The Golden Homer — a walkoff grand slam with two outs and two strikes, down by three runs — is a rare species of baseball moment. It is a very specific kind of walkoff home run that hadn’t been seen since it happened 22 years ago in a little four-year-old ballpark in Baltimore.
On May 17, 1996, Orioles catcher Chris Hoiles faced a similar kind of pressure. His Birds were down 13-10. Young shortstop Alex Rodriguez had just hit a grand slam in the top of the eighth to put the Seattle Mariners seemingly out of range.
The count was 3-2, two outs. Sunday Night Baseball announcer Jon Miller had hypothesized Hoiles just batting one deep enough for Cal Ripken to make it home from first to tie the game.
Instead, a long shot to left-center field hit the stands — about 364 feet — and Camden Yards exploded. Ripken, Bobby Bonilla and Roberto Alomar scored, and the Orioles dugout cleared to pile on Hoiles as he came home.
Said Hoiles then: “The next thing we knew, the unbelievable happened. … It's one of the greatest feelings ever. When you're coming around third and just seeing everybody standing there.”