My Favorite Astros Game

added 9/16/2010 by Michael G. Norris

(Editor's note: AstrosDaily.com reader Michael Norris sent us this guest column about his favorite Astros game. We love to give fans a voice. If you'd like to submit a similar tale, send it to bob@astrosdaily.com and we'll post it on the website.)

One of my favorite Astro memories is the game of June 4th, 1989. Our group drove down from Austin to see the game. We had tickets down the third base line about three rows up from the Dodgers bullpen. Mark Cresse was the bullpen catcher and we were determined to harass him all game.

We started out by letting him know this game was going to go extra innings. The previous day's game (June 3rd) lasted 22 innings and the Dodgers were looking a little tired. Fortunately, the Astros pulled out the victory on with a 5-4 comeback and their ninth win in a row. That game lasted over seven hours and some players slept in the clubhouse rather than go home and return for the next afternoon's game.

It didn't look promising for the good guys early with the Dodgers scoring five runs off Bob Forcsh in the first, including a rare grand slam at the Dome by catcher Mike Scocsia. After the Astros fell behind early, Cresse kept looking up at us and smiling. We didn't waver, telling him just wait we would come back!

Things started to change in the fifth and Cresse started to get a little worried when Tim Belcher gave up a run to the Astros as Billy Hatcher drove in Rafael Ramirez with our first run of the day. With the bases loaded, Louie Meadows came up and hit a grand slam bringing us within 6-5 of Los Angeles! Meadows was a seldom-used outfielder who volunteered to start because others had played long into the night the game before.

We really started in on Cresse as he was warming up pitcher after pitcher for the rest of the day. For some reason, he did not look pleased.

For many years, I used to drive down from Austin with or without friends to watch the Dodgers and Astros. What great pitching match ups there were! I was fortunate enough to catch some of J.R. Richard's games against them and what a treat that was!

My daughter thought the Dodgers were named the "Scum Dodgers" until she was nine years old and one of her friends played softball for the, you guessed it, "Dodgers." When Amanda said "oh, you play for the scum Dodgers?" I had some explaining to do.

Near the bottom of the eighth inning, one of our group suggested leaving to beat the crowd, but I wouldn't hear of it! He happened to be my boss at the time, but playing the Dodgers and going to the Dome was a passion of mine.

Anyway, it was soon the bottom of the ninth - two outs and two strikes on him - when Craig Biggio connected into the left field bleachers to tie the game at six apiece! My son was four at the time and I admit I got excited and tossed him up in the air in celebration. When I caught him and set him down, he calmly said, "Dad, don't ever do that again!"

I turned to my boss to high five him and he panicked and backed up, tripping on a stair step. When he landed, (we found out later) his shoulder was dislocated. I tore all the buttons off my boss's shirt, trying to grab him to keep him from falling but it was meant to be.

Cresse, in the bullpen, had enough of us but we really let him have it then. He was red in the face as we politely informed him he could cancel all those plans in L.A. because he wasn't getting out of Houston on time! Onto the tenth inning with us chanting "extra innings, extra innings!"

Good defensive plays kept the game going until the fateful 13th inning. Mike Scott came on to pitch in relief with 48 hours' rest from a previous start. He closed out the top of the 13th with a strikeout and onto the bottom of the inning we went. When Scott hit a fly ball to medium left center, we were on our feet as Ramirez scored the winning run! Cresse could not wait to get off the field!

My boss had driven his van to the game and we offered to drive it and him back to Austin but he was a trooper and drove with one arm. When he arrived at work Monday morning with his arm in a sling he proudly announced to all that I had dislocated his shoulder. Ahh, good times!

Funny, he never asked to go to another game with us....

My family and I made several other trips to Houston to follow the Astros, but June 4th, 1989 will always be one of my fondest memories inside the Astrodome!

(Editor's note: That weekend was so exciting that it became one of our "Great Games" feature stories on AstrosDaily.com. See more details here to relive those memorable games.)