Todd Pratt sends the Mets to the 1999 NLCS
It was a Saturday afternoon game at Shea Stadium, the Mets vs the Arizona Diamondbacks in the NLDS. The Mets were up two games to one in a best of three series and were one win away from advancing to the NLCS for the first time since 1988.
The Diamondbacks entered the postseason with the second-best record in baseball in 1999 only trailing the Atlanta Braves. The Mets on the other hand ended the season losing eight of their final twelve games and falling into a tie with the Cincinnati Reds for the NL Wild Card. The Mets and Reds played a tiebreaker for the Wild Card a day after the regular season ended. New York won 5-0 to secure their spot in the postseason.
It was a tight back and forth game all day and the Diamondbacks scored two in the top of the eighth to take a 3-2 lead with a chance to force a pivotal Game 5. The Mets however answered back in the bottom half of the inning with a Roger Cedeno sacrifice fly to tie the game after a defensive miscue for the Diamondbacks gave the Mets runners on the corners.
As in the previous slides, this game also ended up going into extra linings. Matt Mantei was the pitcher for the Diamondbacks in the tenth inning and retired the first batter Robin Ventura. Coming up next was Todd Pratt who was 0-7 at the plate in the series.
Todd Pratt took a 1-0 pitch from Mantei to deep centerfield and Steve Finley made a leap at the wall and then came the few seconds of silence. On the call for play-by-play was the legendary Chris Berman:
“Oh, that’s hit well to center field…Finley goes back, back, back… It’s over! it’s over! Todd Pratt, one of the most unlikely heroes, has hit it to dead center field the Mets have won it in ten 4-3!”
The centerfielder for the Diamondbacks was Steve Finley who was known for making spectacular plays in center field to rob hits so when he leaped and nobody knew if he caught it or not was very stressful.
When asked about whether he thought Finely made the play or not at first here is what Pratt had to say postgame:
“Right off the bat, I thought it had enough but then I saw Finley going back — like I’ve seen him do multiple times — and when he jumped I was like, ‘Ah, he got it.’ But as soon as he looked down at his glove, I knew he didn’t and the rest is history.”
The Mets went on to lost to the Atlanta Braves in the NLCS but this home run was one of the wildest frenzies at Shea Stadium according to some fans.