Last week, Top Five Tuesday looked at the top postseason home runs by former Timber Rattler David Ortiz. That list got me thinking about other alumni.
This week's list is a look at the Top Five Postseason Home Runs by Appleton/Fox Cities Foxes.
The one home run that jumps to mind for me when I look at the list of Foxes alumni is Bucky Dent's home run off Mike Torrez in the 1978 AL East Tiebreaker game. The Yankees trailed 2-0 in the top of the seventh inning at Fenway Park. The light-hitting shortstop - a member of the Foxes in 1971 - hit a three-run homer to give the Yankees a 3-2 lead and New York went on to win the game 5-4.
However, that game was considered game #163 of the regular season instead of a postseason homer. So, Dent's homer does not make this list.
A couple of other home runs just missed this list.
Zoilo Versalles, a member of the Fox Cities Foxes in 1959, hit a three-run home run off Don Drysdale in Game One of the 1965 World Series. That homer by Versalles broke a 1-1 tie and put the Minnesota Twins up 4-1 over the Los Angeles Dodgers. Plus, it was a home run off Don Drysdale.
Luis Salazar, who spent an extended amount of time with the Appleton Foxes in 1986, cracked a solo home run off Scott Garrelts in the second inning of Game Four of the 1989 NLCS between the Chicago Cubs and the San Francisco Giants. Salazar's homer gave the Cubs a 2-1 lead in that game.
5.) Boog Powell (Fox Cities Foxes, 1960) - Game 1 1969 ALCS: There are a few homers by the slugging first baseman for the Baltimore Orioles that could be selected for this list. Powell had a pair of home runs in Game Two of the 1971 ALCS against Oakland A's with both coming off Catfish Hunter. But, the home run I selected was one that kept the Orioles from losing.
Baltimore was hosting game one of the first American League Championship Series, but trailed the Twins 3-2 heading to the bottom of the ninth inning. Jim Perry, a 20-game winner for the Twins in 1969, had protected that one-run lead every since a two-run homer by Tony Oliva gave Minnesota the advantage in the top the seventh.
Powell had hit 37 home runs in the regular season of 1969 and would finish second in the AL-MVP voting. He was scheduled to lead off the bottom of the ninth inning and homered to tie the game. Baltimore would win the game in the bottom of the twelfth inning on a two-out bunt single by Paul Blair to take a lead in the series on their way to the AL Pennant.
4.) Alex Rodriguez (Appleton Foxes, 1994) - Game 2, 2009 ALCS: The New York Yankees were down 3-2 to the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim in the bottom of the eleventh inning. Brian Fuentes, a former Timber Rattler, came on to try and close out the game which would even the series at 1-1 heading back to California. Fuentes got two strikes on Rodriguez, the leadoff batter for the Yankees in the eleventh. Then, Rodriguez went to right field. It didn't get out by much, but it got out to even the game. The Yankees would win the game in thirteenth and would eventually win the series.
3.) Dave McNally (Fox Cities Foxes, 1961) - Game 3, 1970 World Series: McNally is mainly known as a pitcher, but he has a pair of postseason home runs to choose. The first was a two-run homer off Jerry Koosman in Game Five of the 1969 World Series, but the Orioles wound up losing to the New York Mets, who clinched the Series in that game. The other was an obvious choice. It's a World Series Grand Slam by a pitcher. The Orioles had a 4-1 lead over the Cincinnati Reds in the sixth inning of Game Three in 1970. McNally cracked his bases loaded home run with two outs off reliever Wayne Granger and the Orioles were up 8-1. McNally tossed a complete game in Baltimore's 9-3 win.
2.) Harold Baines (Appleton Foxes, 1977) - Game 1, 1992 ALCS: I found five postseason home runs for Baines. Three of those home runs put his team in front. The one that I picked is from the 1992 ALCS when he was a member of the Oakland Athletics. The game was tied 3-3 and Baines was facing Jack Morris. Morris had allowed three runs in the top of the second inning on back-to-back home runs by Mark McGwire and Terry Steinbach, but kept the A's in check to allow his offense to get back in the game. Toronto had tied the game on a John Olerud RBI single in the bottom of the eighth. Baines stepped in to lead off the top of the ninth and 1-0 pitch out to right field to put the A's back in front. Dennis Eckersley closed out the game in the bottom of the ninth and the A's claimed game one of the series.
1.) Raul Ibanez (Appleton Foxes, 1994) - Home Run #2 in Game 3, 2012 ALDS: To be truthful, Raul Ibanez probably would have the top three spots on this list thanks to his magical run with the Yankees last postseason. There was the two-run homer off Jose Valverde with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning in Game One of the 2012 ALCS that tied the game 4-4. There was the solo home run off Jim Johnson with one out in the bottom of the ninth inning as a pinch hitter for Alex Rodriguez in Game Three of the ALDS against Baltimore that tied the game 2-2. But, there is only one real choice. Ibanez was up again in the bottom of the twelfth of Game Three against the Orioles and Brian Matusz. The result: A walkoff, postseason home run for Ibanez and a 3-2 Yankees win.