#WNSTSweet16 Best Local Sports Playoff Moments

January 14, 2014 | Luke Jones

12. Roberto Alomar plays hero in Game 4 to clinch the 1996 American League Division Series

The Cleveland Indians were the best team in baseball after winning 99 games in the regular season while the flawed — and often dysfunctional — Orioles needed a late-season rally to qualify as the American League’s 1996 wild card. That didn’t stop Baltimore from taking the first two games of the ALDS played at Camden Yards before traveling to Jacobs Field, which was a house of horrors for opposing teams against the Indians’ powerful lineup.

After losing Game 3 thanks to a grand slam by Albert Belle off Armando Benitez, the Orioles trailed 3-2 in the ninth inning of Game 4 with the prospects of their early-series edge evaporating and the deciding game also being played in Cleveland. That’s when second baseman Roberto Alomar came through, stroking a game-tying single off All-Star closer Jose Mesa with two outs to force extra innings.

The teams remained tied until the top of the 12th when Alomar — who was public enemy No. 1 everywhere but Baltimore after the spitting incident with umpire John Hirschbeck only days earlier — led off with a home run to right-center off Mesa to give the Orioles a 4-3 lead and eventually the series win as they advanced to the American League Championship Series for the first time since 1983.


Continue to next page for No. 11

2 Comments For This Post

  1. James-Dundalk Says:

    Luke, I was a toddler in 1958/59 but those games Were on our TV at that time. Every other event on your list I have witnessed , quite a few in person. Great Job . Thanks for the memories

  2. unitastoberry Says:

    Good point on the 59 NFL championship game. ONLY one ever to be played in Baltimore. Thanks for mentioning Mo in the 66 Series.

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