Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

Where does X rank among the most unlikely heroes in postseason history?

Marco Scutaro, 2012
With Pablo Sandoval injured and Ryan Theriot struggling at the plate, the Giants acquired Scutaro from the Rockies at the 2012 non-waiver Trade Deadline. San Francisco thought it was simply getting a dependable utilityman to plug holes around the infield -- Scutaro had posted a .684 OPS to that point in the season, but he had plenty of experience and played several positions.
In actuality, the team got so much more.
[Video]
Scutaro caught fire almost immediately, hitting .362 down the stretch to help the Giants capture the NL West and make it to the NLCS -- at which point he promptly turned into the Human Torch. He slashed .500/.533/.607 against the Cardinals, tying the all-time record for hits in a Championship Series (including three in the decisive Game 7).
Bobby Jones, 2000
Jones (no, not that Bobby Jones, the other one) wasn't much more than an average starter over his 10 years in the Major Leagues. But he saved the start of his life for an ideal time.
After a different unlikely gave the Mets a 2-1 lead in their NLDS matchup with the Giants, Jones got the ball in Game 4 with the chance to close out the series. Behind Barry Bonds and Ellis Burks, San Francisco had arguably the best offense in baseball that year -- not that it mattered much.
[Video]
Jones went the distance, throwing a one-hit shutout to put the Mets in their second consecutive NLCS.
Al Weis, 1969
After shocking the baseball world by going 100-62 and winning the NL pennant, New York found itself toe-to-toe with perennial power Baltimore in the World Series. They were going to need some magic to pull off the upset -- luckily, Weis provided it.
Weis wasn't what you'd call a fearsome hitter. He owns a career OPS+ of 59, and never hit more than two homers in a single season. So, naturally, he drove in the game-winning run in Game 2 ...
[Video]
And hit a game-tying homer in the seventh inning of the decisive Game 5:
[Video]
Francisco Cabrera, 1992
If you'd asked Braves fans which player they wanted up with the NL pennant on the line, Cabrera would most likely have been at the very bottom of the list. A lifetime .254 hitter, he'd had 11 plate appearances all season and just one in the NLCS against the Pirates -- but that didn't stop Bobby Cox from calling Cabrera's number down a run with two outs in the bottom of the ninth of Game 7.
You probably know what happened next:
[Video]
Adam Kennedy, 2002
A list of the players who have hit three homers in a postseason game is a who's who of legendary hitters: Reggie Jackson, Babe Ruth, Albert Pujols, George Brett, José Altuve ... and, of course, Adam Kennedy.
The 2002 season was Kennedy's best at the plate, but he still hit just seven dingers all year. And then, with the Angels one win away from the World Series, he hit nearly half that in his first three at-bats:
[Video]
Speaking of the 2002 Angels ...
Francisco Rodríguez, 2002
Nobody knew much about Rodriguez heading into the 2002 postseason. The 20-year-old rookie had made just five appearances for Anaheim, none of which were save opportunities. October didn't start out that well, either -- Rodriguez gave up two runs in two innings in Game 1 of the ALDS at Yankee Stadium.
But Mike Scioscia went back to his young righty in a big spot in Game 3, and K-Rod was born:
[Video]
Rodriguez's numbers that postseason still don't seem really: 18.2 innings, 28 strikeouts, just four runs allowed.
Billy Hatcher, 1990
The 1990 Reds were not lacking in star power, with a heart of the order that boasted Barry Larkin, Paul O'Neill and All-Bespectacled Team Member Chris Sabo. That postseason, though, the offense was carried by somebody else: left fielder Chris Hatcher, he of the .381 regular-season slugging percentage.
[Video]
Hatcher homered in Cincinnati's NLCS Game 3 win over Pittsburgh, then absolutely caught fire in the World Series: 3-for-3 with two doubles in Game 1, 4-for-4 with two doubles and a triple in Game 2, 2-for-5 in Game 3. The Reds swept the series, and while Hatcher didn't take home World Series MVP honors (that went to starter Jose Rijo) he now serves as the team's third-base coach.
Daniel Murphy, 2015
Murphy was a perfectly respectable starting second baseman for the Mets, posting a 111 OPS+ for the Mets in 2015. And then the postseason rolled around, and Murphy went from "perfectly respectable" to "unstoppable dinger machine".
[Video]
Murphy homered in not one, not two, but six straight games between the NLDS and NLCS, helping New York make a Cinderella run to the World Series.

BarberJordan
beephero
AP_702417634020
NYC