The greatest moments in Dodgers history, No. 25: Mike Scioscia’s NLCS homer

Hi, and welcome to another edition of Dodgers Dugout. My name is Houston Mitchell, and we are less than a week away from the first spring exhibition game.

In December, I asked you to send me your list of the 10 greatest moments in Dodgers history, and boy did you all respond. I received 7,237 ballots (actually more than that, but some had to be disqualified for not following the rules). I went the last six weeks without sleeping in order to count them all.

The way it works: You listed your moments in order, and I assigned points, with first place getting 12 points, second place nine, third place eight, all the way down to one point for 10th. Add up the points and we get a top 25. We will be counting down the moments over the next few weeks, with No. 1 being revealed on or around opening day.

So without further ado, let’s start the countdown.

No. 25: Mike Scioscia’s NLCS homer (no first-place votes, 2,777 points)

Watch Mike Scioscia’s home run by clicking here.

It looked grim for the Dodgers. They were trailing the New York Mets, 4-2, in the top of the ninth inning of Game 4 of the NLCS at Shea Stadium and were down 2-1 in the series. Mets ace Dwight Gooden was on the mound and cruising.

Then John Shelby led off the inning with a walk, bringing Mike Scioscia to the plate. No one was thinking home run, because Scioscia was not a power hitter. But, as he said later, he figured Gooden would want to get a quick strike after walking Shelby, so he was looking to drive the first pitch.

First pitch: Fastball. Scioscia drove it all right, over the right-field fence for a tying homer. He had hit only three homers all season.

“I was hoping no one in the Mets’ bullpen would catch the ball, because maybe they’d call me out or something,” Scioscia said. “The guys in the dugout were kidding me about my home-run trot, but I told them I was running as fast as I could.”

After the game, Gooden caught up with Scioscia. “We started talking,” Gooden told the New York Daily News, “and I said to him, ‘You were looking to jump me, weren’t you? You knew I was going to lay a fastball in there for a strike with the first pitch, and you were looking to jump me, right?’

“And Mike smiled at me and said, ‘Absolutely I was.’ ”

Scioscia on the home run:

“I wasn’t thinking about a home run, that’s for sure. Doc was still throwing hard. With Keith Hernandez holding the runner on, and Wally (Backman) pinching the middle for a double play, I saw the big hole on the right side and I was just looking to get the head of the bat out and pull one through that hole.

“What I was trying to do matched the pitch I got. It was maybe thigh-high and I hit a line drive that just got up in the air a little and went out of the park.

“What I remember most is how quiet it got at Shea. It was really eerie. It was the first time I could ever remember running around the bases and hearing my spikes crunching as they hit the ground. And I’m thinking, ‘This is pretty cool but it’s almost surreal.’ ”

The Dodgers went on to win in 12 innings en route to advancing to the World Series and winning a storied championship.

You might be able to attend the home opener

According to our own Bill Shaikin, the Dodgers are working with the governor’s office and local public health officials on proposals that call for Dodger Stadium to operate at limited capacity at the start of the season, team president Stan Kasten said in a video sent Friday to season-ticket holders.

“I hope, by opening day, we are finally going to have some fans in the park,” Kasten said in the video. “I don’t think it will be a full stadium just yet. But I do believe sometime during this season, the way things are looking, we will have a full stadium again.”

Your first Dodgers memory

Since I still have a lot of these, “Your first Dodgers memory” returns this season. If you haven’t already, I’d still love for you to send me your first Dodgers memory, and it might run in an upcoming Dodgers Dugout. Include your name and where you live. And don’t send only a sentence. Tell why that memory sticks out in your mind. You can email me your memory at [email protected]. Thanks.

Steve Maxwell of Atlanta: Growing up in eastern Iowa, at a time in the late 1940s before games were shown on TV, I generally disregarded radio broadcasts of the Chicago Cubs and St. Louis Cardinals. I had to choose a favorite team to play a four-dice baseball game invented by my older brother.

The stirring story of Jackie Robinson impressed itself on my childhood memory so much that I chose the Dodgers. As I heard more about him and as he performed so well in our homemade baseball game, I became a bigger fan. In art class, I colored a pie plate with Jackie’s image and other Dodger details, then mailed it to him for him to autograph. Months went by until I almost forgot about my artwork. Suddenly, one day it showed up in the mail, a bit banged-up but with his signature on it! Excitedly, I showed it around to so many people, to the point that it somehow disappeared.

Major-league bummer for this “Bum”-inspired effort. Perhaps because my dad sensed my despair, he took me to a Dodger game at Wrigley Field in Chicago — about a five-hour trip — to see Jackie and all of “the Boys of Summer.” I took a lot of photos of the game with my Brownie Hawkeye camera, which had no telescopic lens. So, the most prominent feature of all these photos was the ivy-covered walls, which, I believe, are still a part of Wrigley Field. Sadly, my memories of that game have receded to the size of the images on those photos, and disappeared, along with my Jackie Robinson pie plate.

John Claeys: The year, 1963. The air quality in Los Angeles could be “cut with a knife.” That didn’t matter. I was at Dodger Stadium because my neighbor, who worked for Shell Oil, had box seats off first base, Row 138, Loge level. What incredible seats, just the right vantage point! I was 11, no father to speak of, so little sports exposure. Sandy Koufax on the mound. No, I don’t remember anything about the game, but I was star struck. And, my first Dodger Dog! It wouldn’t be my last. Nothing has changed except the world. The Dodgers still give me goosebumps.

And finally

Friend of newsletter Ross Porter has a nice discussion with Vin Scully. Watch it here.




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