Throughout this week, there will be non-stop conversations about what was possibly the most thrilling Superbowl of all-time. The Patriots had a 99% chance of losing when they were down 28-3 at the end of the first half, but they rallied to win in overtime.
It was amazing.
Looking to capitalize on this from a baseball standpoint, MLB Network’s panel of Cal Ripken, Mike Lowell, and Greg Amsinger looked for similar games in baseball history -- significant games in which one team had seemingly no hope of victory. This is an area where the Rays have just a little bit of experience with...you know with the whole Game 162 ‘most incredible night in baseball history’ thing and whatnot.
First up was Mike Lowell, for his great comeback he chose a game from 1990...a regular season game from August in 1990 between the Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Dodgers. The Phils trailed 11-1 in the eighth inning, but were able to somehow scratch across 11 runs over two innings en route to a thrilling victory. A decent choice, but there are better ones.
Cal Ripken co-owned one of the Rays minor league affiliates, surely he would bring up September 28th, 2011...nope, he decides to go with the 2014 American League Wild Card game between the Kansas City Royals and Oakland Athletics, where the Royals came from trailing 7-3 in the eighth to walking off with a 9-8 victory in the 12th.
One last chance, Greg Amsinger could right the wrongs of his panel of ‘experts.’ Does he? Of course not, instead he decides to go with the other miracle season team of 2011, the St. Louis Cardinals who overcame similar circumstances as the Rays, but were able to progress much further. Amsinger’s choice was Game 6 of the World Series in which the Cards were down to the final strike a couple of times, but were somehow able to overcome multiple deficits to walkoff in the 11th.
Here’s the segment.
These guys decided those three games were better examples of tremendous comebacks than the Rays Game 162, trailing 7-0 in the eighth, down to their final strike comeback against the Yankees on September 28th 2011.
Checking out Baseball Reference’s box score for the game, entering the bottom of the eighth, the Yankees had a 100% chance of winning the game...100%. The Rays scored six times that frame, afterwards the Yankees chances of winning were still 75%.
Two outs into the bottom of the ninth, Dan Johnson is up with a 2-2 count, the same Dan Johnson who had provided already so many incredible moments for the Rays but also the same Dan Johnson who slashed .108/.178/.157 with 1 HR over 90 PA that season up to that point.
Not much was on the line, you except that the Rays season would be over if Dan Johnson didn’t succeed. The Yankees held a 96% win expectancy at that point.
Dan effing Johnson doesn’t care about probabilities as he wrapped a ball around the right field foul pole. A few innings later, Evan Longoria wrapped a ball around the left field foul pole just moments after some dramatics in Baltimore resulted in a Boston loss, thus meaning the Rays had just won the American League Wild Card and punched a ticket to the postseason.
Truly one of the greatest, if not the greatest comeback in baseball history.