(Busch Stadium) The 1987 St. Louis Cardinals spent 146 games in first place, so there wasn’t quite the dramatic finish to the season that we have witnessed in other years. That being said, as their lead had shrunk to 1.5 games, Terry Pendleton hit a big home run off the Mets’ Roger McDowell that many of his teammates point to as being the jolt which propelled them forward.
“We had been struggling for a week or so at that time,” recalls Pendleton. “I believe we were a game and a half up at that point. We were down, I remember Ron Darling had pitched a heck of a ballgame. Vince Coleman laid down a bunt. He went to field the bunt, and wound up dislocating his thumb, and he was done. I don’t remember or who came in after that but we were down 4-1. We got down 4-2 and Willie McGee got on to give me the opportunity to swing the bat. I remember facing Roger in the past and how he sunk the ball very well and was tough to hit, period.
So I told myself 2-1, 2-0 count–I don’t remember exactly what it was but I’ve got to move up in the box if I’m going to hit the sinker. I know he’s going to throw it, I’ve got to move up so I can hit this ball and I was very fortunate to get one up that I could hit out of the ballpark.”
Pendleton’s homer tied the game in the 9th inning and Tommy Herr drove in Vince Coleman in the 10th and Ken Dayley pitched a 1-2-3 bottom half of the inning.
The Cardinals won 6-4 in 10 innings and never looked back, extending their lead and then headed straight into the playoffs. Pendleton’s blast was the second time in the season the Mets fell victim to a dramatic St. Louis home run. On April 18th, Tommy Herr delivered a walk-off grand slam at Busch Stadium.
“That was unbelievable,” said Pendleton. “It’s funny, because when people ask me about that year, that’s the first thing I remember–Tommy hitting the grand slam against the Mets. Seat cushions going crazy on the field. I’ve never seen anything like it.”
“It was a grand slam to win a game, that was pretty cool,” said Herr. “It was an April game and for us, it very important to get off to a good start that year. And obviously, to beat them head-to-head in that dramatic fashion was special. The seat cushions kind of added to the lore or the tradition of that particular home run. There’s an awful lot of people that say ‘hey, I was there on Seat Cushion Night’. It’s kind of a landmark game in Cardinal history, which is neat to be a part of that.”
The attendance that night at Busch Stadium was recorded as 41,942 and it looked as though there was an equal amount of seat cushions in the air following Herr’s blast. But maybe not.
“It’s surprising how many of those seat cushions I’ve signed over the years, I thought most of them were thrown onto the field,” laughed Herr.
photo credit: Ronald C. Modra/Sports Imagery/Getty Images, Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports