These incredible and iconic postseason moments all happened on October 17
Coming up big in the ninth inning of a postseason game to propel your team to victory is the stuff kids dream of from the first moment they pick up a bat. Little do those kids know that this very day -- Oct. 17 -- is littered with instances of players coming up in a big moment to give their teams huge postseason wins.
Let's use the occasion of their anniversaries to look back on three clutch ninth-inning moments that both made dreams come true and inspired new dreams.
Robin Ventura's grand slam single, 1999 NLCS Game 5
In Game 5, the Mets' collective backs could not have been more against the wall. After avoiding being swept by the Braves with a win in Game 4, they found themselves trailing by one run entering the bottom of the 15th inning in Game 5. After Braves pitcher Kevin McGlinchy walked in the tying run with one out, Ventura came to the plate with a chance to force a Game 6.
He hit the ball over the right-field fence:
Caught up in the excitement of the moment, Ventura's teammates did not let him round the bases. That situation led to the oxymoronic naming of the play as a "grand slam single."
Though the Mets lost Game 6, Ventura's heroics have not been lost to history.
Dave Roberts completes The Steal, 2004 ALCS Game 4
Fortune, as they say, favors the bold. While some would argue this game is best known for David Ortiz's 12th-inning walk-off home run, the Red Sox may have lost in the 9th inning if it weren't for Roberts' aggressive baserunning.
Pinch-running for Kevin Millar in the bottom of the ninth, Roberts took off for second base on the very first pitch Mariano Rivera threw to Bill Mueller:
Advancing to second allowed Roberts to score and tie the game, 4-4, when Mueller singled later in the at-bat. The Steal sparked a chain of events that led to the Red Sox overcoming a 3-0 series deficit and winning their first World Series since 1918.
Because of its importance, The Steal still brings out strong feelings:
Ah, work day for us. Game time is 5:08pm, if you're not busy.- New York Yankees (@Yankees) October 17, 2017
Let bygones be bygones, right? Who are we kidding ... this is the Yankees-Red Sox rivalry we're talking about.
Albert Pujols reaches the train tracks, 2005 NLCS Game 5
Before Brad Lidge was the closer who went a perfect 48-for-48 in save opportunities to lead the Phillies to a 2008 World Series title, he was on the receiving end of perhaps the biggest moment of Pujols' storied career.
After striking out the first two batters in the top of the ninth inning, Lidge was one out away from closing out a 4-2 lead and sending the Astros to the World Series. He then gave up a single and a walk to bring Albert Pujols to the plate. Pujols sent a ball to the Minute Maid Park train tracks on the second pitch.
Though the Astros took care of business in Game 6 to advance to the World Series, Pujols' Game 5 home run remains one of the greatest displays of pure power in postseason history.
Will the 2017 postseason bring an addition to the lore of Oct. 17? You'll have to tune in to the American League Championship Series (Game 4: 5 p.m. ET on FS1) and the National League Championship Series (Game 3: 9 p.m. ET on TBS), presented by Camping World, to find out.