall standing and chanting 'dus-ty dus-ty' in the bottom of the 9th, cheering on the infield, seeing 9 rookies of the year in their rookie seasons, seeing pete rose, willie stargell, hank aaron, rickey henderson and many other hall of famers in their primes.  before i get to the top 10, i'll share a few quick memories of some other notable games:

on 08/19/91, i saw tommy lasorda come out of the dugout to incite the crowd and a late inning replacement key the dodgers to a come from behind walk-off victory
i bore witness to a 'balk-off' win on 05/28/89  
about a month after seeing a 'walk off' with a walk on 04/23/89  
i saw the dodgers' pedro outpitch the expos' pedro on 04/24/94 (along with a piazza bomb) 
 and i saw curt schilling dominate the blue on opening day - no foolin' - 04/01/97 
away from dodger stadium, my first trip to fenway began with a memorable game - an error by manny allowed the dodgers to tie it in the top of the 9th, but big papi won it in the bottom of the 9th.  the joint was rockin' on 06/11/04, that's for sure. 
about a month later in kansas city, i witnessed johan santana and joe nathan combine on a 1-hitter on 07/17/04 
but that wasn't the first time i had seen one of those.  back on 04/27/93 at the big a, i saw jimmy key absolutely destroy the angels, allowing one walk and a 6th inning single to gary disarcina  
i also saw jim abbott's first career shutout at the big a, as he beat roger clemens on 05/17/89 
i've also seen some good games at the metrodome, including an 11-inning, walk-off win on opening day 2004 courtesy of a 3-run shannon stewart home run
 and game 2 of the 2002 alcs on 10/09/02 against the eventual world champion angels 
 it was their first postseason since winning it all in 1991, and let me tell you, the dome was loud.

that's enough of the also-rans.  but, before we get to the top 10 games i have seen in person, i'll start with an well deserved honorable mention for a game i did not attend.

8/13/88 - the tim leary pinch hit game
this was the night that i first really believed.  the dodgers had a 2.5 game lead and were hosting the giants.  it was a saturday night and i was at a house party.  from about the 8th inning on, all of the guys at the party were standing around the tv set watching the game.  tommy used all of the stunt men and had to send tim leary up to pinch hit in the bottom of the 11th inning with two outs and the bases loaded.  when he singled to win the game, many a beer were thrown towards the ceiling.  just an awesome communal experience.
10.  9/30/95 - dodgers clinch in san diego
there are few things better than watching your team clinch a postseason berth in person, even if it's on another team's turf.  one of the things i remember most about this game is how lonely mike busch, a replacement player, and jose offerman, a man on the outs with the team and organization, looked as they took their time getting to the celebratory mob on the field.
9.  06/27/06 - joe mauer comes of age
man, was i happy to see that the dodgers were coming to minny in 2006.  i went to all three games, and joe mauer just killed them.  he went 4 for 5 with 5 rbi in the first game, and then 5 for 5 in this one.  he was 2 for 3 in the third game, and had become my favorite non-dodger.  just an awesome display of pure hitting ability that i hadn't seen in person or otherwise since tony gwynn.

8.  6/10/02 - maddux vs. twins who walked off in 15 innings
as stoked as i was to see maddux (in the throwback 1970's unis), this game was made more memorable by the fact that it went 15 innings and i stayed for the whole thing.  notice what i paid for the seat.  man, it was awesome when the twins sucked.  a $4 ticket down to $1 with the aaa discount.  sure it was general admission, but by the time the game was in extra innings, we were down behind home plate.  cristian guzman won it in the 15th with an rbi double off of local guy kerry ligtenberg.

7.  4/18/98 - kerry wood's 1st major league victory
my first visit to wrigley and the matchup was nomo vs. some kid named kerry wood.  we sat on the first base side and watched nomo warm up before the game.  he had nothing.  then wood came out for the top of the first and was just dealing.  straight bb's.  he struck out piazza to end the inning and then the cubs battered nomo for 8 runs in less than one inning of work.  surprisingly, darren dreifort pitched well in relief but the dodgers never threatened.  three starts later, wood struck out 20 astros.

6.  8/24/99 - pedro vs. twins with 15 k
i must have forgotten my aaa card for this game as i paid the full $4.  pedro was in town, and i wasn't going to miss it.  he didn't disappoint, striking out 15 twins in 8 innings.

5.  4/8/96 - nomo/glavine in dodgers home opener
this was a heckuva well pitched game.  nomomania was back for year 2, and the world champion braves were in town.  hideo nomo threw a 3-hitter as the dodgers beat tom glavine 1-0 on a third inning rbi single by rauuuuul mondesi.  plus, orel hershiser made an appearance on the ticket!

4.  8/24/88 - hershiser vs. the mets in the thick of the pennant race
speaking of hershiser...this game was a playoff game that happened to take place during the regular season.  it was intense.  me and a few friends conspired to get mets tickets and absolutely lucked out on getting this wednesday night game.  so what if it meant driving 6 hours?  hershiser pitched so well, making a fourth inning mike marshall rbi double stand until the top of the 8th when marshall misplayed a mookie wilson flyball into a triple.  the mets scored twice and won 2-1.  still, it gave me hope knowing that the dodgers could play with the beasts from the east as we neared the postseason.  i don't know what happened to my ticket stub, sadly.

3.  04/16/83 - steve garvey's 1118th consecutive game
i don't really remember too much about this game other than garvey broke billy williams' nl record for consecutive games played and that i got the garv to sign my autograph book before the game.  cool that fleer made a card of the si cover in one of their 1999 releases.  again, little elves have made off with my ticket stub darnit.

2.  5/23/02 - shawn green's 4 hr game
kaz ishii gave up 8 hits and 6 walks but only 2 runs in 5+ innings. oh yeah, shawn green hit 4 home runs and had a record 19 total bases.
in 2003, topps reminded us that he also had 9 homeruns that week.  perhaps the best $12 i have ever spent.

1.  10/15/88 - in a year that had been so improbable, the impossible happened.
i could go on and on about this game and make all sorts of poignant observations, but all i will say is that i was with my dad and we didn't leave early.  priceless.

thanks for the challenge brian!


Dodgerbobble said...

What an awsome post.

I am so jealous of your number 1.

tastelikedirt said...


Anonymous said...

Man, I've never seen that World Series card! This is the type of post that makes me love the blogging community...a personal post, combined with stuff that others have never seen before. Nice use of the ticket stubs too.

BBCDB1 said...

What a heartbreaking series the 2002 one was for Twins fans. They haven't regained their stride since. Maybe this is the year.

Got any stubs from this year?

I agree that personal memories are what make collecting fun, and hopefully even the bad ones bring a smile to our faces.

gcrl said...

i'm working on a target field post that will include a couple of stubs from this year. stay tuned...