After Albert Pujols' epic night tonight (5-6, 3 home runs, 6 RBIs), I was reminded of his previous epic postseason home run. It wasn't in the World Series, but given the situation, it was perhaps more epic. It was game 5 of the 2005 NLCS. Houston was in the 9th inning at home on the verge of going to the World Series.
Brad Lidge was on the mound to close out the game. At this point in his career, Brad Lidge was nearly unhittable. In 2004-2005 Brad Lidge had a 2.07 ERA over 165.1 innings pitched and an insane 260:53 strikeouts:walks ratio. He was particularly effective in the playoffs and the Cardinals in 2004-2005. Prior to game 5 he gave up 1 run over 12 innings, striking out 18 against the Cardinals in the postseason.
Brad Lidge made quick work of the first 2 Cardinals in game 5, striking both of them out. So as you can imagine, the Astros fans were going nuts. They were one out away from going to the World Series and their Cardinals killer was on the mound. In the video below, you can even see George Bush Sr. and Barbara Bush in the first row behind home plate. Then David Eckstein eeked out a hit when the count was 1-2. Then Jim Edmunds worked a walked. Then this happened ...
Notice how Brad Lidge squatted down and realized it was a home run before even bothering to look at it. The ball was absolutely crushed.
While the Cardinals ended up losing game six and the Astros advanced to the World Series, people still remember this home run. Many feel that home run destroyed Brad Lidge's confidence and he was never really the same. He lost 2 games against the Chicago Whitesox in the World Series. In 2006 his ERA ballooned to 5.28 and he even lost his closer job in 2007. He was able to rebound with a great year in 2008 with the Phillies, but he never was ever quite the same again.