The Brian Johnson game

1997In 1997, San Francisco Giants were looking to win their first division title (NL West) since  1989. Throughout most of the season the SF Giants and the LA Dodgers were in a race for the NL West title that will automatically send the winner into the MLB playoffs. Giants and Dodgers have the longest rivalry in all of sports and one of the greatest as well. The Dodgers were coming to town at Candlestick up 2 games  with 11 games to go. The Giants knew they had to win both games if they wanted to take the division away from the Dodgers. Game 1 went to the Giants as they held off the Dodgers 2-1 to move 1 gamebehind the Dodgers. The next day, September 18, 1997, Giants would find themselves in another tight game. Giants early took a 5-1 lead but the Dodgers came marching back to tie it 5-5. The game went to extra innings where there was trouble for the Giants in the top of the 10th inning , Dodgers had the bases loaded with no outs. Giants closer Rob Beck was struggling and the Giants fans were booing loudly. Giants manager Dusty Baker came to visit the mound to calm Beck down. Baker famously told Beck “You’re the guy” from that point on Beck slammed the door shut on the Dodgers, striking out Todd Zeile and getting pinch hitter Eddie Murray to ground into a double play to end the inning. Then in the bottom of 12th, Giants Brian Johnson would lead off with a walk-off home run as the Giants won the game 6-5 to put them in a first place tie in the NL West with the Dodgers as 52,118 at Candlestick Park went absolutely nuts. The Giants would go on to win the NL West for the first time since 1989. They would end up being swept by the eventual World Series champions Florida Marlins in the NLDS. This magical season for the Giants jump started a winning seven year stretch from 1997-2004 where Giants had five more 90 win seasons including one 100 win season, 3 more playoff appearances, 2 more NL West titles, one NL Pennant and came 8 outs away from winning the World Series in 2002. These 1997 San Francisco Giants went from dead last in the NL West in 1996 to 1st in 1997. This classic gem of a baseball game not only taught Giant fans that anything can happen in baseball but one game can be a breakthrough for a franchise for years to come.

 

 

 

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