April 12, 1999
Travis Fryman Walkoff HR in Home Opener
During the 1998 American League Championship Series, Travis Fryman batted only .167. He had no RBIs and committed one fielding error. The Indians were ousted by the Yankees in six games, ending their hopes for a repeat World-Series appearance and leaving Fryman with a disappointing end to his first post-season appearance.
After a winter of sports talk radio griping about his playoff performance, Fryman was back at third base for the Tribe in 1999. After losing Game 1 of the 1999 campaign in Anaheim, the Indians won five straight on the road against the Angels and Twins and were finally home to face the Royals in Game 7.
Dave Burba was matched up against Jose Rosado. Both pitchers more or less cruised through the first two thirds of the contest. In the top of the 7th, with Royals on first and third, Burba was pulled for reliever Mark Langston. Langston got Carlos Beltran to ground into an inning-ending double play. In the bottom of the 7th, with runners on first and second, Scott Service replaced Rosado and got Sandy Alomar to ground into a very similar double-play.
Joe Randa led off the 8th inning, hitting a triple to center field on the third pitch. Johnny Damon followed, hitting a fly ball to deep left center. Kenny Lofton ran it down and threw Randa out at the plate for the dramatic 8-2 double play.
The turning point in the game was in the bottom of the 8th, when Enrique Wilson hit a line-drive home run down the right field line, scoring Kenny Lofton and tie the game at two runs a piece.
Paul Shuey replaced Langston and made the final out of the 8th. In 2 ⅓ innings, Shuey recorded four strikeouts through the bottom of the Royals lineup, holding on to the 2-2 tie.
The Indians threatened in the bottom of the 9th. Travis Fryman led off with a single to left. Richie Sexson lined out to center. Sandy Alomar grounded to short, advancing Fryman to second. With first base open, Royals reliever Jose Santiago intentionally walked Kenny Lofton. Santiago walked Enrique Wilson on six pitches loading the bases. The Indians seemed poised for some of the 9th inning magic that was so common in the late 90s, but Roberto Alomar grounded out to 2nd sending the game into the 10th inning.
Paul Shuey once again retired the side in the 9th. After a Manny Ramirez ground-out, Santiago walked Jim Thome. Wil Cordero singled to left and advance Thome to 2nd. Travis Fryman stepped in. He sent Santiago’s 0-1 pitch over the wall in right-center and sent the Home Opener crowd home happy.