The 2014 season will mark 20 years 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 for 20 consecutive Saturdays.
2. Game 1, 1995 ALDS
Prior to 1995, there was no Division Series (except in the strike year of 1981), and the last time the Indians had made the postseason, there was no Championship Series. The Tribe would face the Boston Red Sox, who had won the AL East in the new American League Division Series.
But the seeding for the playoffs was predetermined, meaning the Indians, who led the majors with 100 wins, were the lower seed and thus the Red Sox, with 86 wins, were the higher seed. The first postseason game in Cleveland since 1954 got off to a lousy start, with a 39-minute rain delay. The pitching matchup was a pair of aces: Denny Martinez for the Indians and Roger Clemens for the Red Sox. John Valentin homered off Martinez in the second to stake Clemens to a 2-0 lead. In the sixth, Albert Belle hit a two-run double, and then scored on a single by Eddie Murray, giving the Indians the lead. Luis Alicea homered for the Red Sox in the top of the eighth, a solo shot to tie the game, and fans got bonus baseball.
Tim Naehring homered in the top of the 11th for the Red Sox, another solo shot to take a one-run lead, but in the bottom of the 12th, Albert Belle sat on a fat pitch from Rick Aguilera, and crushed it to left field for a game-tying homer. In a bit of gamesmanship, Belle’s bat was confiscated. Belle mugged for the television cameras, flexing his bicep and pointing to it.
In the bottom of the 13th, Tony Pena came up.
Sandy Alomar was the everyday catcher, but Pena spelled him on occasion, and caught for Martinez. He worked a 3-0 count off Zane Smith and then, at 1:45 in the morning, as thousands of people were wondering whether or not to call off work the next day, Pena hit a pitch to straightaway center for a home run and the first postseason win in Cleveland since 1948. The Tribe went on to win the next day, and close out the series with a victory at Fenway Park in Game 3.