Looking back on McCann’s historic day
Attempting to digest what Brian McCann did during Tuesday’s 3-1, 11-inning win over the Astros, one could only wonder if they had witnessed history. It’s not every day that you see somebody come off the bench to hit a game-tying two-out homer in the ninth. Nor do you have the chance to see an extra-inning, walk-off homer with great regularity.
Defying significant odds Tuesday afternoon at Turner Field, McCann experienced the thrill of hitting both the ninth-inning game-tying shot and walk-off, extra-inning blast. The Braves All-Star catcher tied the game by hitting Mark Melancon’s 1-2 curveball over the left-centerfield wall with two outs in the ninth. He ended it with his two-run, 11th-inning blast off Jeff Fulchino.
According to the Elias Sports Bureau, McCann became just the second player to hit a pinch-hit, game-tying homer in the ninth inning and then end an extra-inning game with another homer. The only other player to do this was Jeff Heath for the Boston Braves in a Aug. 27, 1949 win over the Reds.
It’s somewhat odd that a pair of Braves are the only players to ever do this in Major League history. But I think I was more surprised to see McCann’s historic day came exactly 40 years after Ralph Garr did something similar across the street at old Atlanta-Fulton Stadium.
Prior to McCann, the last Braves’ player to homer in the ninth inning (or later) to tie the game, and then homer again to win the game in extra innings was Garr, who did so in a May 17, 1971 win over the Mets. Garr homered in the 10th inning off Tom Seaver and then won the game with a 12th-inning walk-off homer against Ron Taylor.
Makes you wonder what will happen when the Braves play on May 17, 2051.