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AngelsWin.com Today: #8 – Aug. 29, 1986: Schofield leads a grand comeback | Top-50 Greatest Moments in Angels Baseball


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It is the biggest ninth inning comeback in Angels history, and shortstop Dick Schofield not only sparked it – he also ended it with one explosive swing of the bat.
With the Angels holding onto a 4.5 game lead over Texas for the division title, the Rangers had already applied some pressure with a 5-2 victory in Chicago earlier that Friday night.

The Angels, meanwhile, were getting trounced by the visiting Detroit Tigers, trailing 8-1 after five uninspiring innings. Heading into the bottom of the ninth, Detroit’s lead stood at 12-5 and it appeared the Angels division bump would soon shrink to 3.5 games.

The rally started innocently enough, with Schofield beating out an infield single to short off Tigers reliever Randy O’Neal, who was beginning his third inning of work. After Rick Burleson lined out, Wally Joyner drew a walk. When Brian Downing singled to load the bases, Detroit closer Guillermo “Willie” Hernandez, the 1984 MVP and Cy Young winner, began to warm in the bullpen – just in case.

Jack Howell doubled to right field, scoring Schofield and Joyner, and Tigers manager Sparky Anderson had seen enough. He called on Hernandez, even though Detroit still led 12-7.

Hernandez, however, would prove no more effective, promptly giving up consecutive RBI singles to George Hendrick and Bobby Grich, pulling the Angels within three runs. But when Gary Pettis grounded into a fielder’s choice at second, California was down to its final out. Up stepped Ruppert Jones, pinch hitting for Jerry Narron. Jones worked a walk from Hernandez, loading the bases for the man who started the rally: Schofield.

Incredibly, the Angels typically light-hitting shortstop – he of the 56 home runs in 1,368 career games – lofted a Hernandez splitter straight down the left field line; a ball that kept carrying … carrying … carrying … GONE! Dave Collins’ just watched it sail into the stands.

It was a grand slam – a walk-off grand slam, in fact, capping an eight-run ninth that ignited frenzy among those fans from the original 32,992 in attendance that actually remained.

The Angels would maintain their 4.5 game lead on the Rangers, who got no closer than five the rest of the season. It was the signature victory of the Angels’ 1986 division championship season and one that fans, even 22 years later, still recall fondly any time the team rallies in the ninth.

http://www.baseball-reference.com/boxes/CAL/CAL198608290.shtml


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I was 16 years old and listened to this entire game on the radio, while doing homework that night. 

When Schofield hit that grand slam, I screamed and ran out of my room and into the living room where I scared the shit out of my folks who were falling asleep to some late night show. 

One of my fondest memories of the club and best comeback I've ever had the pleasure of following in the world of sports. 

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18 minutes ago, IEAngelsfan said:

I remember watching that game and was yelling when Schofield hit that grand slam. At that point, I knew they were going to the playoffs. 

Yeah.. Wally World, REGGIE, Mike Witt, so many good players and memories. It's a shame we couldn't go all the way. 

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That weekend was crazy.   DeCinces homered off of Campbell the next night in the bottom of the 9th to win the game.   Then on Sunday, a late rally produced a win.

If only Moore hadn't been hurt that year.   He had been ridiculous in 1985 (sub 2.00 ERA), aside from one late game collapse in late September in Cleveland (5-0 blown lead).   Not to mention Lucas hitting his first lefty batter in like forever in ALCS game 5.

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As I have mentioned several times over the years...I was at that game and left early. I had to be at work at SNA at 5:30 AM and I lived in South Laguna at the time. Went to the game by myself at the last minute on a whim, so it wasn't like I had to convince anyone else that down 8-1 it was time to go home and get some sleep.

I've never left a game early for any reason since.

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4 minutes ago, Angel Oracle said:

Didn't announcer Al Conin later go on to manage a team in the Little League WS?

And of course, the video reminds us of one of the greatest Halos fans, Dr. Angel Fever himself, longtime post-game talk show host Bob Rowe 

I think Joe Torre was with the broadcast team at that time also.

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I certainly can never forget this game. I was watching the game un the fifth inning when my wife at the time said we needed to talk. I shut off the game and she told me that she wanted a divorce. I never got to turn the game back on and the next day I moved out of the house. I also found out about the coneback , at least I had that going for me. 

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I have also mentioned this on the angel board. . .this was the first game I ever left early.  I was 19 with a new fantastic girlfriend and she had ideas for the evening that seemed to be more interesting than sitting through a 9th that far behind.  I heard the 9th on the radio.  It was a good night but wish I had waited.

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I think the details in the article are a little off in the article: Judging from the video, I think Schofield actually hit it into the bullpen in left field and it cleared the taller BP fence by a good couple of feet. And as shown in the video, there was no leaping attempt from Collins; he just watched the ball fly over his head.

My experience that night was a lot like Chuck's. I was 18, and had just gotten off work at my fast-food job and turned on the radio in my car on the way home. It was 12-5 when I started the car, and they were able to put a couple runs on the board by the time I got home. My mom was in the living room with the news on and told me the Angels probably lost, and my Dad had given up and gone to bed. I went to my room to listen to the rest of the game on the radio.

When the call for the grand slam happened, I couldn't believe it; I started jumping around and burst into my Dad's room and woke him up. I then went back into the living just as the KTLA news was coming into its final segment. Apparently, they had just finished up the sports report, and Keith Olbermann was saying that the game wasn't over yet, but the Angels would probably suffer another loss. News came back on for the sign-off and Hal Fishman swung it back to Olbermann, who had a sheepish grin and said "Well, guess what happened?"

Over 30 years later, still a very memorable moment, even though it was a regular season game and I think the Angels probably would have won the division even if they had lost that game. I'm glad to see so many still remember it.

P.S. Sorry Dtwncbad had to miss it, but I'm sure he had a better night than 99 percent of us that night.

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49 minutes ago, mpcincal said:

I think the details in the article are a little off in the article: Judging from the video, I think Schofield actually hit it into the bullpen in left field and it cleared the taller BP fence by a good couple of feet. And as shown in the video, there was no leaping attempt from Collins; he just watched the ball fly over his head.

Thanks for pointing that out. I just realized I had the earliest version of this moment posted. Just uploaded the last revised version. 

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