Thanks to Ryan Tepera and the Houston Astros, and a terrible suggestion from Tony La Russa, the topic of stealing signs is back on folks’ minds this postseason, which reminded me – albeit not EXACTLY – of a fantastic clip I saw from Marquee.
OK, so you remember the Aramis Ramirez walk-off homer against the Brewers back in 2007? Mid-season, huge implications, comeback win after being down 5-0, amazing Len Kasper call? That picture up top? Yes, you remember it:
Absolutely one of my favorite Cubs highlights ever. A little discussed aspect is how the shot came off of Brewers closer Francisco Cordero, who was NAILS that year. All the more impressive.
So here’s the crazy thing about that moment, which we never heard before: Aramis Ramirez knew exactly what pitch was coming. Thanks to a combination of Ramirez’s own brain paying close attention to the game, and something Kerry Wood spotted about Francisco Cordero in the bullpen, Ramirez knew he was getting a first pitch slider. Wood noticed that Cordero was tipping pitches, and Ramirez also noticed that Cordero had approached Derrek Lee by pitching him backwards. Thus, Ramirez knew to be looking for a tipped first-pitch slider, and he was ready to attack when that’s exactly what he got. It’s not a stealing signs situation, just some good old fashioned detective work.
You have to see this story:
Everyone remembers Aramis Ramirez’ walk-off against the Brewers in 2007.
Kerry Wood may have helped the Cubs offense in the 9th 👀 pic.twitter.com/4r1N46wg0p
— Marquee Sports Network (@WatchMarquee) October 5, 2021
This doesn’t make the homer any less impressive, by the way. It makes the whole story even better, because it was the combination of Kerry Wood’s eye, Aramis Ramirez’s brain, and then Ramirez’s execution (plus some luck on the pitch location!) to make the great moment happen. No cameras or trash-can-banging necessary, and it wasn’t even stealing signs!