Oct 12, 1986: Forgettable year
Submitted by BTGrimes on Sat, 10/12/2013 - 9:00am
No Angels in this outfield
ANAHEIM, CALIFORNIA - Today in baseball history in 1986 the California Angels were one strike from their first World Series when they suffered a heartbreaking loss that had devastating consequences beyond baseball.
It was game 5 of American League Championship Series (ALCS). California had a three games to one lead over the Boston Red Sox. This game was filled with drama. The Angels were up 5-2 in the ninth. It was the Red Sox' last at bat. Designated hitter Don Baylor hit a two-run homer on a two-strike pitch with one out. The Red Sox were within a run.
After another out Angel's reliever Gary Lucas hit the first batter he faced, catcher Rich Gedman. Donnie Moore, who had bounced around the major leagues for several years, but appeared to have found a home with the Angels, was brought in to pitch to the Red Sox' Dave Henderson. Moore had two strikes on Henderson - the Angels were one strike from their first World Series.
Henderson hit a two-run homer to give the Red Sox the lead.
As dramatic as that was, it wasn't the end. The Angels tied the game in the last of the 9th. Neither team scored in the 10th. The Red Sox scored the go-ahead run in 11th on a sacrifice fly by Dave Henderson. The Angels were held in check in the bottom of the 11th to end the game. The Red Sox were still down three games to two, but were heading back to Boston where they won the final two games.
Sadly, Donnie Moore's life spiraled down after that. He was booed regularly by Angels' fans who couldn't forget that one fateful pitch. Moore was tough on himself too. It's unlikely that baseball failure was his only demon, but he fell into deep depression after being released in 1988. Donnie Moore committed suicide in 1989. He was 35.
This baseball history story about the 1986 California Angels is brought to you by TODAY in BASEBALL.