Dodgers Vault: Mondesi ties it, then wins it

May 16th, 2021

MLB.com is digging back into its massive video vault to uncover classic plays that you have loved, forgotten about or, perhaps, are discovering for the very first time. Watch these moments and many, many more on the MLB Vault YouTube page.

April 5, 1999: Mondesi steals show in season opener
Opening Day of the 1999 season featured a big pitching matchup between Randy Johnson and Kevin Brown, who was making his debut start for the Dodgers after becoming baseball's first $100 million pitcher. But that showdown became a much more secondary story because of Raul Mondesi, who hit a two-out, three-run homer to tie the D-backs in the bottom of the ninth and followed up with another two-out homer to win it in the 11th.

As Vin Scully noted on the broadcast, manager Davey Johnson (making his Dodgers debut) gave Mondesi a gutsy green light to swing on a 3-0 count in the ninth.

Oct. 11, 1974: Ferguson's incredible World Series assist
Buffalo Bills quarterback Joe Ferguson was establishing himself as an NFL star in 1974, but it turns out there was another Joe Ferguson with one heck of an arm. In this play from Game 1 of the 1974 World Series, the Dodgers' right fielder boldly stepped in for a fly ball that had center fielder Jimmy Wynn's name all over it and fired an incredible, no-hop throw to nab Oakland's Sal Bando at home plate.

Ferguson cut in front of Wynn because Wynn was nursing a sore arm and Ferguson knew he had a better chance. Don't sleep on the effort by Dodgers catcher Steve Yeager, either, who blocked the plate with his leg and held on after Bando barreled into him. Plus: another vintage call by Vin Scully.

May 2, 2010: Belliard's line-to-line double play
It would have been dazzling enough that Dodgers third baseman Ronnie Belliard ranged all the way down the line to make this over-the-shoulder basket catch, but check out what he did next. After turning to see a Pirates runner scrambling back to first, Belliard wound up and fired a beautiful rainbow throw that James Loney was just barely able to corral for a sensational double play.

Sept. 23, 1988: Interference call keeps Hershiser's streak alive
Orel Hershiser's all-time record streak of 59 consecutive scoreless innings pitched in 1988 required so, so much skill -- but there was a tiny bit of luck here and there, too.

Bulldog's streak originally appeared to be snapped at 42 innings during this matchup with the Giants, when Dodgers shortstop Alfredo Griffin's double-play relay throw went wide and into foul territory, allowing Jose Uribe to score. But the umpires ruled that Giants center fielder Brett Butler interfered with Griffin's throw, meaning the hitter, Ernie Riles, was belatedly ruled out at first and the inning was deemed over. Hershiser grabbed his good fortune and took it the rest of the way, twirling his fifth straight shutout and setting himself up to break Don Drysdale's record in his next start.

Sept. 28, 1959: Dodgers win pennant tiebreaker
The Dodgers famously suffered at the hands of Bobby Thomson and the Giants in the 1951 National League tiebreaker series, but fortunes turned their way in the next pennant tiebreaker eight years later. After taking Game 1 of the best-of-three in Milwaukee, the Dodgers rallied for three runs against the Braves in the bottom of the ninth in Game 2. Shortstop Felix Mantilla's throwing error to first base capped the comeback, allowing Gil Hodges to come home with the pennant-clinching run. The Dodgers then went on to beat the White Sox in the World Series for their first championship in Los Angeles.

June 24, 2007: Gonzo is first to reach the Trop's Rays Tank
Tampa native Luis Gonzalez already had the distinction of being the first player to homer at Tropicana Field, beginning his only season as a Tiger with an Opening Day homer against the expansion Devil Rays on March 31, 1998. So it was fitting when, more than nine years later, Gonzalez "christened" what is now arguably the Trop's most famous accoutrement: the touch tank.

Fans can go up to the 10,000-gallon tank and touch the native cownose stingrays that swim in its waters. Batters can also make that tank splash with a deep home run to right-center field, as Gonzo was first to do after the tank was introduced in 2006.

Sept. 29, 1999: Lasorda takes in boos at Candlestick finale
The late Tommy Lasorda was such an indelible part of the Dodgers-Giants rivalry that, when the Giants hosted the Dodgers for the final night game at San Francisco's Candlestick Park, they invited the recently retired manager back for one last farewell walk out of the tunnel.

Dean Martin's "That's Amore" hilariously blared over the loudspeakers, but it was quickly drowned out by ravenous boos as Lasorda gleefully sauntered onto the field. Completing the welcome: Lasorda's name was misspelled as "LASODRA" on the back of his jacket -- a mistake for which the Giants swore they weren't responsible.

Oh, and make sure you stick around for Lasorda's kisses to the crowd.

Aug. 20, 1988: Gibson walks one off with his legs
Two months before Kirk Gibson made "the impossible" happen in World Series Game 1, he provided another thrilling walk-off win with his legs. Gibson had already tied the Expos with an RBI single in the bottom of the ninth, and then he stole second to put himself in scoring position. That proved crucial when Joe Hesketh's pitch went between Expos catcher Nelson Santovenia's legs, as Gibson never slowed down while he raced around third and motored home, somehow beating the tag for a raucous walk-off wild pitch in Chavez Ravine.

June 12, 2007: Kuo's flip punctuates Dodger barrage
An offense can explode at any moment -- even if it's the bottom of the order with the pitcher's spot due up. The Dodgers' 7-8-9 trio of Wilson Betemit, Matt Kemp and lefty starter Hung-Chih Kuo proved that when they ambushed Mets starter John Maine with three home runs on three consecutive pitches to power a 4-1 Los Angeles win. This was one of only two homers that Kuo hit across his 15-year career in the Majors, Minors and Chinese Professional Baseball League, and he punctuated it with a bat flip that drew Vin Scully's admiration.

"All the big guys on the block do that when they hit one out," said Scully with a chuckle.

Aug. 29, 2003: Henderson's final theft
Rickey Henderson played only 30 games for the 2003 Dodgers, but that blip in time saw him pick up the 1,406th and final stolen base of his career in blue and white. As with so many of the bases he swiped, Henderson robbed his last one even when the opposing team knew he was running: Rockies starter Cory Vance attempted a pickoff but Henderson made it to second base -- headfirst -- just before Todd Helton's relay throw.

Henderson finished his Dodgers tenure 3-for-3 in steal attempts, and he probably didn't anticipate that this would be his last burglary. Henderson played in indy ball well past his 46th birthday, constantly trying to get back to the Majors for one more steal.