C H A L K ! - Justin K. Aller
Counting Down to Opening Day, We Are Counting Down The 100 Walk Off Homers in Angels History. #24 was hit by infielder Dave Chalk on Cinco De Mayo 1974.
Opening Day, April 1, 2013 is 24 days away. There have been one hundred walk off home runs in Angels history. This is the story of #24, the only walk off home run hit by Dave Chalk as an Angel was also the only walk off home run hit by any Angel in the 1974 season.
May 5, 1974 - Nolan Ryan struck out six batters but allowed seven runs, five of them earned, and walked four. By all reasoning, a weak offensive team who sees their ace give all that up on a Sunday afternoon should just phone it in, but these Angels did not! A funny aside, Ryan hit one batter - Baltimore 2B and future Angels great Bobby Grich.
Down 2-1 after one and 4-1 after two, the Angels made it 4-3 in the fourth. After the Orioles scored one in the top of the sixth, they scored two to tie it at 5-5.
The Orioles scored two in the seventh and the Angels answered back with solo runs in the seventh and eighth. In the ninth Dave Chalk crushed a one-out pitch from reliever Grant Jackson to win the game. Final Score: Angels 8, Orioles 7 courtesy of a tie-breaking walk off solo home run in the bottom of the ninth inning by Dave Chalk.
It was the second career home run of the 22-year-old infielder. His first had come a few days earlier on April 30. He only hit twelve homers in his six year Angels career and only three more in the three seasons he played after being traded to the Rangers for Bert Campaneris in 1979. In searching the database of all time top ten Angels franchise records at Baseball Reference dot Com the only thing Chalk shows up at is #8 all time in Sacrifice Hits with 52.
Chalk was a reliable infielder, primarily at 3B. He accrued 3.5 Defensive Wins Above Replacement (dWAR) which is tied with CHone Figgins for 19th place in Angels franchise history. Considering Figgy was on the team much longer (1250 More Plate Appearances), you can start to understand Chalk's value to the team despite his weak bat. But it wasn't weak on Cinco De Mayo, 1974. Not weak at all.