05/16/2019 8:39 AM -
By Dan Vaughan
There are fall classic moments etched in our minds. There is the grainy black and white film of Willie Mays 1954 catch of a Vic Wertz's drive to the parking lot of the Polo Grounds that helped the New York Giants' sweep Cleveland in the World Series. I remember personally being at a college party watching Kirk Gibson of the Dodgers come off the bench and hit the walk off winner in game one of the 1988 World Series against the A’s.
I am sure Royals fans can pick out any number of them. Personally, as a member of the Jim Sundberg Junior Rangers Club as a kid, I always love the bases clearing triple he hit for Kansas City at Toronto in game seven of the 1985 ALCS off Dave Stieb to blow open a 2-1 game. The windblown double in Sioux City off the bat of Danny Hayes is one of those moments to me that ranks right up there with the best baseball fall classic moments.
I say it over and over again. The T-Bones do not win it all without Tommy Collier. Collier had a spectacular performance in game five on an Iowa Sunday night September 9th, 2018. The right-hander from H-Town (Houston, Texas) held Sioux City hitless until the fifth and struck out a total of nine batters in the game. In six of the first eight half-innings he worked three-up and three-down half frames. He set the tone for the clincher that night. There was no doubt that he would not be denied. The Pitcher of the Month award winner for July and August was well on his way to the September award that night.
Neither team would blink as James Dykstra was also tossing up goose eggs for the X’s as we headed to the top of the fifth. Adrian Nieto broke the draught when he led off with a solo home run over the left field fence to give Kansas City a 1-0 lead off Dykstra. Sioux City then would get a double to left by Jay Baum and a pair of walks to load the bases. But Tommy Collier, who led the league in strikeouts, eliminated the threat by striking out the last two batters of the inning.
After a scoreless sixth inning we went to the seventh and KC holding on 1-0.
The account from the game story:
“Todd Cunningham led off the seventh with a single to center and Adrian Nieto singled to center to put runners at the corners. With one out, the Explorers brought in reliever Ryan Horstman for starting pitcher James Dykstra. Horstman threw four pitches, all balls, to walk the first batter he faced, Keith Curcio, and load the bases. Sioux City went to their bullpen again, bringing in Luis Mateo, who struck out Alay Lago.”
Now Danny Hayes would step to the plate and on a 2-2 pitch he hit a fairly deep drive to right field that would most likely have scored an insurance run with a sacrifice fly but right fielder Michael Lang had trouble finding the ball in the early evening twilight. Lang put his hands out and could not find it then circled around trying to find it and still clearly, he had lost the ball in the Iowa ceiling. He would tumble awkwardly forward and to his side as the ball hit behind him. He quickly realized it hit behind him a few feet and threw it back in but not before Hayes and driven in not one run but a three-run double to clear the bases and put the T-Bones up 4-0
In the bottom of the seventh, Sioux City grabbed a run to get on the board and prevent a shutout but at 4-1 and the T-Bones pen ready it all seemed academic. In the eighth, Joe Filomeno came in for relief of Tommy Collier, who worked seven innings, giving up only one run. The X’s would get another run with two outs but they were clearly running out of time with four outs to go. After a T-Bones top of the ninth threat Cody Winiarski came in to close out the game and Kansas City won it by a final score of 4-2.
I recall Mr. October Reggie Jackson in the 70’s and as a Rangers fan I was there as Nelson Cruz crushed a grand slam in the ALCS in 2011 in the 11th to win the series. There is the famous Bill Buckner ball through the legs play that rolled the Mets to a win in October of 1986 and eventually a World Series. Add Danny Hayes lost in the sky double and some black and white tinted video to it and you can play it with all the baseball classics.