Not only did Chavez make the circus catch, but he had the awareness to immediately throw the ball back to the infield to double up Jim Edmonds at first base to keep the score tied at 1-1. Forever known as "The Catch," in Mets history, Chavez took two curtain calls that day at Shea Stadium, and the play has been immortalized with a plaque at the Mets' new home, Citi Field.
"The thing that happened in that game can happen to anybody at anytime. Honestly, when I made that catch I didn't think it was going to be a big deal here in the United States," said Chavez, a native of Venezuela. "But now when people see me, they just want to talk about the catch. I am not famous; the catch is famous."
Scott McGregor pitched in 356 regular season games with the Orioles, winning 138 of them. He also made six postseason starts, including losing Game 7 of the 1979 World Series after allowing two runs in eight innings, and a complete game shutout in Game 5 of the 1983 World Series to clinch the franchise's last championship. For some, those are the only games that mattered in McGregor's career.
"People say, 'Hey, I saw you pitch [on TV] today.' I'm like, 'Did I win or lose? Was it '79 or '83?'" McGregor, now the organization's pitching rehab coordinator, said. "It's something that is going to stay with you for the rest of your life. … The people in Baltimore can remember what pitch I threw when. It's a pretty amazing thing to get to a World Series and win. It never goes away, never goes away."
McGregor said these current Orioles remind him of the 1979 group that had budding stars such as Eddie Murray and Mike Flanagan and respected veterans such as Lee May and Terry Crowley. Playoff experience is helpful, McGregor said, but "can be a little overrated."
What matters most, he said, is that this team doesn't change its even-keel approach.
"The big thing you have to watch out for if you get into the playoffs is if you try to do more than you can. If you go, "OK, I'm in the playoffs now, I've got to be Superman.' Just keep doing what you are doing," McGregor said. "It is valuable experience, but the main thing that's happened here is that they have finally become a team and they have the winning attitude. And that's really what it is all about."
Despite popular belief, Thome said he's not convinced that veteran clubs with deep postseason experiences like the New York Yankees or the Texas Rangers hold an advantage over upstarts like the Orioles or Washington Nationals. Ultimately, he said, it's about ability and determination.
"Young talent is a big thing in this game. This is a young man's game. It is. Look at the young players coming up," Thome, 42, said. "Having a mixture of good veterans can help along the way. Not necessarily guide, but be that voice that maybe a young guy wants to go to."
Said Showalter: "Experience only goes so far. It's one thing to have been there, it's another thing be there [again]. Every team and every situation is different. But I think every time you get faced with something that you've done before, there is a certain comfort level. We'll see."
Current Orioles with playoff experience
(40-man roster players not including those on the 60-day disabled list)
Name Postseason Series World Series Total Games Record Innings ERA
Joe Saunders 3 0 4 0-1 18 6.00
Tommy Hunter 3 1 3 0-2 11 1/3 5.56
Darren O'Day 3 1 11 0-1 4 2/3 7.71
Jason Hammel 1 0 1 0-0 3 2/3 9.82
Luis Ayala 1 0 2 0-0 1 1/3 6.75
Name Postseason Series World Series Total ABs Avg. HRs OBP Slugging
Jim Thome 15 2 217 .217 17 .320 .470
Endy Chavez 4 1 40 .200 0 .200 .250
Mark Reynolds 2 0 26 .154 2 .241 .385
J.J. Hardy 2 0 24 .292 0 .346 .375
Wilson Betemit 5 0 19 .263 1 .333 .474
Lew Ford 3 0 12 .250 0 .357 .333
Bill Hall 1 0 8 .250 0 .333 .250
Nate McLouth 1 0 2 .500 0 .500 .500
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