The Top 20 Moments in Jacobs Field History: Winfield’s Lone Tribe Homer
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
6. Memorial Day 1995
When the Major League Baseball season stopped abruptly in 1994 because of a players’ strike, the White Sox were leading the American League Central. The Indians were a game back, and in the lead for the new wild card.
When the two teams met on Memorial Day, the Indians were 18-9 (the season had started late that year, after an agreement was finally brokered) and had a seven-game lead over the Pale Hose. The White Sox jumped out to a 6-0 lead, thanks in part to home runs by Frank Thomas and Robin Ventura.
But in the sixth inning, Manny Ramirez singled to score Carlos Baerga, putting the Indians on the board, and Dave Winfield stepped to the plate. The Indians, in addition to drafting great young talent like Ramirez, Jim Thome and Albert Belle, were signing veterans like Eddie Murray, Orel Hershiser, Denny Martinez – that day’s starter – and Winfield. Some worked out better than others, and Winfield was one of the least productive ones, but that day, he hit a three-run home run to pull the Indians within two runs.
In the seventh inning, the Tribe tied the game. Tony Pena doubled to score Wayne Kirby, and Jose Mesa threw a one-two-three ninth for the save. The Indians widened their lead, and went on to sweep the four-game series.
That was the first inkling for many Tribe fans that 1995 would be a special year.