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1st Inning HR By Visiting Players In Post-Season Sudden Death Games

Posted by Steve Lombardi on October 7, 2011

File this under:  Taking the crowd out of it.  How many players have homered in the top of the 1st inning of sudden death post season games?  It's a small list:

Cr# Gm# Date Series Gm# Batter Tm Opp Pitcher Score Inn RoB Out Pit(cnt) RBI WPA RE24 LI Play Description
1 1 1956-10-10 WS 7 Yogi Berra NYY @BRO Don Newcombe tied 0-0 t1 -2- 2   2 0.17 1.78 1.11 Home Run (Deep RF); Bauer Scores
2 1 1976-10-14 ALCS 5 John Mayberry KCR @NYY Ed Figueroa tied 0-0 t1 -2- 2   2 0.19 1.79 1.16 Home Run; Brett Scores
3 1 1984-10-07 NLCS 5 Leon Durham CHC @SDP Eric Show tied 0-0 t1 -2- 2 5 (3-1) 2 0.19 1.79 1.15 Home Run; Matthews Scores
4 1 1991-10-17 NLCS 7 Brian Hunter ATL @PIT John Smiley ahead 0-1 t1 1-- 2 1 (0-0) 2 0.18 1.88 .71 Home Run (Line Drive to Deep LF Line); Pendleton Scores
5 1 1999-10-11 ALDS 5 Nomar Garciaparra BOS @CLE Charles Nagy tied 0-0 t1 1-- 2   2 0.16 1.86 .79 Home Run; Daubach Scores
6 1 2003-10-15 NLCS 7 Miguel Cabrera FLA @CHC Kerry Wood tied 0-0 t1 1-3 1 5 (1-2) 3 0.18 2.07 1.76 Home Run (Fly Ball); Pierre Scores; Rodriguez Scores
7 1 2004-10-20 ALCS 7 David Ortiz BOS @NYY Kevin Brown tied 0-0 t1 1-- 2 1 (0-0) 2 0.17 1.87 .79 Home Run (Fly Ball); Ramirez Scores
8 1 2004-10-21 NLCS 7 Craig Biggio HOU @STL Jeff Suppan tied 0-0 t1 --- 0 4 (1-2) 1 0.10 1.00 .87 *LEADOFF GM*:Home Run (Fly Ball)
9 1 2008-10-19 ALCS 7 Dustin Pedroia BOS @TBR Matt Garza tied 0-0 t1 --- 1 3 (1-1) 1 0.10 1.00 .63 Home Run (Line Drive)
10 1 2011-10-06 ALDS 5 Don Kelly DET @NYY Ivan Nova tied 0-0 t1 --- 1 2 (0-1) 1 0.09 1.00 .63 Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep RF Line)
11 2 2011-10-06 ALDS 5 Delmon Young DET @NYY Ivan Nova ahead 0-1 t1 --- 1 1 (0-0) 1 0.09 1.00 .58 Home Run (Fly Ball to Deep LF Line)
Provided by View Original Table
Generated 10/7/2011.

Tigers are now the first team to have two guys do it in the same game.

22 Responses to “1st Inning HR By Visiting Players In Post-Season Sudden Death Games”

  1. mick Says:

    Interesting -- as Young hit the second of the back-to-backs, who was on deck? Miggy Cabrera, one of the only other nine players to previously hit one!

  2. Larry Says:

    That's a cool list, and I was surprised it was so short.

    Interesting that the 10 teams represented on the list went only 6-4 in those sudden death games. They might've taken the crowd out of it, but they didn't always take the starch out of the other team.

  3. Zack Says:

    What about Derek Jeter in 2000 against the Mets? It's even listed in a related post--leading off a post season game with a homer. I believe that was in Shea.

  4. Brett Says:

    Yogi & Don Kelly on the same list. Ain't baseball great?

  5. James Smyth Says:

    Interesting that Biggio's the only leadoff homer. And how about Leon Durham? He ended up playing a big part in that game later on. Also note that the teams that took the quick lead in these games only went 6-4.

  6. Mark Says:

    @ #3 -- Jeter's was at Shea but in Game 4, not a winner-take-all game.

  7. Steve Says:

    October 11, 1999. The day Pedro had a bad back and mere mortal stuff and still pitched like he was immortal.

