The Top 20 Moments in Jacobs Field History: Tribe Defeats Greg Maddux
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
1. 1995 World Series, Game 5
The Tribe was up against the wall Oct. 26, 1995. After a juggernaut season that saw them win 100 games (because of the late start after the strike, only 144 games were played, making the achievement even more incredible), they were wilting in the face of the Braves’ starting rotation in the World Series. The Indians managed to win Game 3 in extra innings, but lost Game 4.
A loss to Greg Maddux and the Braves in Game 5 would send the Indians packing for the year. But the team had no quit, and had brilliantly come back many times that year. “Animal House” blared on the JumboTron, as John Belushi bellowed “OVER? DID YOU SAY OVER?!? NOTHING IS OVER UNTIL WE DECIDE IT IS!!” The next line was, “Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell no!” But it was drowned out by 45,000 Indians fans screaming themselves hoarse.
Albert Belle had all but disappeared in the Series, but managed to hit a solo home run in Game 4. It made no difference in that game, a 5-2 Braves win (the only game in that series won by more than one run, in fact), but Belle came up against Maddux in the bottom of the first with one on and hit a bomb down the right field line.
The next batter, Eddie Murray, got a little chin music, and both dugouts emptied. Murray got picked off first base, and the score remained 2-0 until Luis Polonia hit a solo home run in the top of the fourth off Orel Hershiser. The Braves plated another run in the fifth to tie the game, but back-to-back singles by Jim Thome and Manny Ramirez scored runs in the bottom of the sixth, giving the Indians a 4-2 lead. Thome sent a Brad Clontz fastball screaming into the night for what turned out to be the winning run, as Jose Mesa’s appearance in the ninth included surrendering a two-run homer to Ryan Klesko.
But Mesa got the save, the Indians got the win, and the series headed back to Atlanta. It might have been the most exciting, most meaningful game played at Jacobs Field, and hasn’t been matched since.