MLB history: The 10 greatest games of Hall of Famer Fred McGriff

Dec 5, 2022; San Diego, CA, USA; Fred McGriff speaks to the media after being elected to Hall of Fame by contemporary era committee at Manchester Grand Hyatt. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports
Dec 5, 2022; San Diego, CA, USA; Fred McGriff speaks to the media after being elected to Hall of Fame by contemporary era committee at Manchester Grand Hyatt. Mandatory Credit: Orlando Ramirez-USA TODAY Sports /
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4 APR 1993: ATLANTA BRAVES FIRST BASEMAN FRED MCGRIFF DURING THE BRAVES VERSUS SAN DIEGO PADRES GAME AT JACK MURPHY STADIUM IN SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA. MANDATORY CREDIT: STEPHEN DUNN/ALLSPORT
4 APR 1993: ATLANTA BRAVES FIRST BASEMAN FRED MCGRIFF DURING THE BRAVES VERSUS SAN DIEGO PADRES GAME AT JACK MURPHY STADIUM IN SAN DIEGO, CALIFORNIA. MANDATORY CREDIT: STEPHEN DUNN/ALLSPORT /

3. May 20, 1993, Padres 5, Rockies 4. Five days before the disappointment in Los Angeles, McGriff turned in an even more impressive performance, this time in a victory. The Colorado Rockies were the opponent at Jack Murphy Stadium, and McGriff’s first contribution came in the form of a first-inning walk. He scored on Phil Plantier’s double, which tied the game 2-2.

McGriff walked again and scored again in the fourth, this time tying the game 3-3. From there the game proceeded scoreless into the 11th inning when Rockies star Dante Bichette homered off Gene Harris to put Colorado ahead.

The Rockies called on closer Darren Holmes to seal the win, but he wasn’t up to coping with McGriff. After Gary Sheffield produced a leadoff base hit, McGriff sent a 1-0 fastball over the right field wall for a game-winning two-run home run. Win Probability  Added: +0.704.

2. Sept. 15, 1997, Braves 5, Giants 4. The visiting Giants were locked in a heated race with the Dodgers for the NL West lead when they came to Atlanta. They scored twice in the first and led 4-1 when manager Dusty Baker turned the game over to trusted closer Rod Beck to start the ninth.

Beck got the first batter on an easy fly … and that’s when things turned. Michael Tucker and Kenny Lofton singled, and Jeff Blauser followed with a ground single scoring Tucker to make it a 4-2 game. A groundout narrowed the margin to one run but left McGriff as the last hope, batting with a runner at first.

With a 1-1 count, Beck threw a pitch low and toward the outside part of the plate, away (he thought) from McGriff’s power. Wrong. McGriff sent it on an arching trajectory into the seats in deep left-center, an unlikely game-winning opposite field blast. Win Probability Added: +0.912.

1. Aug. 24, 1996, Braves 6, Cubs 5. It’s almost impossible to do more to bring victory than McGriff did against the Cubs this day. It began harmlessly enough with an unproductive first-inning single, and continued with a fourth-inning home run that cut Chicago’s lead to 2-1.

McGriff’s third at-bat, in the fifth, resulted in a weakly hit infield single. With Chicago leading 5-1, he came up a fourth time in the eighth and doubled into the right-center field gap, setting up his team’s second run.

That still left the Braves trailing 5-2 entering the ninth. After Turk Wendell retired the first two batters harmlessly, Marquis Grissom popped a fly ball that fell in front of Sammy Sosa in short right. Wendell walked Terry Pendleton, and Chipper Jones singled off reliever Larry Casian, scoring Grissom.

That brought up McGriff to face the left-handed Casian, with Pendleton and Jones representing the tying runs on base. You can probably guess the rest; McGriff sent a careless 1-2 pitch into the right-center field seats for a walk-off three-run blast, completing a 5-for-5, four-RBI day. Win Probability Added: +1.004.

Next. The 10 greatest games of Scott Rolen's career. dark