home sweet home - Jeff Golden
Counting Down to Opening Day, We Are Counting Down The 100 Walk Off Homers in Angels History. #17 was the first walk off grand slam in team history!
April 24, 1971 - The Angels were hosting an early season meeting with the World Champion Baltimore Orioles. In the first month of their eleventh season, the franchise had played 1,635 games before this Saturday afternoon contest. In that time there had been sixteen walk off home runs, about one every hundred games.
Tony Conigliaro hit a two run home run in the bottom of the first inning for the Angels to give them a 2-1 lead over the world champions. Boog Powell hit a two run homer in the top of the third, scoring Mark Belanger and giving the Orioles a 3-2 lead. Future Mets, Dodgers and Nationals manager Davey Johnson hit a solo home run for the O's off of starter Tommy Murphy in the fourth to make it 4-2 Baltimore.
Sandy Alomoar doubled his pitcher home in the sixth to make the game 4-3 and that was the score when Baltimore starter Mike Cuellar took the mound in the ninth inning looking for a complete game victory. But a single to Alex Johnson leading off the final frame sent Earl Weaver to the mound. In cam Dick Hall to close it out.
Hall gave up a single and a bunt groundout to push the runners over to 2B and 3B. Earl Weaver had him walk Ken McMullen to get to Roger Repoz, hoping for a game winning ground out double play.
Roger Repoz was born in August of 1940. At thirty years old, a mildly above average major league baseball career was coming to a close. He had come up in the Yankees system, been traded to the Kansas City Athletics and then traded to the Angels in the summer of love, two weeks after the Beatles had released Sargent Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band. He would play in parts of five seasons for the Halos, accruing 1,705 Plate Appearances. His highest ranking record with the team sees him hitting a HR per 25.9 At Bats, just below Torii HUnter's 25.6, good for 18th on the all time Angels list. His OPS (On Base Percentage Plus Slugging) of .694 meanwhile, ranks 50th in club history for players with over 1,500 Plate Appearances as an Angel.
On this day, though, he did something that no Angel had done in the club's 1,635 games. Roger Repoz hit a walk off grand slam. It was a come from behind bottom of the ninth walk off grand slam. Final Score: Angels 7, Orioles 4.
There have been eight walk off grand slams in the hundred walk off home runs in Angels history.
Roger Repoz was the first, and he did against the reigning world champions after a future Hall of Fame manager had intentionally walked the batter before him Just to get to him.