Twenty-five years ago, the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre Red Barons stepped on the field for the first time. In honor of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre franchise’s 25th year anniversary, The Times Leader is counting down the Top 25 memorable moments in its history every week until the end of the season. All three teams — Red Barons, Yankees and RailRiders — are represented on the list as put together by the staff of The Times Leader. There’s sure to be some debate here as well, which makes it that much more fun.
Since there aren’t 25 weeks in the Triple-A baseball season, the next few Sundays will feature two at once.
No. 22: Pat the … Bird?
Pat Burrell only played in parts of two seasons for the Red Barons, totaling just 50 games. But in a 1999 playoff game in Charlotte, Burrell – nicknamed Pat the Bat – accounted for one of the oddest plays in franchise history.
In Game 2 of the playoff series against the Knights, Burrell, who already homered in the game, appeared to have his second of the night, driving one deep to left field. But the ball struck a flying bird and landed about 40 feet in front of the fence and Burrell ended up with a double.
“I thought I had another home run,” Burrell said at the time. “I looked up and saw the bird fly into the ball. I was shocked, but I kept on running. I didn’t want to get thrown out at second base.”
No. 21: Get out the calculator
In the highest scoring game ever in the history of the Scranton/Wilkes-Barre franchise, the Red Barons and Toledo Mud Hens totaled 37 runs in a 19-18 Barons victory on July 25, 2004.
The offensive hero for the Red Barons was Mark Budzinski, who had a franchise-record nine RBIs in the game, including a bases-clearing triple in the bottom of the ninth to give SWB the dramatic walk-off victory.
Budzinski, who also had three doubles in the game, made up for an error earlier in the contest when he dropped a fly ball in the sixth inning, allowing Toledo to take an 18-16 lead.