A GIF-by-GIF breakdown of Scott Hatteberg's iconic 'Moneyball' home run
GIF-by-GIF breakdown of Hatteberg's 'Moneyball' HR
It's hard not to be romantic about the only walk-off home run of Scott Hatteberg's career. On Sept. 4, 2002, the catcher-turned-first-baseman stepped into the batter's box at Oakland to pinch-hit for Eric Byrnes in the bottom of the ninth with the Athletics and Royals tied, 11-11.
Hatteberg proceeded to absolutely crush a Jason Grimsley offering up into the right-center-field seats to lift the A's to their 20th consecutive victory in walk-off fashion.
In the 2011 film, "Moneyball," that immortalized this magical A's season, everyone's favorite dinosaur wrangler Chris Pratt, plays Hatteberg. And though Aaron Sorkin and Co. took some liberties with the '02 season (as outlined in Mark Mulder's impromptu "Mythbusters" session on Twitter), much of the film vividly depicts the events as they actually happened. Specifically, Hatteberg's iconic homer.
Let's compare the real-life homer and the film version, GIF-by-GIF:
A's manager Art Howe had used Byrnes as a defensive replacement for 36-year-old outfielder David Justice. Byrnes, though, was hitting just .253 at that point in the season, with an OBP of .304 compared to Hatteberg's .271/.363/.426 line at that time. So, Howe sent Hatteberg up in place of Byrnes.
Hatteberg put some of that patience on display when he took the first pitch for a ball inside. When he stepped back in to hit, he adjusted his helmet and readied himself for Grimsley's second offering.
Leading up to this at-bat, Hatteberg had exactly one career hit off Grimsley: a two-run homer that put the Red Sox up, 8-7, over the Royals in the seventh inning of a 2001 game. (The Royals later came back to win that game, 11-8, in 11 innings.)
Hatteberg must have learned something, though, because he replicated that success by turning on a pitch that Grimsley hung over the plate. Director Bennett Miller managed to replicate the way that the ball seemed magnetically drawn to the Coliseum's lights.
The Fist Pump
A full decade before some people started shaking their heads at Yasiel Puig's bat flips, Hatteberg wasn't exactly a statue when he walked 'em off. This is what the thrill of victory looks like, people. Mulder even confessed that this was one of the "coolest moments" of his life.
Pratt precisely mimicked Hatteberg's reaction, raising his arm and even appearing to look back toward his teammates gathering around home plate after he rounded first base.
This was the 20th consecutive win for the A's, which broke an all-time AL record previously set by the 1947 Yankees. It was their third straight walk-off win, so you could say that the A's were used to rushing out of the dugout to celebrate a win.
The A's had an off day on Sept. 5, 2002, but couldn't maintain their momentum as their streak ended with a 6-0 loss to Brad Radke and the Twins on Sept. 6.
You can watch the original homer in the video up top, then contrast it with the cinematic version down below: