Our next guest post comes to us from a great friend of the site, author Nicholas Henning. This memory comes from a special extract from his book Aussies in the Majors (which you can find on Amazon).
Whilst there have been many great achievements by Australians who have played Major League Baseball, one that is perhaps the utmost individual performance belongs to Graeme Lloyd. It was game four of the 1996 World Series against the Atlanta Braves on October 23, 1996. It was the ninth inning, and the situation was certainly a tough one for the Yankees as the Braves had two runners on base, and they needed two outs to send the game into extra innings with the score locked at six all. But if the Braves scored a runner they would win the game and be one win away from claiming back-to-back World Series. It wasn’t the first time Lloyd had been called upon during the Series to do a very difficult job, yet he was proving to be a secret weapon, and when he got Braves slugger Fred McGriff to ground into an inning-ending double play, he had done his job to perfection.
There are many defining moments in a player’s career, and if fans of baseball didn’t know who Lloyd was before the 1996 World Series he would be impossible to forget after game four. He pitched the first out at the bottom of the tenth, facing another heavy hitter, Ryan Klesko, for no damage, and then Series Most Valuable Player John Wetteland recorded the last two outs of the tenth. The Yankees won the game 8–6, and Lloyd made even more history for Australia. Not only was he the first Australian to play in a World Series, he was the winning pitcher in game four, something no other Aussie pitcher has achieved to date. He also had a World Series at-bat, which didn’t result in a base hit, but it was another piece of history, and he was the first Australian to be on a World Series Championship team when the Yankees claimed the series by winning game six 3–2, on October 26, 1996.
I watched the series on television back in 1996, and remember game four and much of the series went late on school nights—but feeling tired for school was completely worth seeing Lloyd step up to so many challenges and succeed. The image of the Yankees’ dugout when he got McGriff to hit into the double play was so jubilant, and all the high fives and pats on the back are among my all-time favourite baseball memories.
You can read more of Nicholas’ writing on his blog at Nicholas R.W. Henning Blog
#Blogathon Guest Post
This post was contributed by a guest for our #Blogathon. You can find more information about the author within the actual post. We'd like to thank everyone who contributed in our effort to raise money for The V Foundation.