37 Years Ago Today, Ozzie Smith Made Cardinals Fans Go Crazy
It was a chilly October afternoon at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri 37 years ago today that Ozzie Smith hit one of the most unlikely home runs in baseball history. The result was a Cardinal playoff victory and St. Louis fans "going crazy".
It was October 14, 1985 when Tom Niedenfuer of the Los Angeles Dodgers was on the mound with the score 2-2 in the bottom of the 9th inning. The count was 1 ball and 2 strikes and Niedenfuer had Ozzie right where he wanted him. Mike Scioscia called for a fastball on the next pitch. That's when Jack Buck provided one of the most famous calls in Cardinals and baseball history.
Prior to that famous swing, Ozzie Smith had over 3,000 at bats as a left-handed hitter and had NEVER hit a home run. The odds were practically nil that he would somehow muscle a ball over the right field wall in the old Busch Stadium with all that Astroturf.
As the video shows (and perhaps your memory recalls), the ball careened off the 2nd concrete support structure just to the left of the right field foul pole. This was the days before video review, but many weren't sure the ball had cleared the yellow line of the fence initially. The Dodgers threw the ball back into the infield, but by that time the umpires had officially ruled it a home run and Ozzie ran by the Dodgers shortstop Mariano Duncan who was holding the home run ball.
The St. Louis Cardinals would go on to win the National League Championship Series against the Dodgers only to lose a heartbreaker to the Kansas City Royals in the 1985 World Series. But, that doesn't diminish the memories of one unlikely swing on a cold October day in Busch Stadium. To this day, many Cardinals fans will still get that "crazy" feeling watching Ozzie Smith do what most thought was impossible for him.