Atlanta Braves: the last team to exploit the Phillies like the Mets just did
We come not to bury the Phillies, but to pile on instead. In 1994, it was the Atlanta Braves who did exactly that.
Tuesday, May 10, 1994. This was a season that had lots of awkward moments impacting this promising Atlanta Braves club — not least of all the strike that abruptly ended the season in August. But this night was indeed one for the books.
Last night’s huge comeback for the Mets — scoring seven times in the 9th to stun Philadelphia — did have a precedent. It was this Spring game in Atlanta from almost exactly 26 years ago.
Several of the names involved are familiar: Lenny Dykstra led off for the Phillies that night. Catcher Darren Daulton was a pinch hitter. Pete Incaviglia and Milt Thompson both played in left field. John Kruk was at 1st for a while. I can still recall broadcaster Harry Kalas and how he enunciated the name of second baseman “Mickey Morandini“.
On the Braves side, Deion Sanders led off, followed by Terry Pendleton and Ryan Klesko. Fred McGriff was at 1st base, of course, with David Justice in right field, the ‘Lemmer’ at second, Rafael Belliard at short, and Charlie O’Brien caught the whole game.
Even the umpires from that night are recognizable: Jerry Layne had the plate, with Jeff Kellogg, Paul Runge, and Dana DeMuth formed the rest of the crew… all well-known names to this day.
But let’s get real here: virtually everyone on both rosters got to play on this night… the game went fifteen innings. Heck… even Tom Glavine was used as a pinch hitter late in the contest.
If you’re a real glutton for punishment, the entire game is available to watch on youtube in 1 hour chunks:
Kent Mercker started the game, opposite Shawn Boskie, but Mercker only lasted 5+ innings, giving up the first 3 Phillie runs.
Mark Wohlers followed, but fared worse… he yielded the next 4. By the end of 7th inning, Steve Bedrosian gave up another tally, and Skip Carey was likely mulling the use of that line “if you promise to patronize our sponsors, you have our permission to go walk your dog.”
It was 8-1 Philadelphia at that point, as Boskie was cruising. Only an O’Brien homer has really bothered him for most of the night… one of just 2 hits and 2 walks through 8 innings.
“Cruising”, that is, until the bottom of the 9th, when Don Sutton used the “let’s give’em a finish” line.