The memory of Raul Ibañez's walkoff home run Wednesday night for the Yankees is fresh in your mind, perhaps more so because it was one of a pair of homers the 40-year-old hit, the first one tying the game in the bottom of the ninth inning.
There have now been 42 walkoff home runs in postseason games, including Ibañez's heroics. Some of them are among the most memorable moments in the history of the game: Bill Mazeroski's World Series-ender in 1960; Carlton Fisk's ball waved fair at Fenway Park in Game 6 of the Series in 1975; Steve Garvey's Game 4 winner in the NLCS in 1984; the Kirk Gibson "I don't believe what I just saw" blast for the Dodgers in Game 1 of the World Series in 1988; Joe Carter's three-run walkoff in Toronto that won the World Series for the Blue Jays in 1993, and Aaron Boone's 12th-inning ALCS homer for the Yankees that sent the Bronx Bombers to the World Series in 2003.
Here are five others that won postseason games hit by unlikely players that you might not remember (unless, of course, you're a fan of the team that won the game; if you're a fan of the team that lost, you'd probably be best advised to skip this list):
October 3, 1979, ALCS Game 1: John Lowenstein, a platoon outfielder, was sent up to pinch hit for light-hitting Orioles shortstop Mark Belanger with two out in the bottom of the 10th inning. Al Bumbry had just been intentionally walked to get to Belanger. Reliever John Montague got two quick strikes on Lowenstein, who then sent Montague's third pitch over the fence for a three-run walkoff. It was his only hit in the ALCS.
October 11, 1986, NLCS Game 3: The Mets' miracle run might not have happened if not for this walkoff winner, hit by Lenny Dykstra off the Astros' Dave Smith with one out in the bottom of the ninth. The Mets were trailing 5-4 at the time; it's one of just three postseason walkoffs hit while the player's team was behind (Gibson's and Carter's were the others).
October 7, 2000, NLDS Game 3: The series between the Mets and Giants was tied 1-1, and Game 3 was in extra innings, potentially headed to very long extra innings. Both teams had emptied their benches and bullpens, so Mets left fielder Benny Agbayani, who had been 0-for-5, was facing Aaron Fultz with one out in the bottom of the 13th inning. Agbayani smashed Fultz's second pitch for the walkoff winner; the Mets closed out the series the next day.
October 9, 2005, NLDS Game 4: The Astros won the game -- the longest in postseason history -- and their division series over the Braves, when Chris Burke, a light-hitting utility man, hit a walkoff home run in the bottom of the 18th inning off Atlanta reliever Joey Devine. Here it is:
October 23, 2005, World Series Game 2: Scott Podsednik, who did not hit a home run in 507 at-bats in the 2005 regular season, hit his second in the postseason for the White Sox, this one off Brad Lidge, to give the Sox a 7-6 win on their way to a World Series sweep. Here is Scotty Pods' walkoff:
Of these five teams, just two -- the 1986 Mets and 2005 White Sox -- went on to win the World Series, although the other three did win the series in which the unlikely walkoff homers were hit. Will that be the case for the Yankees after the Ibañez blast? Tune in Thursday night; the answer might be just a few hours away.