Opening Day (April 1, 2013) is 64 days away. We are counting down the 100 Walk Off Home Runs in Angels franchise history. Today we look at #64, a come from behind blast by Chili Davis!
June 18, 1993 - Jurassic Park was the number one movie in America. It had grossed $120 Million in ten days. The Angels payroll wasn't even half that. Ahh... the good old days.
As Steven Spielberg was bringing back dinosaurs, the Angels were bringing back an aging dinosaur of their own. Chili Davis re-signed with the Angels in December of 1992, almost five years after he had signed with them in 1987. He played in Anaheim 1988 - 90 and 1993 - 96. In his first break form the team, he won a ring with the Minnesota Twins in 1991. After he was traded by the Angels for Mark Gubicza in after the 1996 season, he won two rings with the Yankees in 1998 and 99. Charles Theodore Davis was born in Kingston, Jamaica, one of only four major leaguers born on that island. Angels great Devon White is another, but perhaps most odd is that Justin Masterson is one of the four.
Chili won some rings, Chili was Jamaican and we will get to his big hit in a paragraph or two, but on the night before that hit, June 17, 1993, Chili did something for the only time in his career: He pitched two innings. In an 18-2 blowout against the Rangers, Chili Davis pitched the 8th and 9th innings, allowing no hits or walks and hitting one batter. For trivia's sake, future steroid posterboys Rafael Palmeiro and Jose Canseco both hit home runs off of starter Scott Sanderson, so tell Sanderson that steroids had no impact on which players stayed in the major leagues longer...
The Gene Lamont-managed White Sox came into Anaheim the next night for a three game weekend series against the Angels. While Scott Sanderson had given up 7 ER in his start the night before, on this Friday night Angels starter Hilly Hathaway only gave up 6 ER in 5 IP. Fortunately, the White Sox starter Jason Bere allowed 6 as well. Down 8-6 in the bottom of the seventh inning, J.T. Snow drove in Chili Davis with a single off of Scott Radinsky.
With the score tight at 8-7, closer Roberto Hernandez entered the bottom of the ninth to collect a Save. His first pitch of the inning was poked through the SS/3B hole by Chad Curtis. His third pitch was a flyout to Centerfield by Tory Lovullo. Let's be kind now, Chili Davis was a great baseball player. His On Base Percentage of .365 ranks 7th all time in Angels franchise history. His Slugging Percentage of .464 is tied for 9th all time in club history. He had 1,620 Total Bases as an Anegl in 4,031 Plate Appearances, good for 8th all time as an Angel.
But Chili Davis grounded into a lot of double plays. He is in the top 50 GIDP in baseball history, ranking 47th with 232 in his career. 108 of those were as an Angel - ranking 4th in club history. And so a man on first with one out with the club down by a run in the bottom of the ninth has an added drama with Chili Davis at the plate. He knows how to roll that quick smooth groundout that goes to 2B for one before it goes to 1B for two and in this case, three.
But Chili Davis also ranks high on another all time Angels list. He hit 156 home runs as an Angel, 6th most in franchise history and one of them was hit deep into the old red Left Field seats on the third pitch of his AB.
Final Score: Angels 9, White Sox 8.