    That was also the game where Nomar was twice walked intentionally ahead of Troy O'Leary, and Troy responded with a grand slam and a 3-run homer, only to be then walked intentionally himself later in the game.

    Another interesting development in that game. Kenny Lofton injured himself sliding into first trying to beat Pedro to the bag. His replacement in center? Dave Roberts.

  8. Zim Says:

    Where was this Delmon Young all season in Minnesota? At the time of the trade it was a bit of a surprise they would dump him so readily, but even more of a surprise is to see Delmon play so well down the stretch and carry the Tigers past the Yankees--something he never came close to in Minnesota.

  9. Drew Weaver Says:

    Berra had one runner on, not two.

  10. Johnny Twisto Says:

    Mad embarrassing that the Yankees let _elm_n Young knock them out of the postseason. Or a team that bats _elm_n third. Third! The guy is a terrible player. He'll be out of the majors within 5 years. UGH!

    OFF-TOPIC: Where has Neil L been? I fear that our cantankerous society may collapse in feuding without his levelheadedness to keep us in line.

  11. Richard Chester Says:


    That 2 in the RoB column means there is a runner on second base.

  12. John Autin Says:

    @10, JT -- Amen to the search for Neil L. I sorely miss our ... our ... what's the singular form of "BRefren"?

  13. Evan Says:

    JT @10,

    I think read/heard that one of the reasons that Dombrowski and Leyland were keen on bringing Delmon Young in was that they felt he was an excellent fastball hitter and that if they batted him 3rd he would hit better since pitchers would be less apt to throwing him breaking balls with Cabrera and Martinez hitting behind him. I don't know how much truth there is in that, but he did hit better after the trade, though still mostly below his career averages.


    On a side note, one of quirks that I like of having just one game on the schedule is that the 4 highest WPA events on the front page are all from Benoit against the Yankees in the bottom of the 7th.

  14. Evan Says:

    JA @12,

    I think they call us "nerds," with "nerd" being the singular form.

  15. George Says:

    That is quite a list, some great players.

  16. John Autin Says:

    @14, Evan -- Fair enough. Just don't tell me that Neil L. defected to the jocks. It would be a big hit to our Nerds Above Replacement value.

  17. Phil Haberkorn Says:

    What is a "sudden death game??????"
    Is it what we've always called the "deciding game" of a series?
    If so, why not keep calling it that?
    Sorry, but I'm still trying to digest why we stopped referring to "game-winning" plays and started calling them "walk-off" plays.
    Here's my point.
    Leon Durham's first - inning home run against the Padres definitely did not "take the crowd out of it."
    The Padres rallied to win the game.
    And it took all nine innings to do it; where's the "sudden" in that?
    The Cubs NEVER die a "sudden death."
    Their pennant chances have been Dead On Arrival with the first pitch Opening Day for over 100 years, it just always takes a few months for people to accept it.
    At times it takes something like Leon Durham's ERROR to just bring on the inevitable.

  18. Nick C. Says:

    Then there's John Mayberry Sr., who hit the early HR for the Royals in the game that ended with Chris Chambliss' HR

  19. John Autin Says:

    @17, Phil -- I see your point about "sudden death", but does "deciding game" necessarily mean a game that will win the series for either side?

    I just wonder if some people would think the term also applies to any game that ended a series, whether or not the teams were tied going in.

  20. Frank Clingenpeel Says:

    Ever noticed how many of these lists Berra makes?

  21. Russell Says:

    Leon "Bull" Durham is the hitting coach for the Tigers' AAA Toledo Mud Hens - he may have given Don Kelly a tip on the way up from the minors about hitting a HR in the 1st inning of an LDS game 5 or LCS/WS game 7 to quiet the crowd. I'm glad Don didn't also follow his lead in making a crucial late-inning error!

    speaking of multi-position players like Kelly, what's the most positions played in a playoff series by one player? this would be a more meaningful accomplishment than playing all 9 positions in a regular season game.

  22. Mark Says:

    @19 JA -- I'm a glutton for banter about this sort of thing (I think we'd get along, heh). "Sudden death" strikes me as more of a hockey overtime thing, where a loss for either side could be instantaneously imminent (whereas in baseball, even with "walkoffs," each side takes their turn). And I agree with your counterargument to Phil regarding "deciding game." When I innocuously replied back in #6, I instinctively used "winner-take-all" -- does that do the best job of covering a game, uh, for all the marbles?