Opening Day, April 1, 2013 is 13 days away. There have been one hundred walk off home runs in Angels history. This is the story of #13, a blast against the Yankees, a franchise adrift, bereft of any of its former glory.
June 17, 1968 - The Yankees were in town and on this Monday night game, they were hardly the Yankees of legend. Mickey Mantle was batting .240 and the club was three games under .500 (albeit with an OPS of .836). These were the Yankees of Joe Pepitone and Bobby Cox. Young Roy White would get a ring nine years alter with them but otherwise, it was a team resting on its former glory, adrift.
Angels starter Jim McGlothlin had a shutout going into the sixth inning but walked Horace Clarke, White got a single ahead of a walk to Mantle. Bases loaded and no outs and up stepped Pepitone. His grounder scored Clarke, but Mantle was forced out at 2B. White tried to get home but was caught in a pickle and was out running back to 3B. Far from vintage Yankees.
The Angels got that run back in the bottom of the inning when Vic Davalillo singled home Bobby Knoop off of Yankees starter Stan Bahnsen. McGlothlin would pitch nine innings and Minnie Rojas took over for him, tossing the tenth, eleventh and twelfth, all scoreless. Bahnsen soldiered through the eleventh but was pinch hit for by Charley Smith (he struck out out end the eleventh) and relieved by Joe Verbanic. The first batter that Verbanic faced was shortstop Jim Fregosi, who was 0 for 4 on the night. Fregosi got a hit. It was a tie-breaking, extra-inning walk off home run. Final Score: Angels 2, Yankees 1.
It was the second home runs of the home stand, but more was to come before the team hit the road.