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.
There were plenty of times in the last 25 years when Scranton/Wilkes-Barre gave Toledo fits.
May 31, 1998, was one of those times as the Red Barons clubbed a franchise-record 26 runs and 27 hits en route to a 26-4 thrashing of the Mud Hens in Ohio.
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre scored in every inning but the third and fifth and led 11-0 entering the bottom of the fourth before Toledo scored its first two runs. The team put up two runs in the first and second, seven in the fourth, three in the sixth, six in the seventh, one in the eighth and five in the ninth.
Everyone in the Barons starting lineup had at least two hits, two RBI and two runs scored except catcher Gary Bennett, who went 1-for-6 with an RBI and did not score a run. The team also crushed seven homers, including two from Tony Barron (3-for-6, 4 runs, 3 RBI). Wendell Magee Jr. (3-for-6, 4 runs, 4 RBI), Marlon Anderson (2-for-5, 4 runs, 2 RBI), David Doster (4-for-6, 4 runs, 5 RBI), Bobby Estalella (5-for-6, 4 runs, 3 RBI) and Jose Flores (3-for-5, 2 runs, 2 RBI) also went deep in the rout.
Jon Zuber, who was immortalized a few weeks ago by the franchise in form of a statue as the greatest Red Baron of all time as the result of a fan vote, was 3-for-7 with two runs scored and two RBI, while Dan Held finished 3-for-6 with two runs scored and two knocked in.
Toledo starter Kerry Taylor was roughed up, to say the least, allowing nine runs on nine hits and eight walks in just three innings.
Barons manager Marc Bombard related to the tough loss.
“I can remember playing a game in the Florida State League against Lakeland where it was this bad,” the skipper said at the time. “I was one of those pitchers and we couldn’t get anyone out, so I know the feeling of the other side.”
Scranton/Wilkes-Barre’s beneficiary of all the runs was lefty Randy Wolf, who pitched eight innings giving up all four runs and walked only one, while fanning five. The only problem Wolf had was against Tim Belk, who drove in three of the Mud Hens’ runs on two hits, including a home run. Belk also pitched an inning for Toledo.
In a 1993 game, SWB scored 21 runs against Toledo. The 21 was a record until this game in 1998.