Ex-Angel Snow shows off his glove, bat for Giants

After tough grab, his HR in 6th gives S.F. cushion


October 20, 2002|By Joe Christensen | Joe Christensen,SUN STAFF

ANAHEIM, Calif. - Six years later, J.T. Snow finally got his revenge.

Snow, who was traded by the Anaheim Angels to the San Francisco Giants in 1996, made a determined defensive play last night and hit a huge home run to spoil the first World Series game in Angels history.

The Angels had runners on first and third with one out in the fifth inning when Tim Salmon hit a foul ball near the Giants' dugout. Snow, a first baseman, ran for the ball and slipped on the rubber warning track before picking himself up off his back to make the catch.

Then, with two outs in the sixth inning, Snow hit a two-run homer, giving the Giants some desperately needed breathing room, as they battled for a 4-3 victory in Game 1 at Edison International Field.

"It always feels good," Snow said, "to do well against your old team."

But when asked if he felt vengeful, Snow said, "No, not really. Not at all.

"This is pretty much a new place. It's a new stadium, new uniforms. We didn't have a rally monkey, or any rally animal when I was here."

The Giants were clinging to a 2-1 lead when Snow had his two big moments.

Angels starting pitcher Jarrod Washburn had settled down after giving up second-inning home runs to Barry Bonds and Reggie Sanders.

Washburn retired the first two batters in the sixth, then Sanders singled to left field. Washburn fell behind in the count to Snow 3-0 before throwing a fastball for a strike. His next pitch, another fastball, was back over the plate, and Snow drilled it over the left-center-field wall.

Snow raised his right arm in triumph when the ball landed to the side of the center-field rock pile, a few feet from his former teammate Darin Erstad. The Giants needed those runs because Anaheim came back with two runs of its own in the bottom of the sixth.

It was Snow's second homer of the postseason. He had just six in 143 games during the regular season.

"J.T. has some pop; we know that," Angels manager Mike Scioscia said. "He can definitely hurt you. That was obviously a good at-bat for him, and a key at-bat in the game."

For Angels' fans, it was a flashback to 1995, when Snow hit 24 home runs during his first full season in the big leagues. But like many of the Angels, Snow struggled in 1996. He hit 17 home runs and his average dipped 32 points.

Even though Snow won back-to-back Gold Glove awards those seasons at first base, he lost favor with team management, especially then-president Tony Tavares.

Anaheim not only traded Snow that November - for left-handed pitcher Allen Watson and Fausto Macey - but it also threw in $750,000 to complete the deal. The Angels thought Watson might become a No. 1 pitcher, but he went 18-17 and was released after the 1998 season.

The only shot Snow took at the Angels last night was about their field.

Describing the blooper-reel catch, he said, "Luckily I fell on my backside, so I was able to keep an eye on the ball. I grabbed the [dugout netting] to pull myself up. It's dangerous, whatever they call that [warning track surface]. I don't think it's up to major-league standards. Let's hope no one gets hurt."

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