It was a special day in the city of Cleveland as the Indians and the Seattle Mariners opened up the brand new Jacobs Field in front of a packed house of 41,459 spectators. Fans who attended the historic event were treated to a classic season opener, as the Indians edged the Mariners, 4-3, with an eleventh inning walk-off.
Seattle’s Eric Anthony scored the first run in the Jacobs Field era with a sacrifice fly off of Cleveland’s Dennis Martinez. After a combined six walks and a hit batsman put runners on base for both clubs, Anthony also delivered the park’s first hit in the third, a home run, to give the M’s a 2-0 advantage.
Against future Hall of Famer Randy Johnson, the Indians did not get their first hit until the bottom of the eighth. After a leadoff walk to Candy Maldonado, Sandy Alomar singled to right. A wild pitch moved both runners up and both came around to score on a two-run double to left by Manny Ramirez, tying the game at two.
Still tied in the ninth, Jose Mesa allowed a two-out ground-rule double, but escaped harm. In the bottom half, Paul Sorrento struck out swinging with runners on second and third to force bonus baseball.
The Mariners reclaimed the lead in the tenth on a two-out RBI-single by Kevin Mitchell, but a bases loaded groundout by former Mariner Omar Vizquel in the bottom of the inning scored pinch-runner Wayne Kirby to tie the game at three. Kirby, in his first plate appearance in the next inning, would send the Tribe fans home a winner in the bottom of the eleventh. After Eddie Murray reached on a one-out double and moved to third on a fly out, he scored on Kirby’s single to left off of Kevin King.
Also on this date in Tribe history:
1888 – Future Hall of Famer Tris Speaker is born in Hubbard, Texas.
1910 – Cleveland’s own Joe Vosmik is born. He would spend seven of his 13 MLB seasons in an Indians uniform and was an All-Star in 1935.
1947 – Two-time AL All-Star catcher Ray Fosse is born in Marion, Illinois.
1961 – One-time Indians outfielder and Ohio native Brad Komminsk is born in Lima.
1999 – MLB Hall of Famer and longtime Indians pitcher Early Wynn passes away at the age of 79.