July 2, 1993. A Detroit Tigers team that’d found themselves up 2 games in AL East on June 20 (43-25), suddenly found themselves 4.5 games back after a whopping ten-game losing streak. Starters Mike Moore, John Doherty, and David Wells were taking losses left and right – each dropped two apiece during the streak.
So heading into that evening’s matchup with the Texas Rangers, the Tigers were approaching desperation. Yes, it was still early July, but the city could already feel playoff position slipping (this is a pre-wild card era, mind you). With the Rangers steadily building a 4-0 lead heading into the bottom of the 8th, things were looking bleak.
But then it began to happen. Tony Phillips: leadoff single. Dan Gladden: single. Rangers starting pitcher – Kevin Brown steps out. Matt Whiteside, in. But the rally continued. Travis Fryman blasted a double to the gap, scoring Phillips and Gladden. Suddenly, it was a 4-2 ballgame and the Corner had come alive, knowing their trump card was stepping into the batter’s box.
Cecil Fielder was 0-2 up to that point of the Friday evening affair. Pretty standard night for Fielder: flyout, walk, strikeout. But as was often the case with Big Daddy, it just took one swing, and Cecil wasted no time. Upon the first delivery from Whiteside, Fielder pounced, delivering a high, arching blast that’d leave the ball in transit for 12 seconds, ricocheting off the roof before dropping lifelessly in the sea of fans below. Tie ballgame. Mayhem.
The Tigers would ride their momentum into the 10th, when another blast from the past, Mickey Tettleton, would connect on a two-out walk-off rocket to left. Detroit’s 10-game losing streak was history, and they’d lived to fight another day.