The Top 20 Moments in Jacobs Field History: 1997 ALDS Game 4, Alomar Homers off Rivera
The 2013 season will mark the 20th year of baseball at Progressive (ie Jacobs) Field. It’s been a relatively short history (although with the stadium building boom in the late 1990s and early 2000s, Progressive Field is the 13th oldest facility in the majors). Did the Tribe Win Last Night? has compiled a list of the 20 most memorable moments in the field’s history. We’ll count them down while we wait for Opening Day.
By Vince Guerrieri
9. 1997 ALDS game 4
It was looking bleak for the Indians. After going to the 1995 World Series, the Indians were again the top seed in 1996, but lost in the American League Division Series, to the Orioles. And it looked like they might suffer the same fate in 1997, down two games to one to the defending world champion Yankees, and down 2-1 in the eighth inning of Game 4, four outs away from elimination.
Up stepped Sandy Alomar. Mariano Rivera was pitching. He served as the set-up man in the eighth for John Wetteland as the Yankees won the 1996 World Series, but so impressed management that they let Wetteland go as a free agent and installed Rivera as the closer. He had saved 43 games in 52 appearances, and was just starting to add his now-famous cutter as part of his pitching repertoire.
Rivera was called in for Mike Stanton, who had struck out David Justice, in the eighth, and retired Matt Williams. Alomar, who was the All-Star Game MVP with his home run in front of the hometown crowd at Jacobs Field in July, hit another home run, tying up the game and giving the Indians new life.
Mike Jackson, who came on in relief of Paul Assenmacher in the eighth, came out to throw a one-two-three ninth. Marquis Grissom led off the bottom of the ninth with a single off Ramiro Mendoza, and advanced to second on a Bip Roberts bunt. Omar Vizquel singled past Mendoza, and Grissom came around from second to score, winning the game. The Indians came back the next day behind rookie sensation Jaret Wright to win Game 5 and advance to the American League Championship Series.