Ishikawa's Ninth Inning 3-Run Walk0ff Home Run Propels Giants to 2014 World Series

Travis Ishikawa is mobbed by celebratory teammates as he rounds third base after hitting the game-winning 3-run homer off Michael Wacha in the 9th Inning to give the Giants a 6-3 Win Over the Cardinals at AT&T Park tonight.

San Francisco will visit Kansas City on Tuesday night
for the start of the 2014 World Series. It will be the Giants third trip to the Fall Classic in the past five seasons.

This marks just the second time the World Series will feature Wild Card teams from both leagues. The last time that occurred was 2002 when the Giants lost to the Anaheim Angels in seven games.

by Henry Schulman, San Francisco Chronicle

The 2014 Giants fell out of first place with a tremendous early-summer thud. They fell out of the top wild-card spot with a tepid late summer. They kept tumbling until it was time to rise, dust themselves off and become the last National League club standing.

Mobbing was more like it, after the Giants captured their third pennant in five seasons in the most thrilling way possible Thursday night.

After Michael Morse so improbably tied Game 5 of the National League Championship Series with an eighth-inning homer off Pat Neshek, Travis Ishikawa hit a three-run homer off Michael Wacha with one out in the ninth for a 6-3 win that sent AT&T Park into a state of delirium, and the Giants to the World Series.

The Giants won their seventh pennant in San Francisco and 21st in franchise history with, of all things, the long ball.

To read the rest of Schulman's Chronicle story, go here.

Tim Church, a Sacramento native, said this about Ishikawa in a Facebook post this evening:

What a great story Travis Ishikawa is!!! Another beautiful example of redemption. He gets released by the Pittsburgh Pirates in April, the Giants eventually re-sign him (he was with them in 2010 when they won the WS!), he spends most of the season in Fresno where the Giants Triple A team WAS (it now will be in Sacramento, starting in 2015!) and then the G's bring him up late in the year, and NOW he gets them to the World Series again with a walk-off homer in the bottom of the ninth. So happy for Travis Ishikawa! What a moment! What a beautiful moment for a guy like that!




Scouts Swap Stories

Enjoyed a visit today with Ron King, former dean of scouts, as he entertained two current area scouts, Don Lyle (Indians) and Gary Wilson (Rockies).

During the conversation, King reminded us on how he missed out on signing Lyle, a 18-year-old college freshman who played on Cosumnes River College, that year’s Valley Conference champion under Jerry Conway. We’ll continue the story from our Spotlight feature on Lyle four years ago: 

Always young for his class, that summer he was eligible to play on the Post 61 American Legion team, which won the local district and competed for the state title. With one year of college ball under his belt, Lyle starred in Yountville; snaggin' home run balls over the fence and generally creating mayhem on the basepaths. His performance garnered the attention of Dodgers scout, Ron King. But before King could talk to him, Lyle dropped off the sandlot radar.  

Lyle left with three friends to attend electronics trade school at DeVry University in Phoenix. Studying by day and working at night in a factory packaging contraceptive pills, Lyle heard the siren's song when the Cincinnati Reds held an open tryout camp. He went with only his glove, dressed in shorts and sandals. Admittedly rusty, Don impressed Dick Howsam, Jr., who signed him the next day to the minimum $500 bonus.  

Meantime, his mother told him Mr. King had been leaving messages trying to reach him. Unbeknown to Lyle, the Dodgers scout was ready to sign him to a contract with an $8,000 bonus. When Lyle finally connected with King one day later, he was already the property of the Reds—and $7,500 poorer. *

Lyle retired after playing seven seasons in the Cincinnati organization, including the last two at their Triple-A affiliate, Indianapolis in 1980. 

King also recalled Wilson, an 18th-round draft pick of the Pirates in 1992, pitching the Carolina Mudcats to the Southern League championship in 1994. Wilson pitched one season for the Pirates before retiring in 1995. 

King played eight minor league seasons, including four in the Cleveland organization which signed him out of Christian Brothers High in 1946, and one season with the hometown Sacramento Solons. 

To read the Spotlight feature on King go here, and the feature on Lyle, go here.

* Lyle stated the bonus was $5,000, but King--whose mind is razor sharp at 86--recalls it was for three-thousand more.




High School




For decades, Sacramento has been a hotbed of tremendous baseball talent. A few of the locals performing in the Major Leagues at present from the greater Sacramento area* include J.P. Howell, Dustin Pedroia, Derrek Lee, Manny Parra and many more.

Among the hundreds of former professional players who have hailed from around here (and this is not an exhaustive list) include: Dusty Baker, Larry Bowa, Ken and Bob Forsch, Stan Hack, Woody Held, David Hernandez, Derrek Lee, Joe Marty, Butch Metzger, Steve Sax, Greg Vaughn, Fernando Vina and many others.

Numerous MLB managers have come out of Sacramento, including:
Dusty Baker (SF Giants, Chicago Cubs and now Cincinnati Reds)
Larry Bowa (San Diego Padres and Philadelphia Phillies)
Jerry Manuel (Chicago White Sox and New York Mets)
Buck Martinez (Toronto Blue Jays)
Johnny McNamara (6 teams)

Many top-name big league players barnstormed through Sacramento from the teens through the early '60s. Among the barnstormers, none were bigger than Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig, who performed as the Bustin' Babes and Larrupin Lous here in Sacramento in 1927 (you can read more about that tour at ThePitchBook.com).

After runnin' the bases here, if you would like to submit material that you believe should be included at BaseballSacramento.com, please send an email to
RAC (at) baseballsacramento (dot) com.

Also be sure to check out the All-Time Top 50 Players from Sacramento in the History section.


Rick Cabral

* The "greater Sacramento baseball area" extends west to Woodland, north to Yuba City, east to Grass Valley and south to the San Joaquin County line.

Updated 10/16/14
All contents © Rick Cabral, 2010-2014


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