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Unlikely NY Playoff Heroes

By Mike Silva ~ October 16th, 2009. Filed under: NY Baseball Memories.

You got my prediction for the series so now it’s about time to “play ball”. Each Friday I am going to start to look back on famous events and players in New York baseball history. Some I may interview, others I may research, and there will be some that I add my own personal experience. Here are five unlikely New York playoff heroes that personally stand out for me from the last 25 years.

Chad Curtis – His moment may have been overshadowed by the snub of NBC sportscaster Jim Gary. Curtis hit a walk-off homer in Game 3 of the 1999 World Series to put the Yankees in a commanding 3-0 lead over Atlanta. Moments after the homer Jim Gray, who days earlier conducted a controversial interview with Pete Rose, approached Curtis. It was that interview that Curtis cited as his reason for not talking to Gray.

Jose Vizcaino– This one hit both sides of the town as Vizcaino, the former Met, drove in the winning run in the infamous Game 1 of the 2000 World Series. The Mets blew a 3-2 lead in the ninth inning. Paul O’Neill had that classic at bat, where he drew a walk after fouling off numerous pitches, against Armando Benitez that started the rally. That would be the only RBI of the series for Vizcaino.

Luis Sojo - . Less than a week after Vizcaino’s heroics another light hitting middle infielder would trump the Mets. Luis Sojo would win that very same 2000 Subway Series with a RBI single in Game 5. How many bounces did this ball take? Why couldn’t Mike Bordick at least keep it on the infield? Have you ever wanted Rey Ordonez in the Mets lineup more before or after? Those are the questions that haunt Mets fans. All Yankees fans know is that it sealed their historic 3-peat. What a way to cap the dynasty celebrating on the Mets home field? Does it get sweeter for a Yankees fan?

Benny Agbayani – Game 3 of the 2000 NLDS was one of the coldest nights I ever spent at Shea. I was sitting in the last row of the upper deck with the wind swirling for a game that I believe started around 4 pm. After the Mets bullpen dodged a number of bullets throughout the game Agbayani came up with one out in the bottom of the thirteenth. It wasn’t just about winning the game and taking the lead in the series, but giving the fans some relief from the cold. Aaron Fultz 1-0 pitch was hit hard, high, long, and we didn’t think it would leave the yard until Barry Bonds turned around and looked up. It was probably my most memorable moment at Shea. Say what you want about Agbayani, but he put up an OPS over 1.000 in that series and was almost as good in the NLCS against St. Louis.

Todd Pratt- I was at “Tank’s” very first game as a Met in 1997. This is one of those useless facts that somehow I remember. Pratt hit a homer on July 4th, 1997 in his first Mets at bat off none other than Al Leiter. It was a homer in a much higher leverage situation, two years later, that would make him a New York figure for life. The Mets were without Mike Piazza for Games 3 and 4 of the 99’ NLDS. The Mets had to take two in New York in order to avoid Randy Johnson and a Game 5 in Arizona. That Friday they blew the doors off Omar Daal, but Brian Anderson kept the Mets in check Saturday afternoon. Al Leiter pitched outstanding, Armando Benitez blew a save, and the game was tied entering the tenth. None on, one out, and Pratt hit a long fly ball to center that just went off the glove of Steve Finley. To this day I still don’t know how Finley missed the ball. It doesn’t matter Mets win and would play a classic six game series against the Braves.

I know there are tons more, but these are the ones that stand out to me. If you have any interesting stories to add have at it in the comments section.

Mike Silva is a freelance writer and radio host since March of 2007. This website is his own personal "digest" of New York Baseball He's also hosts NYBD Radio on Blog Talk Radio and 1240 AM WGBB. Check out his sports media commentary at www.sportsmediawatchdog.com. Check out his official website, www.mikesilvamedia.com
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1 Response to Unlikely NY Playoff Heroes

  1. Chris Silva

    Jose Vizcaino and Luis Sojo were always the guys you didn’t want to see to get up. I’ll admit I spent many Yankees postseasons rooting against them and praying for them to lose. These two guys always came up big with the cheapest hits of all time!

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