Duke Snider’s final postseason home run -- his 11th overall -- snapped a scoreless tie in the third inning of Game 6 of the 1959 World Series. He hit it off a fellow future Hall of Famer, Early Wynn of the White Sox.
Sixty-one years later, Snider finally yielded his place in the Dodgers record books.
For Turner, it was a double dose of history. He became the first player in Major League history to homer in the first inning of back-to-back games in the World Series.
"Obviously we didn’t get the result that we wanted. Wild game. Back and forth. Up and down," Turner said after the Rays evened the Series, 2-2. "But like we’ve said all along, we know it’s not going to be easy. We know how difficult this is. We have to learn from tonight, make our adjustments that we need to make and come back and find a way to win a game tomorrow."
Turner is only the third player with multiple first-inning homers in a single Fall Classic, joining the Astros’ Alex Bregman (Games 2 and 6 in the 2019 World Series) and the Dodgers’ Mickey Hatcher (Games 1 and 5 in 1988).
That 1988 Series is notable, of course. It was the last time the Dodgers won the World Series.
“I don’t think I ever thought about it or it ever crossed my mind, but it’s something that’s pretty cool that I can talk about when I’m done playing,” Turner said Friday after matching Snider’s mark. “It doesn’t mean a whole lot until we finish this thing off and win two more games.”
As Turner noted, thanks to a series of expansions to baseball’s postseason since Snider’s days roaming center field for the Dodgers, he had many more chances to swing for the fences. His 12th career postseason homer came in Turner’s 70th career playoff game and 303rd playoff plate appearance. Snider hit 11 homers in 36 playoff games and 149 plate appearances.
After Saturday’s homer, Turner was also first or tied for first in Dodgers postseason history in hits (76), RBIs (41) and doubles (19).
"He's the heart and soul of this team. He's been the heart and soul,” said catcher Austin Barnes. “He's a great guy in the clubhouse, and we rely on him all the time."
But Turner had not felt all that dangerous this October until Friday, when his two extra-base hits boosted his OPS this postseason to 1.126. He credits the latest of a series of mechanical tweaks he's made since the end of the regular season.
“Tonight was the first night I felt like I put together five good at-bats. That’s a good feeling,” he said. “That’s a freer feeling going into tomorrow, knowing the adjustments and changes that I made are sustainable. I’ll sleep a little better tonight.”
Here’s another example of how today’s game is different: After hitting a Major League-leading 118 home runs during the shortened 2020 regular season -- that’s 1.97 home runs per game, an all-time record -- the Dodgers have continued hitting for power in the postseason. Seager’s homer on Saturday was the Dodgers’ 31st at Globe Life Field, where Los Angeles was playing its 17th game, including a trio of regular-season contests. That’s more home runs than the Rangers, who call the new stadium home and hit 27 homers in 30 games there this season.