Advertisement

End of an Era Brings Back Warm Memory

Share via

The Angels today will play their last game in 87-year-old Tiger Stadium, an experience that is sure to spark memories for Manager Terry Collins, who grew up in Midland, Mich., and began going to Detroit games when he was 8, and Angel coaches and players.

The Tiger Stadium memory etched in this reporter’s mind is an amazing four-game series, July 13-16, 1995, when the end of an oppressive Midwest heat wave sent the heat index soaring to 120 degrees.

The Angels, so young, so confident, so naive, went on a tear after the All-Star break, building an 11-game lead by early August, and part of that surge was the four-game sweep in Detroit, during which the Angels twice rallied from behind.

Advertisement

Jim Edmonds blasted a 444-foot home run off the light tower on the right-field roof in the opener. Garret Anderson smashed a homer off the roof in the second game.

A rainout set up a doubleheader on a scorching Sunday afternoon. Second baseman Rex Hudler began the day weighing 200 pounds. Six hours later, after 6-4 and 13-6 victories, Hudler weighed 192.

He passed out in the trainer’s room after the nightcap with heat exhaustion--one step away from heat stroke. After being pumped with intravenous fluids, the hyperactive Hudler bounced around the clubhouse, attacked a postgame meal and said he was ready for another game.

“Hud,” then-pitching Coach Chuck Hernandez said, “you’re the only guy I know who could be almost dead one minute and eating a sausage the next.”

*

Having blown away the Central Division, the Cleveland Indians will spend the rest of the season trying to get injured players back--they were without Kenny Lofton, Sandy Alomar, Travis Fryman, Wil Cordero, Jaret Wright and Doc Gooden last week--and gearing up for a postseason showdown with the Yankees.

“I think we can play with New York,” outfielder David Justice said, disregarding a recent 21-1 loss to the Yankees. “But we need to be at full strength if we’re going to beat them.”

Advertisement

Though Cleveland has the league’s most potent lineup, Justice believes pitching will determine who reaches the World Series. Young right-hander Bartolo Colon has shown flashes of brilliance, “but he has no track record,” Justice said.

As for Dave Burba, Charles Nagy and Wright?

“We have guys who are capable of throwing great games,” Justice said. “Hopefully they will choose to do so in October.”

*

Minnesota Manager Tom Kelly has grown so tired of his team’s mental mistakes he began fining players for missing signs. First offense: $100. Second offense: $200. Kelly was so upset after a miscommunication on a hit-and-run play involving Torii Hunter last Saturday that he turned himself into a forensic scientist, calling third-base Coach Ron Gardenhire, batter Denny Hocking and Hunter, the baserunner, onto the field after the game to reconstruct the scene while the Royals’ ground crew groomed other parts of the field.

*

Nagy, after giving up seven runs in five innings but still getting the victory in a 15-10 win over Tampa Bay on Aug. 7: “I guess I picked a good night to be bad.”

*

The notoriously superstitious Wade Boggs, who eats chicken before every game, after recording his 3,000th hit: “Now I can eat steak. . . . The poultry industry just took a hit.”

Advertisement