The Bisons are celebrating their 25th anniversary season in Coca-Cola Field and one of my favorite games from the very first season in 1988 came on Fan Appreciation Night as the Herd scored two runs in the bottom of the ninth -- the last as Orestes Destrade trotted home on a wild pitch -- to post a 2-1 win over Nashville.
The team and sellout crowd celebrated wildly and a lot of the focus was on pitcher Dave Johnson, who threw brilliantly that night but looked like a 1-0 loser until the big rally. It turned out to be Johnson's 15th win of the season -- which was a record at the time and still stands as the second-most wins in the modern era behind the 17 Joe Roa compiled in 1995. The win was Johnson's ninth complete game, which remains the modern-era mark all these years later.
Johnson, a Maryland native, didn't get much of a chance with Pittsburgh but went on to be a key guy for the upstart 1989 Baltimore Orioles before ending his career in 1993 with the Tigers. Now he's a broadcaster for MASN, which does Orioles games and is chronicling another unexpected season for the Birds.
The O's beat Seattle last night, 9-2, and who was the winning pitcher? Dave Johnson's 24-year-old son, Steve. And the significance of the date? It was the 23rd anniversary of Dave Johnson's first MLB win -- a complete-game, 6-1 victory over Minnesota on Aug. 8, 1989.
Here's some video from Johnson's MLB debut as a reliever last month, including shots of his dad in the crowd.
MLB.com isn't allowing an embed from last night's game but the video link to Johnson's outing is here.