Baltimore Sun photo by Karl Merton Ferron
October 15, 1997
Orioles reliever Armando Benitez had a disastrous American League Championship Series in 1997, but it all culminated with one pitch, a slider to light-hitting Tony Fernandez in the top of the 11th in Game 6, the series finale. Fernandez lifted it over the right-field wall, and the Indians took a 1-0 lead that held up. They didn't know it at the time, but that was the end of the wire-to-wire Orioles for good. Manager Davey Johnson quit shortly thereafter in a contract dispute with principal owner Peter Angelos, and the team hasn't had a winning season since. Fernandez had hit just 11 regular-season homers that year and wasn't supposed to play in Game 6, but he accidentally plunked Bip Roberts in the hand with a batting practice liner and Roberts was scratched. The home run wasted an eight-inning, one-hit performance by Mussina.