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Three Games From The Nifty Nineties


by Gary Larder

This feature originally appeared in the 2009 Red Wings yearbook

Were you a regular attendee of Red Wings games during the decade of the 1990s? If so, you probably have lots of fond memories of exciting games and exciting players. To refresh our memories, here are re-caps of three games of note.

May 14, 1995 :

Only 3,531 fans attended the Sunday afternoon game against the Columbus Clippers at Silver Stadium to watch Scott Klingenbeck hurl against the dreaded Yankee farmhands. Klingenbeck, who would win only three games for the Red Wings, had his “good stuff” that afternoon, limiting the Clippers to four hits over seven scoreless innings. The Wings meanwhile rallied for three runs in their sixth inning, to score a 3-0 victory, holding unto first place in the International League’s Eastern Division.

Alert fans who brought along their autograph books that day and snared the signature of the Columbus starting pitcher are happy that they were there. His name was Mariano Rivera, who of course gained fame as a premier closer for the Yankees. Rivera yielded three runs, five hits and no walks in 5 2/3 innings, fanning eleven batters. The DH that day was Jorge Posada, who went on to become the regular backstop for the parent Yankees. We should also mention the Yankee shortstop that afternoon: Derek Jeter. Jeter rapped one of the five Clipper hits that afternoon.

Looking back, how very many Rochesterians would like to have been at Silver Stadium to view three men who became very prominent, famous Yankees !

September 4, 1991

The Red Wings wrapped up their 1991 playing season with a meaningless game against the Syracuse Chiefs. The Wings had locked-up second place in the League’s Eastern Division and the Chiefs had secured third place.

Never theless, the game took on a special degree of interest because the Red Wings were about to set a unique record by having two of their players perform at each of the nine playing positions! Tommy Shields and Shane Turner, both of whom were primarily infielders, agreed to play one inning at each position.

Shields started the novelty by hurling a hitless first inning. Amazingly, Turner followed on the mound, also tossing a hitless second inning. Each of the two players caught for the o ther in those opening innings. Thereafter, they rotated through each of the remaining positions, while pitcher Paul Kilgus held the Chiefs scoreless.

As if his defensive prowess wasn’t enough, Shields contributed two hits and two RBI for the victorious Red Wings.

June 3, 1992 :

It took 15 innings, but the Red Wings were able to defeat the first-place Pawtucket Red Sox 3-2 at Silver Stadium. The hero was Jack Voigt, who drove in the winning run, providing a victory for Jim Lewis, who had entered the game in the top of the inning.

Rochester fans had the opportunity to see one of their former heroes, John “T-Bone” Shelby return to Norton Street in an opposition uniform, and he proved that he could still hit. T-Bone got a double, a triple, and four singles in the contest ! Also in the PawSox line-up: future Boston star Mo Vaughn, who rapped four hits off Red Wings pitching.

Largely unheralded in the marathon win was the clutch pitching of Rochester’s Todd Stephen, who provided scoreless relief from the 10 th through the 14 th innings, matching a similar effort by Pawtucket’s Peter Hoy.

The Moral :

You never know what to expect when you come to the ballpark. You might see a memorable game or you might see a memorable player. In any case, in years to come, you will be able to reminisce with your family and friends about the good time you shared toge ther.

Gary Larder is the President of Rochester Community Baseball, Inc.