On May 28, 1998, Arizona Diamondbacks manager Buck Showalter ordered an intentional walk to San Francisco Giants slugger Barry Bonds.
Bonds walked a record 2,558 times in his career, and that doesn’t count the courtroom.
So why is this noteworthy?
Showalter instructed his reliever to walk Bonds with two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning. With the bases loaded.
Arizona led by two runs and Showalter wanted no part of Bonds.
It was a tremendous gamble, and it paid off. The next batter, Brent Mayne, lined to right field with the count full to end the game.
Afterward, Mayne said, “I hope they do it again next time and I’ll hit another rocket off him. But I’ve never seen anything like that. Maybe in Little League if a guy is hitting .900 or something.”
There’s another Oriole connection here besides Showalter. The “him” that Mayne refers to is pitcher Gregg Olson, a former first-round pick of the Orioles who closed for the expansion Diamondbacks.
Olson got the save despite allowing two runs and walking six batters in 1 1/3 innings.
And you complain about Kevin Gregg!
Also, exactly one year ago today, the Giants’ Matt Cain threw a one-hitter to defeat the Diamondbacks, 5-0.
Why am I mentioning it? Because the only hit was a double by current Orioles third baseman Mark Reynolds.
Cain allowed only two baserunners in nine innings. Reynolds was hit by a pitch in the fifth.
Maybe Cain should have walked him intentionally.