On June 30, 1985, with the help of an Ivan de Jesus ground rule double, and a walk off single by Vince Coleman the Cardinals swept the Mets out of town with an eleven inning 2-1 win in front of more than 47,000 fans at Busch Stadium.
The game was a true duel, as the Mets sent Doc Gooden to the bump to face off against eventual 18 game winner Danny Cox. The two hurlers locked horns, and posted zeroes across the scoreboard until Gooden served up a big fly to Jack Clark in the seventh. The solo shot would have been all Cox needed for victory, but it just did not work out that way, as he was victimized by a two base error in the eighth that led to a game tying run for the Mets.
While Cox did not get the win in this one, he put the boys around him in position to win it, and after being lifted for a pinch hitter in the tenth he would simply have to wait to celebrate the victory. The wait came to an end in eleventh after Jesse Orosco, who had been on the mound since the ninth, gave up the ground rule double to de Jesus. Then came Vince Coleman's single down the left field line, which was looked as a slumpbuster for the rookie speedster. A celebration ensued when de Jesus crossed the plate. Once again the Redbirds were winners.
One of the things that stood out to me about this game was the fact that de Jesus was one of the heroes of the day. He was inserted into the game as a part of a double switch in the top of the eleventh, then made the most of his at bat, by coming up big with the double that led to him crossing the dish as a winner. The backup shortstop did not play much during that '85 season, which proved to be his lone season with the Cardinals, but he did contribute to a pennant winning ballclub, and on that day he helped the team win a very important ballgame. It was quite the race that season between the Cardinals and the Mets, as the Cards took the NL East by just three games.
Ivan de Jesus can be looked as an example of the importance that every man has on pennant winning roster. Today we see players overly criticized for not being a superstar on the diamond. Although, they do contribute to the team when called upon. One of the first player's that comes to my mind is Pete Kozma. When historians look back at the things he did they will do exactly that, not dwell on the things he did not do. We must not forget that even small contributions are big contributions if they lead to victory. The list of role players that could be pointed at as key contributors to pennant winning teams is a very long list. In most cases those men are unsung heroes. It is something to remember when you see one of those "light hitting" guys strolling to the dish. He may just come up big when it is needed the most. A pennant winner is giant puzzle and each of those men are pieces to that puzzle. You remove one piece and the puzzle is incomplete.
In the case of Ivan de Jesus, he spent parts of 15 seasons on a big league diamond; 1985 was his only year with the Redbirds. He hit .254 during that time and picked up more than 1,100 hits. He was a part of two pennant winners, as de Jesus also slapped on the cleats as a member of the 1983 Phillies. When he hung'em up he began teaching the game to the next generations who had dreams of playing Major League Baseball. They would carry the torch into the future, however, he would be sure to remember his past.